Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Autumn Colour Watch: shades of gold and many more

Posted: November 3, 2011 at 09:23 am Author: Gina Mills

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.

Beech tree entrance to Waste Gate

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


This week we've really noticed the yellow and golden tones of autumn come to the fore. Beech trees are looking burnished as you approach Silk Wood via the Waste Gate entrance, and on Loop Walk in the Old Arboretum this fabulous Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea Tricolor' is showing a variety of leaf colour with papery edges.


Some of the brightest yellows come from tulip trees. These are striking in their large number on Jackson Avenue, where the mature specimens soar skywards. A great spectacle against a blue sky. If you look out for younger plantings on Main Drive and Loop walk you'll be able to get closer to the unusually shaped leaves which are a mixture of yellow, golden brown and green. This mixture of colours is also emerging on our oak trees.

Persian ironwood Silk WoodPersian ironwood Silk WoodPersian ironwood Broad Drive Silk WoodJapanese maple Broad Drive Silk Wood

Another one of Westonbirt's signature plants, the Persian ironwood, has been providing a stunning range of colours throughout the season so far, from reds and purples to their current bright yellow - you'll find some good examples on Broad Drive in Silk Wood.

Japanese Maple Collection Silk WoodJapanese maple Broad Drive Silk Wood

Surprisingly perhaps, the maples continue to dazzle. In Silk Wood, Broad Drive and the National Japanese Maple Collection both have some lovely bright examples which are pictured above. Although predominately red, the one pictured above right has beautiful yellow tipped leaves. Very striking.



The same is true of the maples in the Old Arboretum, which continue to lend themselves to 'tree portraits', where a combination of leaf colour and distinctive branch structures shout personality.


Down in what we call our 'shop window' where passing traffic gets a tantalising glimpse of what Westonbirt has to offer, there is a great display of red maples, silvery conifers and a number of surprise plants such as this Sorbus aronioides (with berries that look like brass, another to add to my list of favourite autumn berried plants) and this silver maple. It is only once you depart from Mitchell Drive towards the road that you notice these plants. Excitingly, as it is now November, we will (all going well with the creative process!) have a sneak preview of the Enchanted Christmas in this area of the Old Arboretum from Friday - look out for some illuminations as you drive past!

Useful links:

Directions to Westonbirt Arboretum (our postcode is GL8 8QS)

Buy tickets to the Enchanted Christmas

Find out about Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership. It is great value!