Posts Tagged ‘maples’

Autumn Colour Watch: what a difference a week makes, by Gina Mills, Marketing Support Officer

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Autumn is a spectacular time of year at Westonbirt. This photo-packed blog will take you through the weekly highlights of what’s looking good and where. Photographs featured here have been taken in the few days prior to publication. Visit the Forestry Commission website for more information about what’s happening at Westonbirt during autumn.

Well, what a difference a week makes when it comes to autumn colour!

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In Acer Glade, you’ll see a marked change. Gone are the subtleties of previous weeks, as we welcome in vivid colour in abundance. As you approach Acer Glade there are glimpses of the bright leaves. Turn the corner and you’ll be amazed!

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As well as views from the paths, getting amongst the leaves and under the canopies gives a different perspective. Even if the skies are overcast the colours shine through strongly.

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It’s not just the mass plantings of maples that are impressive. Keep an eye out for individual specimens with striking branch structure and leaf colour. The first two pictured are in the easterly end of Acer Glade. The third is on Holford Ride.

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Out in Silk Wood, maples are once again the star turn of the week. The National Japanese Maple Collection is a bank of varied autumn colour and has some fine specimens perfect for autumnal photography.

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On Willesley Drive, one of our most photographed maples is living up to expectations, again with its strong structured branches and bright leaf colour – a winning combination. There is plenty more to catch the eye elsewhere on Willesley and not just from maples!

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Other highlights of the week include Hickories, which have suddenly changed to their brightest yellow tones – pictured here on Broad Drive and Main Drive – and more fascinating fungi.

Useful links:
Enter our Inspired by Autumn at Westonbirt photography competition
Directions to Westonbirt Arboretum (our postcode is GL8 8QS)
Find out more about BBC Autumnwatch Live, which will be broadcasting from Westonbirt throughout October

Autumn Colour Watch: a mixed picture of colour, by Gina Mills, Marketing Support Officer

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Autumn is a spectacular time of year at Westonbirt. This photo-packed blog will take you through the weekly highlights of what’s looking good and where. Photographs featured here have been taken in the few days prior to publication. Visit the Forestry Commission website for more information about what’s happening at Westonbirt during autumn.

Many of you may have noticed that after an initial early start to autumn, widely reported in the press, things are now going at rather a sedate pace. For us at Westonbirt, this means that although we had a dazzling display of colour from our maples during the first week of the autumn colour watch blog and continue to see the fruits and berries I wrote about last week, further developments to autumn colour are happening much more gradually than we had perhaps anticipated.

2 Japanese maple along Willesley Drive set against green maples (2)3 National Japanese Maple Collection (1)The Link Japanese maples
It seems that whilst autumn came early to some of Westonbirt’s trees, there are many still to turn. All over Silk Wood you’ll see the contrast of the ‘first wave’ of colour and those trees waiting to be spurred on by a frost or two. One of our Tree Team assures us that there are still many more trees to show autumn colour and the specimens that have turned early have done so because of the ‘stress’ caused by the dry weather. The Japanese maples pictured above in Silk Wood (Willesley Drive, National Japanese Maple Collection and The Link) are all good examples of the combination of colour at present.

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There are now some lovely variations in leaf colour around. You might expect this from the Persian Ironwood which is famed for its multicoloured leaves during autumn. But in other spots around the arboretum the same is true. The shagbark hickory is on its way to turning bright golden yellow, but at present has leaves that show a combination of yellow and green as a backdrop to its shiny fruit (this one on Main Drive), whilst the maples again show a range of colours. The Korean Acer pseudosieboldianum perched on a grassy bank near Skilling Gate really stands out against the green backdrop of grass and other specimens yet to turn for autumn – a story repeated throughout the Silk Wood.

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Although I got rather carried away with Sorbus last week I can’t resist showing you a few more that are looking fantastic in the Old Arboretum at the moment. They really are worth seeking out for the sheer variety of berry colours and leaf colours, as they now start to turn. Some are absolutely laden with fruit as you can see!

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It is also worth keeping an eye out for the quince at the top of Holford Ride, which has a fair crop of fruit – although its branches are a little prickly as I discovered! Viburnums are also in full berry (this one in the Old Arboretum) and there is a good variety of Cotoneaster – you can see this one on Willesley Drive is covered in berries.

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Fungi are another fascinating feature of autumn in our woodlands. Above are a selection of images of some of the fungi that are around at the moment. Look out for them in both the Old Arboretum and Silk Wood. If you’d like to get a better knowledge and be able to identify these, how about joining a walk around Westonbirt with Dave Shorten from the Cotswold Fungi Group on 29 October? He’ll be investigating the fungi at westonbirt and their trees.

Useful links:
Enter our Inspired by Autumn at Westonbirt photography competition
Directions to Westonbirt Arboretum (our postcode is GL8 8QS)
Find out more about BBC Autumnwatch Live, which will be broadcasting from Westonbirt throughout October