Today I got to escape my office for a few hours, with the aim of finding suitable locations for some of the 300 young trees and shrubs that have been lovingly grown in our very own Propagation Unit. I was joined as always for this important annual task by Penny, our amazingly talented Propagator. We were on the hunt for places that would meet all the individual needs of each new plant, taking into account a multitude of factors such as shade and soil depth, so that these new additions can hopefully flourish at Westonbirt for generations to come.
On route around Silk Wood we took the opportunity to enjoy some vibrant autumn colour, which in some ways can appear even more spectacular on a damp day such as today. As always, you will have to excuse my very limited photography skills and cheap digital camera, as I can assure you that everything looks much better in the flesh.
First up is a fine Winged Spindle (Euonymus alatus) on Waste Drive. I have been lucky enough to see this species in the wild back in 2008, and to collect its seed near the edge of a stream at the Ogawa Research Forest in Japan.
Next we spotted a group of three young Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) from North America, adding alternative seasonal interest to Cherry Glade.
Just nearby and adding further brightness amid the drabness is a Red Maple cultivar (Acer rubrum ‘Tilford’).
Then on Broad Drive a performer that never lets us down, a Spanish Maple (Acer opalus ssp. hispanicum), which provides a mass of orange to red leaves year on year and without fail.
Perhaps a tree that is not often thought to add autumnal interest, is the European Larch (Larix decidua), seen here with golden needles providing a nice contrast in Maple Loop.
Along Willesley Drive you cannot miss this striking Yellow Wood (Cladrastis kentukea) at the moment, this specimen was planted in 1992 and as the botanical name suggests it hails from the USA.
Finally, as autumn slowly turns towards winter, I would advise everyone to keep an eye out for some beautiful examples of tree bark. You can find this Pere David’s Maple (Acer davidii ‘Cantonspark’), part of the aptly named snake bark maple group, positioned near to where the Treetop Walkway will gently touchdown in the not too distant future.
Mission accomplished for now, I head back to the office to catch-up on some much less exciting but nevertheless important health and safety matters…