Autumn Colour. Leaves and Berries.

Here in the UK we never get the magnificent autumn colour that I have seen on blogs such as Beth’s at Plant Postings.  This Autumn has been incredibly mild  and we haven’t had the cold frosty nights which help to create really brilliant autumn colour. Nevertheless, we are lucky in Suffolk to be able to visit a wonderful 20-acre arboretum, East Bergholt Place, which was laid out at the turn of last century by the great-grandfather of the present owner Rupert Eley who has a nursery here called The Place For Plants.  It is beautiful in Spring, but it is also fantastic in Autumn.
One of my favourite trees for Autumn colour is the Liquidambar. I believe it is best to choose it in leaf to get the leaf colour you want. ‘Worplesdon’  fires up quite early and seems to be quite reliable in its dark red colour.

Liquidambar styraciflua 'Worplesdon'

Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’

The rare Liquidamber styraciflua ‘Burgundy’ gets its autumn colour later and it is only just beginning to colour up now. But it holds on to the leaf colour much longer.

Liquidamber styriciflua 'Burgandy'

Liquidamber styriciflua ‘Burgundy’

Liquidambar styriciflua ‘Palo Alto’ is another rare tree with a great autumn colour.

Liquidambar styriciflua 'Palo Alto'.

Liquidambar styriciflua ‘Palo Alto’.

The next one Liquidambar stryricflua ‘ Stared’ has has really deep cut, star-shaped leaves.
The other star amongst Autumn trees is of course the Acer and there are so many of them with fantastic autumn colouring. My personal favourite is Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’, but if you have room for a large tree how about this wonderful Acer rubrum ‘Scanlon’? I was bowled over by the fiery red leaves.

Acer rubrum ' Scanlon'

Acer rubrum ‘ Scanlon’

On a much smaller scale, this lovely little Acer var. dissectum ‘Viridis’ would fit into any garden. I fell in love with it.

Acer var. dissectum 'Viridis'.

Acer var. dissectum ‘Viridis’.

One of the attractions of the next one, Acer palmatum ‘Nicholsonii’ was the fact that it has beautiful red keys as well as fantastic red coloured leaves.

Acer palmatum 'Nicholsonii'

Acer palmatum ‘Nicholsonii’

I don’t think that I would ever choose a Prunus for its autumn colour but Prunus serrulata ‘Royal Burgundy’ has red foliage all summer and the colour intensifies in the Autumn. I am not very keen on big blowsy cherry blossom though, so this tree won’t be finding a place in my garden.

Prunus serrulata 'Royal Burgundy'.

Prunus serrulata ‘Royal Burgundy’.

Having spent quite a bit of time this week trying to get rid of yet another horrible Viburnum tinus, (2 gone, 6 to go) I am reluctant to say nice things about one of its family. But Viburnum furcatum is rather special. Its flowers are lovely and look at its autumn dress.

Viburnum furcatum

Viburnum furcatum

If you like your autumn colour to be butter -yellow rather than red and orange then how about a lovely Maidenhair tree, or Ginkgo? This unuusual tree has no relatives, it is a living fossil dating back 270 million years.
Another lovely tree for golden-yellow, autumn foliage is the Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata. This wonderful tree is one of the stars of the arboretum at this time of the year. Standing under it is like standing in a pool of sunshine.

Carya ovata

Carya ovata

Rupert Eley has The National Collection of Euonymus , so every year I go along to enjoy some colour and look at the Euonymus. I will show you some of the Euonymus collection in my next post, but for now here are a few fruits and berries that caught my eye.

As you drive in to the nursery there is a row of Rowan trees. It is a pink variety of Sorbus hupehensis which looks wonderful against a blue sky.
In the arboretum there is a large white Sorbus which I believe is a Japanese variety called Sorbus glabrescens; although I may be wrong, there was no label.

I have always loved the amber berries of Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’.

Sorbus 'Joseph Rock'

Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’

I noticed the following tree for the first time this year. I believe it is a seedling of ‘Joseph Rock’.  It has very large  berries which are a particularly vibrant and shiny shade of amber. It is called Sorbus ‘Copper Kettle’.

