The highlight of every autumn season has to be visiting various arboreta of which there are many within a day’s drive. Our first visit this year was to Bluebell Arboretum and Nursery situated in Derbyshire near the town with the wonderful rather eccentric name of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The nursery specialises in rare and unusual shrubs and trees and every plant they sell is of excellent quality.
Within the first 5 minutes of our wander around the arboretum we had discovered a lovely variety of trees, shrubs and perennials. Betulas, Acers, Clethras, Euonymus and Hydrangeas.
But of course you can find little clumps of the brightest of colours, orange as in these Kniphofias.
We enjoyed close up views of fruits and flowers in between having to step backwards to appreciate the full beauty of specimen trees.
In close proximity to trees we always take a close look at textures on their bark.
Of course being autumn time we were here largely to view the colours of the season. The leaves of this Cotinus were turning red slowly beginning with splashes of colour between the veins, giving a great contrast of reds and greens. Liquidamber turn deep shades of red through the autumn and hold onto their coloured foliage until the early spring. The first leaves to turn can provide almost black shades amongst the greens.
This oak displayed foliage in the deepest orange and had the interesting name “Quercus x Warii “Chimney Sweep”.
Where autumnal colours are concerned none could be brighter than this deciduous Euonymus.
Luckily for us the nurseryman were well into a trial of new strains of Physocarpus opulifolius, those shrubs that afford us the glossy almost black foliage. At home we grow the well established “Diablo” but we were pleased to be able to study newer varieties with differeing tints of colour working amongst the black, such as “Diablo D’or” . In the next few years we will be seeing some interesting improved variations on “Diablo”.
I shall finish the first part of our visit to the Bluebell Arboretum and Nursery with a look at a few specimens of my favourite trees the Birches, grown as usual for their incredible coloured and textured trunks. These three photos show how the trunks can vary from white to black with colours in between.
We shall continue our tour of this great little and relatively young arboretum in part 2.