A COLOURFUL garden has been awarded a special status ahead of its feature autumn weekend.

The Green Island Gardens, in Green Island Park Road, Ardleigh, has received two National Plant Heritage titles.

Fiona Edmond has built up her collections of hamamelis and camellias and they have just been awarded national collection status by the Plant Heritage Society.

Fiona Edmond, who has designed and developed the gardens over the past 20 years, said: “I’m really excited as it was a lengthy process to receive these awards.

“It was a nine months of incredibly hard work but it’s worth it.

“I’m really happy to receive this award as it will put our garden on the map as it’s the only natural reservation in the area which showcases the autumn colours and it’s accredited as a national collection.

“It is also important for students who can now study these plants.

“It definitely encourages us to expand the woodland to grow different flower varieties.”

The 20 acres of private gardens will host its autumn colour weekend on October 12 and 13, where visitors can see the gardens in their fiery autumn glory with acers, nyssas, parrotias, liquidambars, hamamelis fothergilla, and many more, including autumn flowering camellias.

The plant collections preserve many species which are rarely seen in cultivation and many of which are in danger of being lost.

During the autumn colour weekend, Mrs Edmond will be giving short talks in the tearoom on acers and how to care for them.

Artist Sheila Martin will be also giving painting demonstrations in the gardens so there will plenty to see and do.

The open weekend will be in conjunction and raising funds for both the National Gardens Scheme and with the National Plant Heritage Society.

For more information, go to www.greenislandgardens.co.uk.