Autumn has come
Autumn has definitely arrived with its sprawl of colours and it crisp bright days. There is not a moment to waste; take a walk through the Gardens' amazing landscapes - from browns to pinks, oranges, auburns, yellows, ochres and olives, each offers a different palette.
Enkianthus are now vibrant in yellow and scarlet foliage, rowans and cotoneasters are crowded with berries and deciduous azaleas turn glorious hues of red and orange. The area around the Pond is a blaze of colour as the flaming colours of the Japanese maples are reflected in the water. The apricot-tinged leaves of the katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japnoicum) smell of caramel.
The colour continues throughout the Garden and throughout the season. Behind Benmore House, the Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) has glossy purples, brilliant reds, oranges and creamy yellows. On the Younger Memorial Walk, Sorbus alnifolia - the largest in Britain - holds its leaves well as they turn yellow and bronze. In the last days of October the colours become more subdued. Skeleton branches hold on to the last red berries and conifers are defined against the soft gold of larches.
Note: the Garden closes on 31 October.
The Garden is bathed in a rich tapestry of reds, golds and rich browns from the maples, rowans, beech spindle trees, the stunning Japanese katsura, or candyfloss tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) and North American golden birch (Betula alleghaniensis). The ground is bedecked with autumn crocuses, spectacular fungi and fruits galore; prickly beech nut husks, fir cones, maple keys and shiny conkers.
Note: the Garden closes on 30 November.
The scarlet apples on Malus pumila 'Dartmouth' are some of the vibrantly coloured fruits to be found on the Chinese Hillside - roses, Pyrocantha, Malus and Sorbus abound. Bright pink Nerine bowdenii enjoys the autumn sun by the Glasshouses, while Schizstylus coccinea cultivars can be seen displaying their flowers in the Rock Garden. Flowers of colchicums, so-called the autumn crocus, make a brief but exuberant appearance around the Garden. Cercidiphyllum japonicum fills the air with the smell of burnt sugar by the Pond lawns and other areas of the Garden.
Photo: © Peter Clarke 2010
Its mild climate ensures that the warmth of summer extends well into the autumn months, with plenty of colour still in the Garden for visitors to enjoy. Among the highlights of the season are lily-like flowers of the South African Nerine, in bloom throughout the autumn months. Also putting on a seasonal display are stands of Agapanthus, another South African native, with their vivid blue bell-shaped flowers. The climber Berberidopsis corallina, a native of Chile, shows off its delicate crimson bells on the centre wall, while the Australian Dianella intermedia's bright purple berries provide a flash of colour throughout autumn.
Note: the Garden closes on 15 November.
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