Anyway, moving swiftly on...... I had a very convivial dinner (or lunch as some people prefer to call it!) at the Fat Cat Pub in Sheffield on Friday with Woody and Wilma Woodbury from Allotment 81 (which, if you've not come across it before, is a great read as Woody has a smashing sense of humour!). I've met up with Woody before and thoroughly enjoyed his company, but this was the first time I'd had chance to meet Wilma, who was equally as congenial as Woody. I really enjoyed our meal and conversations, all washed down with a very pleasant half of Pale Rider. Pale Rider Bitter is an extremely good real ale from the Kelham Island Brewery, which is conveniently located next door to the Fat Cat!
Anyway, the reason behind my tale of beer, food and convivial conversation is that as I was driving home along the dual carriageway between Sheffield and Chesterfield I was suddenly struck by the sheer beauty of the autumnal colours in the trees. Kicking myself for not having my camera with me, and not sure quite how well "I stopped to take a photo with my phone because the trees were so pretty officer" would go down with the local constabulary, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and I continued homeward to survey my own trees on more legal ground!
My Acers are stunning this year - but it's a lot more by luck than good judgement that they all put their autumn coats on at slightly different times and give us ongoing sparks of colour for about 6-8 weeks!
A. palmatum 'Ornatum'
...which purred as I came up close to it! Odd! Plants don't usually purr....
......except when next door's cat is nestled under it!
I love the way this one is growing to hang slightly over the rock in front of it. (and to give a cat a cosy place to hide!) The radience of the red leaves stands out like a beacon and draws the eye to it from the house. In spring and summer it is a duller deep bronze colour but really comes into its own in the brief flurry of autumn.
A. 'Emerald Lace'.
I love the elongated shape of this one as it mirrors the path alongside it - good planning there I thought! :D It'll get to around one and a half metres tall, which is perfect for walking under along the path but not too tall that it'd dominate the garden.
It's underplanted with Camomile and Ophopogon 'Nigrescens' for textural and colour contrast, plus the camomile will spread as gorgeous, scented ground cover.
A.Conspicuum 'Red Flamingo'
- a striking snakebark maple in shrub form. The red of its bark is quite luminous with the sun on it. New leaves are pink, moving through red to green to brown as the year progresses. This one is next to the top pond so we often benefit from its reflection as well.
A. palmatum 'Kotohime'.
It reminds me of a Triffid for some reason! It didn't photograph well as a whole bush because it's at the back of the Japanese garden up by the fruit cage, so the background behind it was just too busy. Up close and personal you can see that it's begining to change colour.
A. palmatum 'Seiryu'.
This one is the most vibrant green of all the Acers in summer, but will turn fully into red over the coming week. It nestles comfortably under the old flowering cherry outside the tea house and will be lovely to walk under along the stepping stone path down that bed once it gets a bit bigger.
A. palmatum 'Shin Deshojo'.
I moved this one this spring from further down the garden where some idiot (that'd be me then!) had planted it under a Weigela a few years ago. It was loosing the battle for light and not growing well. It's been a lot happier in its new position.
This one is at its best in spring when its leaves are a vivid scarlet, fading to bronzey-scarlet in summer then turning to the plummy-golden tones you can see begining here.
Right. Acer tutorial over - I'm so glad I kept those labels :)
Here are just a few photos of what's going on in the rest of the garden.....
Heuchera 'Creme Caramel'