While we have been away working in Italy during the last month, the garden in the UK has subtly changed. It is charged with subtle tones and colour, leaves still, amazingly, on the trees, but cold night have spelled the end of the bright blue jewel flowers of ceratostigma willmottianum. In the UK garden it is partnered with old fashioned bergenia, miscanthus 'Morning Light' and sambucus 'Black Lace'.
They have all taken on yellow tints now, on the last day of October, with exception of the elder, which is still strongly structural in form with a few dark leaves.
When we took over the current garden, we inherited a mature acer, small in size but very sculptural. It is Acer palmatum dissectum, a weeping red japanese maple. Many people adore these trees, but I find it difficult to integrate into the new planting because of its compact strong colour and shape. As it goes through into late autumn though, the colour is softening and the planting around it is associating well.
Here it is with Hosta sieboldiana elegans, a large blue leaved hosta, at the end of its season.
Over the shed and boundary fence,
we are delighting in the colour of Vitis cognetiae...and will be planting another in a brand new Esterni Design Partnership garden to be featured shortly in a new post.
Autumn colour in small trees
Lastly, a planting association that I find works well is between Cercis canadensis'Forest Pansy' and Hydrangea paniculata 'Chantilly Lace'. This has red stems and pink flushed flowers from August to October...
At the recent Society of Garden Designers Autumn Conference, held on the 9th October 2010 in London, one speaker related the opinion that the Cercis was the perfect garden centre tree, attractive but very difficult/short lived, in need of continuous replacement. In my experience this has not been the case; it was planted as a sapling in semi-shade and yes, it does not flower vigorously as the robust native mediterranean tree Cercis siliquastrum, but it is bought and grown for the colour of its foliage....
So here it is 5 years on, in late October.