I took this photo of a sycamore colouring up into rainbow hues a little over two weeks ago. I was impressed because we’ve not had frosts and I have it in my head that we get better autumn reds and purples once that has happened and the chlorophyll is killed off.
But this autumn seems to be shaping up to a glorious display without the need for a cold spell. This next picture for instance is just a bit of set-aside along the field at the back of our house. With the sun shining on it looks wonderful and is one of the best displays around.
Possibly the long dryness and settled weather are playing to our advantage and the leaves, once turned, are hanging on a bit longer than usual. Whatever the reason, by Friday, when I visited my parents in Kent, the roadside display was fantastic. I drove my parents around the countryside for a bit just so they could enjoy the show. The red tones of the cherry trees and dogwood seem to be particularly outstanding this year.
So it was with high expectations that I finally persuaded Steve to go for a walk in Hatfield Forest today. I really love woods, I love the muffled quiet and filtered light, but I can see that the attraction of ‘just trees’ is not for everyone. However, we had a lovely time and, importantly, it was sunny. All the better to see the mellow colours! However, we were disappointed on that front. Hatfield Forest is still green.
I should have done more research before setting off! The predominant species there are oak, ash, hornbeam, hazel. None of which are showing autumn colours yet and even when they do, they will be russets, yellows and browns. Not quite how I promoted it.
We grabbed lunch from the outside cafe and then went for a pleasant amble around the central lake and adjoining forest. The National Trust (who own and manage Hatfield Forest) noticeably practise coppicing throughout the forest and I found it interesting to see how they’ve surrounded each of the coppiced trees with woven scrub and branches to keep deer off.
They look like giant nests, but they seem to be working well. Effort well spent.
In fact, we had luckily had our autumn colour fix the day before at Cambridge Botanics. There the birch grove is already a pretty golden yellow and the dawn redwood has gone a rusty orange.
The star of the show is always the lake-side liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’). It is burning a bright red, glowing, with or without the sun shining on it.
But with a bit of sunshine you get double the effect from the reflections.
Here is a shot where the waterlily strewn lake is just about catching fire! Very Monetesque.
Hope that you are enjoying some great autumn colours too.