Head gardener Alan Power reveals how you can take Stourhead home with you and create a splash of colour in your own garden. The full article is in the November issue, out now.

STOURHEAD IS undoubtedly one of the most significant landscape gardens in Europe. During the latter months of the year, the architectural features around the garden take a step back a little and it is then that the plant collection takes the stage and thrills us with the most remarkable autumnal display, heightened by the reflections in the lake. The plant collection is vast and contains plants from as far away as Japan and South America.

At first glance, the trees are the true performers during autumn, but on closer inspection the shrubs have a very important role too. The shrubs are the detail in the garden, a living work of art; they bring the flowers and the autumn colour to a level that allows for closer inspection and admiration.

One of the most frequent comments during autumn is that people wish they could take a little piece of Stourhead home with them. Here is a list of just a few of the plants that create the display in the garden; you may have space for some of them.

Winged spindle tree (Euonymus alatus)


A beautiful ornamental deciduous shrub, worthy of a prime position. This species provides spring interest with delicate flowers, and strong green foliage in summer, but truly comes into its own in autumn, turning a brilliant rich scarlet. The transition can be rapid and will be an autumn talking point. It is best planted among other shrubs as a backdrop to accentuate the display.

Growing conditions

This species of Euonymus is well suited in areas from full sun to partial shade. It will tolerate most aspects, but tends to shed its foliage quickly in colder garden areas. It is also adaptable in terms of soil conditions, but is happiest in well-drained conditions. It will eventually grow to around 2-metres and can achieve a similar spread, but it will tolerate formative pruning so you can control it.

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