Autumn 2021 at Cambridge Botanics – Vignettes

I managed to fit in my usual autumn visit to Cambridge Botanics last week on a gloriously sunny day, so I was hoping for brilliant colour.

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Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’

I certainly wasn’t disappointed by the wonderful Liquidambar by the (surprisingly empty) lake. Sadly though, the low water level meant that the usual reflections which double the colour from across the pond weren’t really there.

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Lakeside willow

However, the resident ducks were very happy to sift around in the exposed soft mud around the edges. They made an entertaining picture gathered en masse under the yellowing weeping willow.

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Prunus serrulata ‘Alboplena’ illuminates one end of the stepping stones across the lake

The ornamental cherry, Prunus serrulata ‘Alboplena’, at the ‘island’ end of the lake’s stepping stones was nicely coloured up too, but was rapidly losing leaves.

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Honey locust was almost bare except for its red seed pods.

A number of trees were already bare, like this honey locust (above), but happily, that made the view of those lovely twisty, red seed pods against a clear blue sky even more intense.

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Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) with rather a lot of green leaves this year for November.

Other trees seem to be very slow to put in their normal autumn display. For instance, the Parrotia near the Systematic beds (photo above) is still largely green… and the normally spectacular pair of Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ in the Autumn Garden were not even worth a photo this time.

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Acanthus senii

However, there were other beauties to discover: For the first time I encountered this lovely plant, Acanthus senii, in one of the bays between the glasshouse arms. It looks familiarly spiny of course, but also a bit like a canna with that vibrant orange spike.

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Gorgeous shiny red Ginger seeds

Another lovely bright red display is being put on by the gingers in the woodland garden. They look like they’ve had a very successful year (warm and wet I suppose) and are now oozing shiny red seeds.

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Taxus baccata ‘Lutea’ is currently lit up with rich yellow arils

Another cheering sight was a huge crop of yellow arils on the Taxus baccata ‘Lutea’ at the back of the Terrace garden. Seeing the golden ‘berries’ always makes me do a double take, as it is so surprising.

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Acer griseum, the paperbark maple, standing triumphant, at the north end of the Winter garden.

It has been a funny autumn for colour. Nearly everything seems to be running behind normal, with just a few exceptions. So, I thought I would end with a favourite, the Paperbark maple that stands at the end of the Winter garden, as it seem to mark a positive transition to the bare-leaf season! It looks joyful now, standing in a sea of golden leaves of surrounding dogwood … and that glowing bark will be there all winter long. Hurray!

Since I’ve referred to specific areas of the gardens, I thought that this link to a map of the Botanics  would be potentially of use.

Take care!

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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24 Responses to Autumn 2021 at Cambridge Botanics – Vignettes

  1. Pauline says:

    Lovely colour on the Liquidambar. I feel the autumn colours are a bit slow this year, although my Acer Osakazuki has just decided to change colour at last, usually it has changed by the end of October. Love the golden berries on the Yew, very unusual.

  2. Paddy Tobin says:

    A very pleasant visit.

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Lovely captures of autumn color. There’s been a bit of a lag here as well, but I’m not in a hurry to see the leaves fall. I love the golden light this time of year, before the dull gray and browns of dormancy come on.

  4. Cathy says:

    Gorgeous autumn colours, especially the last photo. I have never seen a yew tree with yellow berries before. They are so striking.

    • Thank you. I wonder why you don’t see more yellow yew around?

      • Cathy says:

        We have the common Taxus baccata here. It is not usually grown in gardens here these days, possibly because the berries make such a mess. (We had one in our old garden!) And they are protected too. The yellow one must be a variety cultivated just for gardens.

  5. Chloris says:

    What a treat to visit CBG in autumn. Yes, the autumn colours are late this year I’ve just been for a bike ride and the countryside looks fabulous. That acanthus is very eye- catching and yellow yew berries; what a surprise.

    • It is always a pleasure to visit CUBG and I certainly appreciate how lucky I am to have it just down the road. There’s been quite a lot of work done there recently and they are recruiting quite a lot of new staff, so things may change there even more.

  6. shoreacres says:

    I always enjoy seeing these unfamiliar plants. Comparisons with other years can be tempting, but seeing what ‘is’ with fresh eyes can reveal new and unexpected treasures. I remember seeing a yellow-berried yaupon one mostly brown and gray fall, and it was gorgeous. Your yew reminded me of it.

  7. Sue says:

    Lovely photos, especially the liquidamber which is always a delight with its beautiful colour display during the season. No wonder autumn is one of my favourite times of year!

  8. A wonderful selection, especially of trees. Why is it called Honey Locust, do you know? I also noticed how much green leaf there still is for the time of year, strange.

  9. pbmgarden says:

    Brilliant light and colors. So beautiful all around.

  10. Cathy says:

    We visited in February, when it looked very different – apart from the cloudless blue sky! I guess you are near enough for regular visits? Lovely colours for you on this one!

  11. susurrus says:

    The yellow berries gave me a double-take too! It’s lovely to be able to see the garden in its autumn colours.

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