Tuesday 27 November 2012

Autumn colour

read left to right
 1). Hydrangea foliage compensates for immature flowers
 2). Yellow wisteria foliage behind an alstroemeria which has flowered for five months
 3). Blueberries deserve a place in the ornamental border
We can use the phrase 'autumn colour' just to refer to the general beauty of the autumn garden. This can be things like autumn berries and flowers, coloured woody stems, frost on trees, herbaceous tops and lawn, silken spider webs glistening in the low sun and so much more.  Alternatively the phrase is used, as here, almost as a technical term and refers to the autumn foliage colour on deciduous and, in a few cases, evergreen plants. This is the beauty of senescence when the last of the leaves’ resources are translocated back into the plant, the leaf-bases dehisce and chemical change in the leaf gives those gorgeous pigments.
  • Good colour is promoted by sunshine and cold autumn nights.  Very intense cold is  not good as it will accelerate the rate of leaf-fall.
  • This has been a particularly good year, perhaps because, after a wet season, the  ground is wet and there has been no premature leaf-fall due to drought.
  • When selecting new plants for a garden, autumn colour is an important consideration.
  • With many shrubs and trees raised from seed, there will be considerable variability in their autumn colour. It is best to buy in autumn when you can inspect them.
  • Some plants hold their autumn colour for weeks, even months. Others are extremely transient and their colour is lost in days. 
1). These dogwoods will have beautiful winter stems
2). Acer griseum
3). Cornus florida alba variegata gives summer variegated foliage, autumn colour and  winter stems
4). Leaves of Itea ‘Henry’s Garnet’ are first to colour up and last to fall

1). Thalictrum ‘Elin’ grows eight foot tall
2).  Cut leaf acer
3). Colour change in hydrangea flower
4).  Miscanthus

1). Geranium macrorrhizum, one of the best herbaceous ground cover plants
2). Fothergilla monticola is now outgrowing the rabbits!
3). Maple in my ‘acid border’
4). Polygonum affine ‘Donald Lowndes’

1). Cut leaf maple
2). Cercidiphyllum pervades the air with an intense candy floss smell!
3). Cut leaf maple
4). Astilbes
5). This vitis produces lots of sour grapes


  1. Hello Roger, that’s a rich display you have here. I’m a fan of Acers in my much smaller garden. For some reason despite their Autumn beauty, it is the Polygonum that has caught my eye here. I’m most surprised to see your leaves still on the trees as ours are well gone.

    Hoping you and your garden are flood free. The images in some areas of the UK are quite shocking.

    PS I’ve just enjoyed my robot challenge :-)

    1. Hello Shirl, I have great trouble with robot challenges. It was with some relief I discovered if you get them wrong you can have another go. When I get a real stinker I don't even try, the next one might be easy!
      I tend to prepare my posts a few days in advance and in the case of autumn colour I have been popping away with my camera for two months. The hydrangeas and the blueberry colour has only just gone and wonderful Henry's Garnet after ten weeks just looks the same.
      And another confession, two of the acers were not in one of my four gardens.
      The heavy rain here in the East Riding has been bad but we got off lightly. My 'up and down' ponds were full right to the top, but I only had standing water for 2 days


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