autumn colours colours garden photography gardening ornamental trees and shrubs trees Uncategorized

The Leaf

A few days ago as I was on my way down the ramp into the back garden I was met by a leaf on its way in.

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I knew immediately from which tree it had come – a Cotoneaster in the side garden in the Freda Border. It had traveled a fair distance for such a little fella! It shows how well you get to know the plants in your garden when you can recognise exactly which tree a single leaf comes from. We have a dozen or so different Cotoneasters gracing our patch but this little leaf told me exactly which one it came from. Its shape, its colours, its textures all provide clues.

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The leaf was still showing off its autumn colours, proud in shades of yellow and orange with a touch of green as a reminder of the summer long gone. Some trees keep hold of their old leaves until a new one pops along to push it off its branch. Our Cotoneaster had done just that to our leaf.

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When turned over the leaf took on a new look, slightly greyed with the look of being seen through tissue paper. Each colour subdued and more subtle! It curled upwards which made it create shadows shaped like a new moon.

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But we can’t leave this post without having a look at its mother tree. Its leaves a mixture of fresh green and faded colours of autumn. It looks especially colouful against a blue wintery sky.

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Queenswood Arboretum – Part 1 – the Acers

Late October heralds arboretum visiting time. Last year we visited Bodenham and Arley which we take a trip to most years but we also traveled a little further afield into Cheshire to the Jodrell Bank Arboretum and the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Over the last five years we have also taken trips to Westonbirt in Gloucestershire, Bluebell Arboretum in Derbyshire.

But there is one closer to us, in fact just an hour away across into Herefordshire, which we have never visited but were reminded of  as we watched Carol Klein visit it on the Gardeners World TV programme. So we made up our mind that our first arboretum visit this autumn would be to Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum. It was worth the wait! Come with us as we explore its delights on a dull overcast day occasionally dampened with bouts of drizzle.

We left the car park to follow Lime Avenue which would take us to the Autumn Garden which promised us a painter’s pallet of Acers. There is something special about the gentle scent of woodlands in autumn, comforting and warming, but this was interrupted by the more aggressive unpleasant odour of foxes whose tracks crossed ours periodically as we climbed the gentle slope below the huge limes towering above us. We diverted often! There were interesting trees grabbing our attention every few yards, making progress slow. Tree silhouettes, bark textures, leaf colours, leaf shapes – all there to distract and attract.

The trees had plenty of autumnal features to attract and distract tree lovers such as Jude the Undergardener and I. Berries, peeling bark, silvered leaves, brightly coloured leaves, black branch silhouettes ……………….

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When we reached the area called the “Autumn Garden” we were blown away by the collection of Acers with their striped barks, their red and yellow leaves and their sculptural trunks curling away below their leaf canopy. Part way through the Autumn Garden we found this plaque on the “Dendrology Stone” which was presented to Queenswood Arboretum in 1981 by the International Dendrology Society recognising the quality of its young trees, layout and public access. There only 19 arboretum worldwide which have received this award. This emphasises just how important this 47 acres of country park actually is.

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But there was far more to see here with trees and shrubs to discover around every corner.

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But let us enjoy a journey around the delights of the Acers before we get distracted further.

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We enjoyed a well deserved coffee break on one of the many benches we found within the glade of Acers with a wonderful view. We sat to enjoy our coffee and listened to the Woodpeckers and Nuthatches in the tree canopy. Jays entertained us collecting up acorns, beech mast and sweet chestnuts. This is the view from the seat we chose to take our coffee break sat on. How good is that!

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In part two we shall be seeking out an old orchard and the “Reader’s Seat”.


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Just for a change we have no words just photographs to enjoy. A few sneak in near the end though!

If only you could smell the leaves below! They are from the tree called Cercidyphilum and they smell so sweet. I think they smell of toffee apples, Jude thinks they smell of candyfloss while others think the scents reminiscent of brittle toffee, burnt sugar, in fact anything sweet and sticky!

The most underrated plants for autum  leaf colour must be the grasses. They very rarely get a mention in relation to autumn colour, so let’s put it right.

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Fantastic Foliage – Leaf Patterns

On bright days I am always drawn in for a close up look at leaves. The sun displays their underlying structure, their network of veins, the things that give them shape, texture and strength. Zoom in for a closer look or move in close for a wide angled view and the results can be so pleasing. Isn’t Mother Nature wonderful!!! And aren’t plants simply amazing!!!