Tips for a colourful autumn garden

Tips for a colourful autumn garden

It is hard to believe that we are now midway through October. The deciduous trees and shrubs at Arundel Arboretum are beginning to show their spectacular autumn colours. Autumn can be the most colourful season, and choosing the right autumn plants is key. Autumn gardens can be an explosion of colour, including yellows, fiery reds and flame coloured oranges. Here at Arundel Arboretum we can advise you on some of the best autumn plants for your garden, and purchasing them now will ensure you have the best idea of their potential as you can see exactly how they display in Autumn.

There are so many wonderful autumn plants, it would be impossible for us to mention them all! However, here is a small taster of the autumn plants we currently have in stock:

Cornus florida ‘Rainbow’ (Flowering Dogwood)

Cornus florida ‘Rainbow’ is a deciduous conical shaped tree or multi-stemmed shrub. It has slightly twisted mid-green variegated leaves which are margined yellow. Cornus florida ‘Rainbow’ has stunning autumn colours of red and purple. During April and May it produces small green flowers which are surrounded by white bracts. The approximate maximum height is 3m and spread 2.5m. It is a hardy plant and will tolerate a full sun or partial shade position, and prefers a well-drained soil.

Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ (Sweet Gum)

Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’ is a very popular form of Liquidambar. It has delightful lobed-shaped leaves, which are bright green in spring. It is very suitable for the average garden and features stunning, rich autumn colours. They start turning yellow and then orange, claret red and purple. All colours can be showing at the same time so it is a real feast for the eyes. The pH of your soil will depend on the vibrancy of the autumn colours and ideally it should be lime free or acidic. This deciduous tree has an upright, conical habit and will bring a specimen feature to your garden. It prefers a sheltered position away from winds but likes full sun. An added feature in the winter is the cork that develops on the wood of the tree. When fully grown it will reach heights of between 12-17m, although if left could eventually reach heights of 25m, it can however, be hard pruned to keep the height more suitable to your conditions.

Parrotia persica (Persian Ironwood tree)

Parrotia persica is a short trunked, deciduous, spreading ornamental tree. Its deep, ovate green leaves turn crimson and gold in the autumn. Parrotia persica branches are horizontal in habit with a silvery-grey bark. As the tree matures, this flakes to reveal shades of pink, green and yellow young bark. This tree can tolerate most conditions – sun or shade, acid or alkaline soils, exposed or sheltered positions making it an attractive purchase. For the best autumn colours, it needs an acidic soil. Parrotia persica is intolerant to drought, and does best in well-drained, moist soils. It is a very hardy tree, but it is best to choose a sheltered spot so that there is less chance of the late spring flowers being affected by late frosts. Parrotia persica is closely related to the Witch Hazel family.

Euonymous alatus (Winged Spindle tree)

Euonymous alatus is a large, deciduous, slow growing shrub. Its green leaves appear in the spring and follow through to the summer. The foliage is light on horizontal branches, which give the shrub an attractive structure. Small, green flowers appear in the spring, which will become red-purple berries, which are very attractive to the birds! These berries will later split to reveal orange seeds, these are a feature of many Euonymous varieties. During autumn, the leaves start to flush cerise-red, turning crimson for several weeks. It can look spectacular, especially if it is planted in an open, sunny position.

 It is well worth a visit to Arundel Arboretum to see our extensive range of autumn plants in their splendid colours. We are always very happy to advise and recommend a suitable autumn plant for your garden.

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