Sunday, 31 October 2010

Acer, Acer Baby!

Good grief but I detest that irritating ridiculous Halifax Bank advert and the way the tune sticks in my head!
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.....
Windfalls of cooking apples.

Heuchera 'Creme Caramel'

The cherry tree we planted in spring.

Yes ..... I know I should have netted the pond by now!

And a final view of the top pond.
Happy autumn.


Liz said...

Hi Liz,

Lovely photos indeed! The trees have all suddenly decided to put on their glad rags and go all out. There's a Rowan I can see down from us which looks stunning!

Your Acers look wonderful, I need some more, especially the some of the smaller species like you have.

Fat Cat Pub eh? We're doing a project in Kelham island at the moment, and near our 'plot' (make believe) is the milestone which was recently on Gordon Ramsay's best restaurants and got through! Really should've tried it out... Poor student and all that though ;)

joey said...

Though fall is flying way too fast for me, all looks autumn lovely, Liz. I too have so enjoyed all my heuchera (Creme caramel a favorite) still looking grand. Happy November :)

Ruth said...

I like the new header mum, did you do it? did you brave the graphics programming section of blogger? I'm impressed.

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Liz - glad you like the photos...not up to your standards on the macro ones yet though!

I get the acers from a little nursery about 2 miles away from us. They're always in good condition and they're CHEAP!!! If you fancy a visit, let me know :)

I've long been a fan of the Fat Cat and use any old excuse to get there - apart from the fact that I hate Sheffield's one way system, but know that I can always get to the FC!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Joey - I know what you mean about autumn going too fast, especially as it means winter won't be far behind!
I love heucheras - I've got a couple of H.'Amythyst Mist' and (I think) H.'Damson Beauty' too.
Happy autumn to you too :)

Ey up Rufus - yep, all my own work! Glad I can still impress you love! Now all I've got to do is work out how to change the side bar bits :P <3 xx

Woody Wilbury said...

Hi Nutty; thansk for the honourable mensh!


Pondside said...

It's all beautiful. I'm just coming to an appreciation of the many acers. I lived for many years in Ontario, where the maples are gigantic, and for a while I found it odd to see the maple leaves on the smaller plants. I now have one, overhanging a rock wall, a lot like yours.

Thomas said...

I love seeing the many different types of foliage in your garden. I really need to work towards making my planting beds a bit more interesting.

Lovely apples by the way!

Matron said...

What brilliant colours this time of year. I travelled past a row of Canadian maple trees yesterday, just stunning. Acer family are earning their keep this time of year.

Nutty Gnome said...

Ey up Woody - my pleasure!

Hi Pondside. I remember seeing all the huge maple trees in Ontario years ago and being amazed at just how enormous they were!
Mine will all only get to around 5 or 6 feet, possibly a wee bit bigger, but I love them!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Thomas. Thank you. I love working out different foliage combinations and seeing what'll work well together. I'm happy with what I've done so far in the Japanese garden and I'm slowly trying out combinations in other parts of the garden too.

The cooking apples have been superb this year - a big crop and SO tasty! I don't know what variety they are but the tree is quite old, judging by the bark and branches. Long may it last though!

Hi Matron. Nice to see you again. I think Acers are my favourite trees in autumn and you're right - it is when they earn their keep. Mine are slowly getting more visible from the house now as an added bonus!

Andrea said...

Very lovely photos especially of the Acers. I always love those shapes and colors from temperate climes, i even get few leaves from my few visits and press them in my books. We dont have them here, our nearest relative of that is our Acer laptop, hehe! That hirsute grey leaves are lovely too, velvety to touch.

brokenbiro said...

Your acers are ace!

It does seem to be an especially colourful autumn this year, doesn't it? I'd forgotten that Azaleas go amazing colours in autumn too - which makes up (almost) for the little buggers not flowering this year!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Andrea. I have to confess that I love my Acers - but I do have loads of other plants doing interesting things at this time of year too.

I don't know/can't remember the proper name of the hirsute grey leafed plant - mainly becuase I've always known it is 'the bunnys ears plant'! and you're right, they're so soft and velvety to touch - I could stroke them all day!

Hi Brokenbiro - yep, the Acers have done me proud this year! I can't claim any credit for the azaleas though - they were in when we bought the house. I just threaten them every so often to grow or they're out!

Jindivick Wildlife Care said...

I had to laugh when I read that you were at the Fat Cat Pub - I work at Fat Cat Scrappin'. Your trees look absolutely gorgeous and as for that pond - gorgeous - you would have to have some wildlife nestling in amongst your garden!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Gabi - I bet the Fat Cat Pub does better beer and meals than Fat Cat Scrappin'?!

I'm glad you like the garden - although the trees have lost most of their leaves after the high winds and torrential rains of the last couple of days :(

We do indeed have lots of wildlife - squirrels, foxes, badgers, birds, bats, cats, frogs, toads, newts ....but nothing as interesting as the animals you've got!

Phoenix C. said...

Beautiful Acers! It has been a very colourful Autumn, hasn't it? And there are still lots of leaves on the trees up here, even since the gales over the last couple of days!

Nutty Gnome said...

Hi Phoenix C. It has indeed been a beautiful Autumn this year - I think it was all that rain in August!
Quite a few of our trees managed to keep hold of their leaves in the gales too - tenacious things that they are! :)