Thursday, 24 November 2016

Autumn gold

When I think of autumn colour it is the red and orange of tree leaves and woody stems that spring to mind, but this year the predominant colour has been a rich, golden yellow.

A potted Acer with heavily dissected leaves turns from bright green in summer to this wonderful rich mustard colour 

Many shrubs and perennials take part in the show and put on this colour changing-display as they move towards hibernation for winter. I leave everything to die back naturally so that I can enjoy colour in the garden for longer.
The leaves of a potted Agapanthus look surprisingly attractive as they start dying back. I leave the stems and seed heads for winter interest.

Hosta leaves losing their green colour

Our Schefflera Rhodoendrifolia sheds a few of its lower branches each year in spectacular style 

The big, glossy, green leaves of Zantedeschia aethiopica, a hardy arum lily, turn to gold as they die back for winter

Even a simple Japanese Anemone leaf looks lovely back-lit by the sun

Our Magnolia loebneri Leonard Messel is looking particularly dramatic this year, with butter-yellow leaves creating a striking focal point at the end of the garden for weeks

Spirea are common shrubs that give tremendous value with leaves that change colour throughout the year and the bonus of pretty sprays of flowers in spring and tiny seed heads that persist for months

The green leaves of climbing Hydrangea petiolaris are fading with beautiful mottled edges


Also of interest in the garden at the moment - Saxifragas are diminutive plants that are shining stars in the autumn garden. They have lovely foliage for most of the year and produce these delicate sprays of flowers during October and November.
The incredible flowers of Saxifraga brave the autumn weather

Just a few leaves to collect!

Our to-do list

Bake apple cake - Our cooking apple tree has produced loads of large apples this year, making the centre of the garden a hard-hat area! I will store as many as I can, but I will make lots of apple cake and freeze it in small portions to defrost and eat all winter.

Collect leaves - Leaf mould really is wonderful stuff for the garden and very easy to make. We use a cylinder of chicken wire, fill it with all the leaves we collect from the garden, very loosely cover with an old bulk bag that compost arrived in, and then ignore. In a year, or maybe two, we will find black gold that is fantastic for mulching our many woodland plants.

Planting tulips - Now that the weather has turned colder I will start potting up and planting out tulips. I wait until after the first frosts in the hope of avoiding the fungal infection tulip fire. There is the added bonus that lots of websites are selling off their bulbs at half price or less. I buy new bulbs each year for big patio pots to ensure a good display. The bulbs from this year's pots have been dried and stored in the garage over summer and they will get planted in the front garden and left in the ground. I always plant a few in plastic pots to fill any gaps that appear in spring.