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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Gardening Notes October 2010

Make The Most Of Autumn Colour
Autumn is just around the corner. The leaves are beginning to turn, the berries look plump and burdensome, but the true theatrical flush of gorgeous colours and crisp falling leaves will probably occur early to mid October.

It is a brilliant time of year for those who like me, revere a garden rich in reds, crimsons, yellows and rusts. To see a sudden fire ball of luxurious colours in ones own garden is rather wonderful.

There are so many trees shrubs and herbaceous plants that perform in the autumn all exemplary for different gifts of nature. It is sometime the colour of the leaves the boldness of there berries or the contrast they make against a garden canvas. This year there are a few that have really stood out for me.

I love Euronymus Altlas, Rhus typhinaDissecta’ sometime referred to as Stags horn because thee branches are soft almost fury and look like antlers. It’s a large shrub or can be allowed to grow into a small tree. The foliage turns burning orange and lights up the garden. It can spread but it’s not too hard to pull the suckers up and keep it under control. If you do have a large bank or an area where you can let it go wild, I think it looks fabulous.

You can not ignore Callicarpa Bodinieri ‘Profusion’ Its also called beauty berry and surprisingly it has the most amazing clusters of violet berries on bare stems. They must be quite bitter, because the birds tend to leave them alone until very late winter, probably when there is nothing else to eat. Callicarpa is a  pleasant green leafy shrubs with a pretty flush of soft pink flowers in summer. It will grow into a quite a large shrub, happy in sun or dappled shade.

Photina ‘Pink Marble’ is a new hybrid of the traditional red robin. The foliage is extraordinary, displaying three colours green, cream, pink and young red shoots, all at the same time. It will grow well in all free draining soils, is fully hardy, even in the coldest of locations, and needs no special care. Photina are easy to grow evergreens all with great foliage but this has highly ornamental foliage over a long period.  Grow it in sun or partial shade .Achieving a height of about 150cm and  spread 100cm.

Acers or Maples are probably one of the most outstanding trees families in the autumn. We can all picture New England in the fall, with it’s wealth of  Norwegian Maples. These tend to be larger then the Japanese Maples. A great garden choice is Acer X Freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’ which burns a cinnamon orange in autumn, or for something a little more unusual Acer negundo ‘Flamingo’,who leaf shade can be likened to the colour of a flamingo!
If you haven’t got the space for a big tree Japanese Maples, Acer ‘palmatum' are perfect. They prefer a position in partial shade. Few require an acid soil, its more important they have a moist soil. The larger, less delicate leaf shapes often suit more exposed situations. Japanese Maples are great in pots. Keep them well watered, don’t let them dry out and they will reward you. They are staggeringly beautiful small trees.

Nadina domestica fire power also known as Heavenly Bamboo, is a very easy shrub to slip in your garden. Its not actually a bamboo despite its appearance. It is closely related to Berberis. Its airy foliage is very similar to a small bamboo. In autumn is turns a beautiful fierily copper colour. Excellent in any sunny spot and not massive at 45cm 60 cm spread.

If you are looking for an autumnal grass try Stipa arundinacea.  I like this because it is evergreen. It’s quite a loose grass, changing colour through the seasons. In autumn the dark green leaves develop orangey streaks before turning a russet shade.

If you are looking for low growing slug resistant evergreens, in every shade possible. You are looking for a Heuchera .they all look wonderful in there reds, yellows and cinnamon tones but ‘Silver Scrolls’ looks particularly good this season. The scroll like markings, etched on the leaf seam to blend with the seasonal shades so well. I also felt Heuchera ‘Caramel’ surpasses its self. The colour is just electric in a border. ‘Midnight Rose’ also deserves a mention. It’s red but quite luminous with pink tints in the leaves.

I want to go on and talk about the endless beautiful Autumnal trees, like Liquidambar and Parrotia persica, Cercidiphyllum and the rest. I need to direct you to the herbaceous plants like Rudbeckia ‘Goldstream’ ,bright daisy yellow flowers with dark centers igniting the borders in which they reside. The autumn players are endless from newer varieties like Berberis Admiration and Hypericum Magic, to old favourites like Euonymus Alatus, I must end there!

We are lucky to be spectator’s at the most incredible performance. This short season of infused colour is nature performing at her very best. If you would like to know more we have a free talk about Autumn Colour on Saturday 9th October at 11am, here at Preston Bissett Nurseries, tel 01280 848038 or email shop@thenurseries.cpm.

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