What a wonderful autumn. The colours in Upper Green lighten the heart even when it is pouring with rain (as it is now). The leaves on the climbing hydrangea, Hydrangea petiolaris, are a bright buttercup yellow; those of the smoke bush, Cotinus coggygria (not the purple one) have changed to a rich mix of red, oranges and gold (I hope the gale that is raging as I type does not blow them all away), the little maple on the patio Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Seiryu’ was looking wonderful with beautiful bright red leaves that have fallen now, Berberis thunbergii f. atropurpurea is fulfilling its promise with deepening red-purple foliage and even the apple trees are dressed to delight in mix of golds and fading green.
The lawn is covered in fallen apples which we box or leave for the winter thrushes (fieldfares and redwings) which I can hear in the trees. The well-named cockspur thorn, Crataegus crus-galli, which is protected by thorns up to 8 inches long, is laden with deep red berries that are larger than those on our native hawthorn. The foliage also turns a rich mix of colours. It is a fine small spreading tree- just don’t get too close and personal! The hips on many climbing roses, such Rosa ‘Scarlet Fire’, add to the fiery autumnal display.
Autumn seeds can be equally eye-catching, especially my Auntie Margery’s spindleberry, Euonymus europaeus ‘Red Cascade’, in which the intriguing red capsules split to reveal the orange seeds. I always think of Northern Ireland and more especially her garden on Island Reagh, when these seeds appear in the autumn. I took a small sucker back with me more than 20 years ago and now I have this wonderful spreading tree with lots of it own suckers produced from the roots.