Autumn is a fabulous time of year at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum.
Weather conditions right up to early autumn can influence the time and rate of leaf colouring and you can never guess which trees will provide the year’s ‘star turn’.
Highlights to look out for...
With around 2,000 specimens of maples at Westonbirt and over 300 Japanese maple cultivars, it is no wonder that we associate autumn with this group of plants.
Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are particularly well known for the vibrant autumn colour. They are relatively small plants and are good for any small garden - visit the Westonbirt Plant Centre and take one home for yourself!
Some of the first trees to start to show autumn colour are the big full moon maples (Acer japonicum).
The Chinese spindle (Euonymus oxyphyllus), is also an early starter. The spindle is a much more delicate plant and produces pretty pink coloured leaves in autumn.
The Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) originates from northern Iran and north east Turkey and was introduced in 1879. We have over 50 specimens growing in both parts of the arboretum.
The hickories are another group of big trees that produce stunning autumn displays - this time with a pure yellow foliage.
Some trees produce rich aromas at this time of year and the very best for this is the katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) from Japan and China. Its rich autumn colours are complemented by a smell described as burnt caramel or candyfloss.
Climb the slope away from Waste Drive in Silk Wood, and you'll discover Beech Bank; a wilder landscape of beech, oak, field maple and dogwood. The beech trees in particular provide a beautiful show of late autumn colour.
In Concord Glade you'll find interesting species including deciduous conifers, swamp cypress and larch. The former's leaves turn a gorgeous tawny, orange shade.
Silk Wood’s Cherry Collection also provides great autumn colour, and this area is well worth a detour from the more popular Link. And for searchers of real tranquillity, try the Ash Collection near to Waste Drive. In a good year some species can surprise with their colour.