Sorbus 'Copper kettle'.

Sorbus ‘Copper kettle’.

I love the genus of Malus because of their beautiful blossom and the wonderful fruit in Autumn, which in some cases lasts into the winter. I have a huge specimen of the ubiquitous Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ in my garden which someone planted years ago. It is a lovely sight at the moment but there are better yellow ones around now.

Malus 'Gollden Hornet' in my garden.

Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ in my garden.

If I was choosing a yellow -fruited crab apple now I would go for the lovely rosy- tinted yellow ‘Butterball’ or the gorgeous Malus ‘Comtessa de Paris’ which has lovely, yellow fruit which last until Christmas and don’t seem to turn the nasty brown colour which looks so awful later on ‘Golden Hornet’.

Malus 'Comtessa de Paris'.

Malus ‘Comtessa de Paris’.

We may not all have room for a tree but there are so many shrubs with lovely berries to delight at the moment. I love the shiny black berries of Aronia melanocarpa and the lovely autumn foliage sets them off beautifully.

Aronia melanocarpa

Aronia melanocarpa

If you prefer red then how about the amazing berries on this Berberis georgii?

Berberis georgii

Berberis georgii

I would love one but it is hard to get hold of; there is a waiting list for it at the nursery here, because everyone who sees it in the arboretum wants one. I believe the berries are sterile so propagating it is a slow process.
Another unusual shrub with masses of red berries is an unusual Viburnum. I didn’t see this one in the arboretum at East Bergholt. The next photograph was taken at the wonderful West Acre Gardens nursery in North Norfolk.

Viburnum betulifolium

Viburnum betulifolium

The birch-leaved Viburnum is quite scarce but for an amazing berry display it is unbeatable. The only drawback is that it is a bit drab and boring at other times of the year.

I will finish with another unusual fruit which I saw in the garden at West Acre.  The amazing fruit of Akebia quinata.
Now that’s something you don’t see very often. I believe you need more than one plant  in order to get fruit.
I really wish that all or some of the lovely plants I have shown you today were in my garden. And I wish that my garden had elastic boundaries. I really need an arboretum. Don’t we all? I have a book by George Courtauld called ‘An Axe, a Spade and Ten Acres‘ and the author says that these things are the necessities of life. He adds that an adequate supply of hot water, books and lavatory paper are the luxuries. Perhaps he has a point. Like most of us, I seem to have the luxuries but not all the necessities.


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67 Responses to Autumn Colour. Leaves and Berries.

  1. Christina says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! I love all the autumn colour, but we have so little here. I need to try some more shrubs. The only tree that colours for me is the Persimmon. All the berries are rather good too. I have Golden.Hornet’ but it loses its apples almost immediately whereas Everest lasts into the following summer! I’m not sure why I haven’t visited the arboretum, I must add it to the list.

    • Chloris says:

      Your lovely Persimmon! I have a photo of it. I wish Golden Hornet would lose its apples rather than holding onto them when they are brown. Evereste is a great one for keeping its apples looking good into the winter.
      East Bergholt Place and the nursery, The Place for Plants is well worth a visit next time you are here. Perhaps we could go together.

  2. Debra says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous colour. The Berberis georgii is spectacular. Actually everything here was. Thank you for the eye candy!

  3. Jane Strong says:

    Gorgeous. I had no idea that you could get different kinds of liquidambar! It is the most reliable plant for fall color here. It is another of those plants like ceanothus that go to the UK and come back to the US much improved. This is a stunning collection of trees and shrubs with berries and colorful leaves that look great in fall in a climate that is milder than northeastern United States. Lots of good ideas here. Many thanks for showing us this.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Jane. Do you have many trees in your garden?

      • Jane Strong says:

        No. What happened was this: I started to do a tree following. I choose Liquidambar or what it is called locally, sweetgum. They are widely planted as street or park trees here reliably developing color in the late fall. I had no idea there were EIGHTEEN different varieties only one of which I have seen in local nurseries, ‘Rotundifolia’ more of a curiosity than a graceful tree.So I was stunned by your collection of photos of several varieies and realized quite quickly that I needed to do much research before my next tree following post, like you are doing with the mulberry.

