I never really think of Langdale as a traditional autumn garden. Yes there are some individual plants that perform well in the autumn, such as Hydrangea quercifolia the oak-leaved hydrangea, and the hot border and the perennials & grasses in the Rosemoor border look fantastic, but for overall autumn colour Langdale is no Westonbirt. But as the shrubs, trees and hedges grow into themselves and mature over the years, the colours in the garden over the last few weeks have caused me to rethink this point of view (left).
One of my all time favourite small trees is the weeping crab-apple Malus ‘Butterball’. In spring it is covered in simple open white apple blossom over fresh green foliage. By late summer it is laden with golden fruits, and by late autumn both fruit and foliage are full of autumnal colours (right). The fruit will stay on until winter when the blackbirds feast on it. It remains compact being no more than 4 feet tall and with a spread of no more than 3 feet after a number of years, and as such is fine for the small garden. It is one of a handful of trees and shrubs that I just would not be without.