I am sure like me you have all been glorying in the wonderful autumn we have had. This autumn seems to have been particularly specular with our deciduous trees and shrubs giving us a lengthy show, due to mild weather and a lack of autumn storms.
From motorway embankments ablaze with the reds of deciduous cotoneasters and cornus, to the dripping berries of street Sorbus to the mixed woodlands of the Weald and the ornamental park landscapes of Westonbrit and Sheffield Park and everything in between, it has been a visual delight over many weeks.
Obviously we do not all have many acres to play with, but even a small town garden can have it’s own autumn blaze.
Trees: the fiery reds of Rhus, are an eye smacking treat, as long as you can cope with the suckering habit, there is everything to love about this tree with a good architectural shape (as long as it is not pruned too insensitively) and long pinnate leaves and it’s velvety cone like fruits are a tasty food for many birds. For an extra twist plant R.tinus ‘Lacinata’ with it’s extra ‘toothed’ leaves.
Also Sorbus gives you a double autumn hit with great leaf colour and berries in hues from pink, to yellow and red. There are many smaller varieties like S. ‘Joseph Rock’ and S. ‘hupehensis’ which are very suitable for the smaller garden. They do struggle on very chalky soils.
Shrubs: For a big punch and a large space one of my favourites, Parrotia persica. The leaves of different hues from buttercup yellow, flaming orange, to cardinal red all at once, it takes your breath away. It has a wonderful shape, a Martini glass with no stem, elegance, with or with out leaves.
Now a shrub that punches well above it’s weight and is not planted nearly enough in my mind. Once you have seen it, it will never be forgotten. Callicarpa bodinieri ‘giraldii’ a medium size shrub a little slow, but worth the wait, for maximum effect plant at least two, to get good berries. The delicate foliage turns a pink/purple which matches perfectly the clusters of small round purple berries they look as magical as cake decorations. It is a stunner and to get the full effect of the berries once the leaves have dropped, give it a good evergreen shrub backer. Well worth the planting space in anyone’s garden. Also C. bodinieri ‘Profusion’ for an even bigger berry hit.
So now the temperatures are finally cooling to the seasonal norm and the autumn gales have started and the trees and shrubs are nearly naked of their leaves, while your head is down working hard raking them and turning them into leaf mould and no doubt the task seems endless. Do not forget the visual delight of the past 6 weeks. Get enthusiastic, start planning with winter planting of trees and shrubs that will give you all that autumn spectacle to be enjoyed next year.
If you need help? I know a woman who can! Give me ring, I will be delighted to discuss your new planting with you. Tel:01273 470753