  4. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Such incredible autumn color! Love the variety of berries and fruits, especially those that will last through part of winter! Yes, we do all need at least ten acres worth of arboretum along with the means to plant and care for it all. Perhaps there should be some sort of government program to match gardeners with free estates.

    • Chloris says:

      It would be great and then we could all compare notes about our wonderful trees. You haven’ t got time to care for an arboretum though you have such a huge greenhouse to care for now.

  5. rusty duck says:

    As you’ve been up to Norfolk… bootiful.
    I think I have fallen in love with Acer ‘Viridis’ too.

  6. snowbird says:

    Oh, what a heavenly array of autumn leaves and berries….I would love to have them all too…sighs….reading this had me longing for a glass of mulled wine!xxx

  7. Julie says:

    Just stunning Chloris, Liquidambars are one of my many favourite trees too and the ones you have shown are very beautiful, ‘Palo Alto’ really is gorgeous. George Courtauld has it right and Viburnham tinus roots are determined thugs, I am in admiration that you have got two out but 6 more to go, that is some task ahead.

    • Chloris says:

      My garden is full of Viburnum tinus. Not only does it have impossible roots, it smells disgusting when it is wet. Now why can’ t the previous owners have had a passion for Liquidambar, rather than nasty smelly Viburnum tinus, I don’ t know.

  8. Tina says:

    I agree–an arboretum for everyone! I think your fall color is beautiful–lush and varied, I’m not sure whether I like the photos of the berries/fruits or the leaves. I’ll just have to take another look to decide. Lovely post!

  9. mattb325 says:

    Lovely to see so many varieties of Liquidamber – I had only ever been familiar with two, so it’s great to see the subtle differences between each of them. But as for stunning, that cut-leaf weeping maple surely steals the show!

  10. Alison says:

    What a great post just chock-full of autumn color from trees and berries! I too think we all should have room for our own personal arboretum.

  11. Thank you for the wonderful tour of woody stars of fall! Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ may be ubiquitous, but I have never seen it before, it is a stunner. I would really like to have one of those Sorbus, as well. You are right about the fall color of Liquidamber, but I am not fond of this tree because I remember walking barefoot on ground littered with its spiky fruit.

    • Chloris says:

      Golden Hornet is pretty but I much prefer comtessa de Paris. I had no idea that Liquidambar had spiky fruit. I think it is unbeatable for autumn colour.

  12. Kris P says:

    What a beautiful assortment! When you live in an area that gets relatively little in the way of fall color, I think you appreciate what you get all the more. As you might imagine, we don’t get much in the way of fall color here either but liquidambers and Japanese maples are also among our best sources of fall color. My persimmon trees also take on delicious hues but they’ve shown no sign of turning yet.

    • Chloris says:

      I noticed that Christina has a Persimmon in her garden when I visited her this Summer. They are such pretty trees. Acers are always lovely. There are so many of them, but all gorgeous.

  13. Benjamin says:

    Absolutely beautiful! And I have to agree about the axe, spade and 10 acres 😉

    • Chloris says:

      Yes but I wouldn’ t say that hot water, books, and lavatory paper are luxuries. I would include them in with the neccessities. And on reflection, I could do without the axe. I’ m not very good with axes.

  14. With such vibrant color, it’s no wonder autumn is a favorite season for many gardeners. I have a navtive Liquidamber just outside my window and it colors nicely, but the woody fruits are a nuisance. I would much rather have your Golden Hornet, which must be a feast for the birds.

    • Chloris says:

      I’ ve never noticed the fruits of the Liquidambar. Does it seed around all over the place? The birds don’ t seem interested in the Golden Hornet at the moment perhaps there is plenty for them to eat .

  15. Thanks for the link reference! Actually, these colors are quite vibrant. Stunning actually–particularly the berries and the Japanese Maples. I like what you said about “I need an arboretum.” Ha! I feel the same way. Of course it would be nice to have the staff and the volunteers of an arboretum, too. 😉 Lovely photos, Chloris!

