In The Garden with Jo: The glory of autumn colour

With Jo McGarry of Caragh Nurseries

In The Garden with Jo: The glory of autumn colour

To escape all the doom and gloom in the news at the moment, with nothing but lockdown and US elections, around here is not so hard.

We just take a walk around the nursery in all its autumn glory and all thoughts of Covid and Trump soon disappear. It's such a breath of fresh air (quite literally) and so I'd love to share this little piece of heaven with you thisweek and give you a bit of what I see every day. Here are my Top 10 trees for Autumn Colour

Acer Bloodgood is one of the most popular of the Japanese Maples and the reason is clear with its stunning red/aubergine colouring in the summer. But this time of year, its brilliant crimson makes it just the most beautiful spectacle. The foliage is displayed in a rounded canopy comprising a branching pattern that is attractive in its own right. The stunning colouring creates an instant impact in any garden. In the nursery, we would have this Japanese Maple in some quite mature size options.

Cercis Forest Pansy’ is a tree/bush with purple, heart-shaped leaves which turn golden yellow in autumn before falling. In spring, it bears deep crimson, pink or sometimes white pea-like flowers. It’s ideal for growing at the back of a border or against a wall, and works well when grown with plants with lime-green foliage as a stunning contrast. It is such a beautiful tree for a small garden or within a flower bed

Quercus Robur Fastigiata is a wonderfully rugged and very handsome deciduous tree, providing a rich habitat for other plants and valuable source of food for wildlife. Ultimately, it is a large tree with a broad head of branches filled with small clusters of catkins each spring- followed by masses of acorns, and attractive autumn tints of bright yellow and russet brown. Ideal for larger gardens and open spaces.

Carpinus betulus Fastigiata is an upright or Fastigiate hornbeam that makes a superb specimen tree with its tidy upright head. It requires clipping once a year in mid-to late summer to keep it looking tidy. Green catkins appear in spring and winged nuts develop in autumn.

This tree works really well as an avenue tree along a driveway with its upright habit. It is a really popular, stately looking tree that looks well all year round but it is probably most frequently noticed in the autumn when it goes a uniform golden yellow all over. Any old soil will do it but it needs space to show off its shape.

Prunus Kanzan is probably one of the most popular of the Cherry trees. Its autumn colouring of foliage appears a coppery red colour, the leaves being fairly large and serrated on the margin, turning to brilliant oranges and coppery reds in the autumn time. With a superb show of double pink blossom in the spring it's easy to see why this is a firm favourite.

Betula Jaquimontii, the elegant Himalayan birch tree is popular for its year round interest due to the intense white bark it displays. It has medium sized, green foliage throughout spring and summer, which turns creamy yellow in autumn before falling; leaving a ghostly, bare, but exquisite, architecture of the Himalayan birch tree. The peeling white bark is striking and tactile.

Acer Globosum. This tree has discrete yellow flowers that appear in spring, and bright green leaves which turn golden yellow and sometimes red in the autumn. Globosum is a top worked version (grafted at the top of the stem) of Acer platanoides, grafted at a height of approximately 1.8m tall. The crown over time therefore develops into globe/round shaped head. It is a smart tree which can be planted as a single specimen to give architectural structure to a planting scheme.

Quercus Pallustris. The most notable feature of Quercus palustris is the unusual foliage. In the autumn it turns to fiery russets, reds and oranges. Quercus palustris adapts to a wide range of soil conditions and it can cope with moderate drought, urban pollution and has a good tolerance for exposed sites.

Ficus Brown Turkey. The Fig tree is a great addition to a sunny area of the garden on three counts. It has the most beautiful foliage with very large floppy leaves in the summer and in good hot summers it will produce an abundant crop of brown, pear-shaped fruit with red flesh. These figs are rich and sweet and available for picking from August to September. It is an interesting and easy plant to grow, and one of the oldest fruits in cultivation. In the autumn it has wonderful golden yellow foliage.

Acer dissectum Garnet has feathery, heavily dissected foliage that resembles the colour of a garnet stone throughout the spring and summer. It holds its colour well compared to other red Japanese Maples, before turning shades of scarlet for a striking display in autumn.

A reminder that we are still taking orders and open for collections too. If you are close enough then you are welcome onto the nursery as we are all outdoors and even under the Level 5 restrictions we can remain open and our deliveries are operating as usual, albeit a little busier.

Stay safe and keep gardening!

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