SEtting Autumn AblAzE
An East Anglian garden puts on a spectacular show as it comes alive with a riot of rich colour
tucked away down narrow lanes in the undulating farmland of the Essex Suffolk border, a spectacular autumn display can be seen. Sheltered from the north wind by a 20 acre nature reserve of native trees and shrubs, three tree species, acers, nyssas and liquidambars, are competing to see which can display the richest hues in their eight acre garden. From October through to December, they create a canvas splashed with scarlet, cerise and deep reds, punctuated by faded greens and old golds. Screened from the River Stour by muted amber tones of birch trees and a silvery mist of willows, the acers are aglow. The site is home to approximately 50 of these slow-growing, small deciduous trees, with their graceful habit and beautiful foliage. The predominantly wine-dark Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ spreads graceful branches to the ground, with leaves of ruby, dark salmon-pink and flame. Near it, A. japonicum ‘Laciniatum’ bears filigree foliage of raspberry-soft pinks and cream, with touches of
The red-fringed leaves of Acer japonicum ‘Laciniatum’, known as the downy Japanese maple from the white hairs on young leaves (far left). The ground below Acer cappadocicum ‘Aureum’ is covered with its five-lobed golden leaves (centre left). The scarlet autumn leaves of Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ (left).
On the left of the water, the gold and red autumn leaves of Nyssa sylvatica glow. Opposite, on the right, is Nyssa sinensis. Behind stands a 400-year-old cedar of Lebanon.