    • Chloris says:

      Than you Beth. You are right, one would need the staff. I would give them all lamps and get them to work at night. I like my garden to myself in the daytime.

  16. AnnetteM says:

    What wonderful foliage and some great ideas for shrubs too. I love the berberis georgii. I have a few berberis as find they are really reliable shrubs for the garden if a bit prickly to prune! I am trying to grow a Japanese maple in a pot in the Japanese garden in our patio, but it is not doing well. I think it is just too windy so I think I will have to find something else. After wrapping it up last winter it did look better this summer, but the leaves have now gone crinkly and dropped without the show I was hoping for.

  17. Annette says:

    What a stunning selecting, Chloris! Some I don’t know. Pity Berberis has such a bad reputation as they have so much to offer. Liquidamber is one of my favourites. I planted Slender Silhouette and as in all of them the leaves stay on the tree well into winter, colouring beautifully. Joseph Rock is in m Swiss garden, such a fine tree. Sorbus are very hard to get around here in France though. I’d love to have hupehensis.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Annette. Well, two aristocrats of the Berberis family are Berberis temolaica which I have, which has lovely blue foliage and Berberis georgei which I showed in this post which is very difficult to find. Another lovely Berberis which grows rather taller is Berberis valdiviana. It has long tassels of orange flowers. It is quite rare and supposed to be difficult to propagate. I used to have it in a previous garden and I have a very small seed- grown plant of it. I don’ t know whether it will come true from seed though. I hope so.

      • Annette says:

        temolaica and valdiviana would be my thing but I fear there’s no chance of finding them around here…that’s when I get a bit envious of you and the plant finder 😉

  18. Cathy says:

    I love them all! You’ve got some wonderful photos of them too. 🙂 I love buttery yellows just as much as fiery reds, but the amber tree is definitely one of my favourites. We had one in our first garden and despite being a strange shape after losing a big branch in a storm it was beautiful all year round.
    The golden berries of malus or sorbus are a nice change too – not something I see around here. There are lots of viburnum berries in the hedgerows around here now though. Lovely post Chloris!

  19. Cathy says:

    What wonderful photos of glorious colour Chloris! Definitely the sort of place to be visiting at this time of year – makes me think of nipping up the road to visit the arboretum at Bluebell Nurseries again. I don’t think I am in the market for any more trees (other than the odd witch hazel of course!) but I remember other bloggers enthusing over Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’ and looking at my small ‘Golden Profusion’, and as for that small Viburnum tinus that was planted in the hedge border last year…. 😦

    • Chloris says:

      Bluebell Nurseries would be a wonderful place to visit at this time of the year. I wish you would go and show us your pictures. I bought a beautiful little crab apple: Malus transitoria from there years ago. I have since moved on but I have a small tree grown from a seed of it. I am longing for it to be big enough to have fruit, to see if it will come true.
      Don’ t mention Viburnum tinus to me. The previous owner here was mad on it. I have it everwhere. Huge great bushes of it. I can see it is very nice for winter arrangements but one small bush would suffice.

  20. croftgarden says:

    Thank you for the woodland walk. I have become a tree voyeur as an arboretum is definitely out of the question.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes I can see that trees would be a problem for you. But then maybe you would prefer to keep your amazing views open anyway.

      • croftgarden says:

        You are absolutely right, I wouldn’t swap what I have for anything. However, it is interesting if you ask incommers what they miss most, trees are always near the top of the list.

  21. Flighty says:

    Lovely post with a wonderful selection of colourful pictures. I have been to East Bergholt Place, but a very long time ago so my memories of it are rather hazy. xx

  22. Anna says:

    A most informative and enjoyable post Chloris. It would indeed be great to have an ever expanding aboretum to accommodate the wish list. Much always wants more. On balance I think that I would swap the axe for books but a spade and ten acres would more than suffice.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Anna, I agree, you and I don’ t need an axe but we can’ t do without books. I used to have 10 acres but I don’ t suppose I could manage it these days. An acre is more than enough to keep me busy, but I do miss not having room to grow lots of trees.

