The leaves are changing colour. Brilliant buttery golds, glowing oranges, stunning reds, burgundy, russets and browns and purples abound. They look fantastic against blue skies. Many beautiful Japanese maples turn red; the autumn foliage of purple types can deepen. It's mainly deciduous trees that are affected. They need a winter rest to conserve energy because there is not enough sunshine to produce chlorophyll. The reds appear as they are trapped glucose in the leaves. For gold colouring it is hard to beat the conifers as temperatures drop. It's not just trees but also shrubs that colour up. Even hardy perennials such as Geranium can colour up well too.
I've always wanted to go to Westonbirt at this time of year, but have to content myself with street trees and trees in local gardens. If there is an arboretum near you, trees and shrubs at this time of year are a stunning sight.
Not in any specific order
1. Gingko for gold
2. Acer, Japanese maple for red and orange
3. Cotinus - the purples turn red, the green leaved ones turn orange
4. Rhus typhina - the spectacular stag's horn sumach is a real favourite - it's not just the colour, but the way the leaves line up along the branches - golds, oranges. Surplus suckers are easily removed and this is worth growing.
5. Vaccinium - reds
6. Quercus - the oaks turn a golden brown
7. Cornus - the twiggy stems can be vibrant red or yellow and last all winter
8. Amelanchier canadensis
9. Liquidambar styraciflua - try 'Worplesdon' for a magnificent autumn crimson display
10. Ash - Fraxinus americana 'Autumn Purple' will give reddish-purple colour in September.
Golden autumn foliage is featured in my book Gold Fever, buy online at half price by entering the code 50OFF
Words and images copyright Karen Platt 2015