Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine

Living colour


With the right plants your garden can see out the year in a blaze of colour, writes David Overend.

The final few months of the year are all about colour – the hues of plants which mark the passing of another year of growth. So many trees and shrubs go out in a blaze of glory, and if your garden hasn’t got any, then give it some thought – there are plenty of accommodat­ing shrubs that will bring a blaze of colour to the dying of the year.

The stag’s horn sumach, Rhus typhina, earns its name from the velvet-like branch tips that precede small, yellowy-green flowers, but it is grown more for its foliage, which is transforme­d in autumn into a mass of reds and oranges.

It’s deciduous, it’s eye-catching and it’s great for a mixed border or even as a specimen tree in smaller gardens because it rarely grows to more than 15ft in height. It prefers sun and a moist but well-drained soil, and it’s relatively tolerant of pruning. One potential drawback is that it suckers profusely – so be prepared to remove any unwanted growth springing up from the ground.

Parrotia is grown for its peeling bark, attractive autumn colour and subtle winter flowers, all of which make it a great choice for autumn and winter.

Parrotia persica (Persian ironwood) is available in both a full-size form, which can reach a height and spread of 8m and 10m respective­ly, and a miniature form, (Parrotia persica ‘Pendula’), which grows to just 1.5m in height and 3m in width.

Cornus florida, or flowering dogwood, puts on a great show in late autumn when its mid-green summer leaves turn to red and purple. This tree reaches a height and spread of approximat­ely 6m and 8m respective­ly.

Sorbus aucuparia, also known as mountain ash or rowan, is a real autumn glory as its berries, which have been developing through late summer, fully ripen. Its foliage also provides a spectacle as its leaves turn red and yellow. It may reach 15m in height and spread as much as 7m.

Liquidamba­r is a tree grown primarily for its autumn colour. Depending on species and variety, leaves can turn to yellow, orange, red or purple. Liquidamba­r orientalis can reach 6m in height. Other species and varieties can be bigger.

All these trees should do well on most fertile, humus-rich garden soils, though Liquidamba­r and Cornus prefer a neutral-to-acid soil.

 ?? ?? SEEING RED: Rhus typhina is one of the highlights of the dying year.
SEEING RED: Rhus typhina is one of the highlights of the dying year.

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