The winds of change, by Katrina Podlewska, Communications Manager

The weather of recent days will certainly have you feeling autumnal and it seems the trees of Westonbirt Arboretum are sympathising with you. Spurred on by the long dry spring, some species are already showing the start of autumn colour. But don’t worry, many trees are still to turn and we are looking forward to a long, vibrant season of colour.

Westonbirt is currently a mix of lush summer greens and the sneaky signs of early autumn. Look one way when walking through and you’ll feel firmly in summer, but just a turn to your left or right could have you feeling the excitement that autumn brings to the arboretum.

The National Japanese Maple Collection in Silk Wood

The National Japanese Maple Collection in Silk Wood

The Persian ironwoods, famous for having several vibrant colours cover each individual leaf in autumn, are one species on their way through the seasonal change. They are not in full colour, but are beautifully showing the initial stages each leaf goes through as the months get cooler.

Persian ironwood on Holford Ride

Persian ironwood on Holford Ride

Along with some of the Japanese maples in Acer Glade, photography favourite, the Acer palmatum along Willesley Drive in Silk Wood, is also teasing visitors by starting its autumn journey. This specimen is one of Westonbirt’s most photographed maples, favoured for its dark silhouette-like bark and the angle which the sunlight shines through the canopy.

Acer palmatum on Willesley Drive

Acer palmatum on Willesley Drive

Move up to the National Japanese Maple Collection and Maple Loop in Silk Wood and similar sights can be seen. This Acer palmatum dissectum is just one specimen flashing bright red leaves amongst a green mane.

cer palmatum dissectum  within the National Japanese Maple Collection

Acer palmatum dissectum within the National Japanese Maple Collection

Whilst these examples are ‘on the turn’, there are several still to say goodbye to summer. Many trees, including the paper bark maple at Down Gate on Mitchell Drive remain green, as do the swamp cypress and deciduous larch trees that provide a tawny yellow backdrop to the blazing reds.

An autumn favourite, the hickory, is also still firmly green. This beauty will also have to wait a little longer to wow Westonbirt’s visitors with its vibrant yellow autumn colour.

Whilst those questioning when to come may want to visit now to see this spectacle of two seasons, the full force of autumn is still to arrive. The traditional autumn months will still be good for colour. That’s the beauty of Westonbirt – the trees in this collection are from all over the world, which means they change colour at different times, giving The National Arboretum its recognition as the place to see long, varied autumn colour.

2 Responses to “The winds of change, by Katrina Podlewska, Communications Manager”

  1. Thanks for showing the Persion Ironwood foliage.I tried finding this tree but to no avail. First time visitor though so new to the maps and paths.

    Quite agree with your comments on the colours. Today Monday 26th Sept some trees are green and some Maples are in full colour.
    Tried to upload some of my pictures taken today but with no luck

  2. westonbirt says:

    Thanks for your comments – if you’d like to find a plant in advance of visiting Westonbirt you can look up specific plants using our interactive map: http://www.thewestonbirtmap.org.uk/

    Once here at Westonbirt you can also visit the Information Desk at the Great Oak Hall, where our friendly volunteers will be able to help you locate trees and plants using the map.

    Your images can now be found on the Gallery: http://www.fowa.org.uk/your_westonbirt/gallery/the_best_of_autumn

    They took a while to appear as they have to be approved by us first. Thanks for contributing.

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