  23. Heyjude says:

    What a lovely informative post – you have helped me identify some of my tree and leaf photos, so thank you. Autumn colours are so welcoming in these shortening days and I’d love one of those golden Shagbark Hickory trees in my garden, when I get a garden, though I suppose I’d better look up how big they are 😕
    Jude xx

  24. pbmgarden says:

    Beautiful collection of fall colors. I’m partial to all the reds, but also love the Ginkgo.

  25. Robbie says:

    I had no idea that you had a different fall than ours…your colors + plants are very different than what we have in the USA. I wish I had ONE acre that would be a start to include all the plants I want to grow.
    Yes,. I need an arboretum!!! Shoot, I would be happy with an extra city lot. It becomes an addiction and you just can’t get enough…like my mother who had more shoes than a dozen people could wear!, I love plants:-) I see one + I just have to grow it-lol

  26. Caro says:

    Well, you learn something every day! I had no idea there were so many cultivars of liquidambar – I’m hoping to go to Wisley next week, I’ll have to look very carefully for labels on the trees now! I agree with your assessment of Malus ‘Golden Hornet’, I first saw it in January at Capel and thought it a scabby little thing. I prefer the red ones but actually quite like the look of the Comtesse. I want to get a crab apple for the gardens here as they’re so useful in preserving as well as being wonderfully ornamental in winter. Lovely post, Chloris, and thanks for all the comprehensive information!

  27. Chloris says:

    I love crab apples and I would like lots. If you like red apples, then I would look out for one which holds onto its fruit into the winter such as Red Sentinel, Donald Wyman or Crittenden.

  28. That was a lovely post. Sweetgums are native to my hometown, Atlanta, Georgia, USA and most people get rid of the trees because of the fruits, Southerners call them gumballs, 1″ round balls covered with spines. Especially nasty if you have big dogs – they get stuck in paws.
    I think there is one cultivar available here ‘Fruitless’. It is always amazing to see what the English gardeners have come up with, beautiful Sweetgums! Thank you.

    • Chloris says:

      Liquidambars are gorgeous in Autumn. Several other American bloggers have mentioned the horrible seeds but I have never seen a Liquidambar with seeds on here. How odd.

  29. bittster says:

    Ahhhh…. ten acres sounds perfect, though I’d like the lavatory paper and hot water too.
    Sweet gum is uncommon around here, even down south were it’s a native it’s rarely planted. I think it’s the mess of the seed balls that keep people away.
    Sorbus are also uncommon. I’ve been scrounging seed and trying to get a few to sprout, but so far no luck… some day though. Is it a long lived tree? The orange berried ‘mountain ash’ types grown here don’t usually last more than 20-30 years.

    • Chloris says:

      I don’ t know how long Sorbus live, I’ ve never stayed in one place long enough to find out. I did have a huge Sorbus hupehensis in my last garden though which I imagine was a good age. I think if you want to grow it from seed it needs a period of stratification so leave the pots outside in winter.
      It’ s funny someone else mentioned the Liquidambar seeds but it rarely sets seed here.

  30. My goodness Chloris what incredible color in those trees and I was overwhelmed by the different colored berries…stunning displays.

  31. Chloris says:

    They are lovely aren’ t they? I wish they were all in my garden.

  32. Goregous, I am glad I finally found time to catch up with your blog posts, I would have hated to have missed this autumnal celebration. I love sorbus and crab apples, and aren’t the delicate acers tactile?

  33. So many collections of plants for fall colour and winter interest!! Excellent garden!

  34. Emma Spary says:

    Lovely plants and great photography too. I particularly love the Viburnum betulifolium. I would beg to differ on the Prunus front–these reliably show spectacular autumn colour where I am in the East. For something with more tasteful flowers, I find Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ indispensable.

  35. Emma Spary says:

    Beautiful plants and great photography. I particularly liked Viburnum betulifolium. Have you tried Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’ or Prunus sargentii–both with beautiful autumn foliage and tasteful flowers…

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