This article has been written by Rachel McLeod for Planting Works.

If like me you’ve grown up in Britain with the changes of season, it’s sometimes easy to overlook our fabulous autumn among our trees, hedgerows and plants.  A season that is crammed full of treats for the senses as nature readies herself for harsh winter days and limited daylight. Take a drive along familiar tree lined roads and you will glimpse their magnificent canopy of radiant colours. Bursts of bright yellow and orange illuminate the roadside.

 

Walk through your local park and you will be greeted by a wonderful display. Trees are in their final transformation before their winter hibernation, fallen leaves pile up in mounds and glossy berries shine out in tones of crimson, tangerine and amber. There is an abundance of fruits, nuts and berries providing wildlife with their winter larder.

Frequent rain showers and wind bring crowds of leaves to the ground where they pile high. Look closely and you will see shades of bronze, amber, russet, lime, gold and claret. The intricate form and structure of the fallen leaves reveal themselves on the ground. Giant horse chestnut leaves stand out amongst piles of smaller birch and familiar oak leaves. Acers flaunt their intense autumn foliage to brighten up gloomy days.

Fungi flourish in the mulch and dampness and emerge magically on fallen wood and saturated lawns. A distinctive scent of earth and mustiness greets walkers as they crunch through paper like leaves. Spiced pumpkins and smoky bonfires add to the atmosphere. Bright orange pumpkins are transformed through their spooky Halloween guise. Squirrels frolic noisily through the leaves looking for treasured acorns, sweet chestnuts, cob nuts and berries.

Vivacious summer borders crammed full of vibrancy give way to subtler tones from autumn flowering perennials such as Salvias, Penstemon, Echinops, and Japanese Anemone. Agapanthus seed heads and Hydrangea lace caps provide interesting texture and form to borders as shadows of their former glory in low autumn sunlight. Amongst garden shrubs Mahonias light up with sparkles of yellow and Nandinia burst into flame red foliage.

Arbutuses proudly display their plump strawberries and Pyracantha flash with clusters of tiny glossy orange and golden berries

Architectural grasses erupt with lively textural displays against a backdrop of unpredictable stormy skies.

Bracken fronds turn to cinnamon and bronze ready for their winter slumber.  While all of this is happening, steadfast evergreen shrubs, trees and lawns frame the transformation with their dependable verdant shades.

 

 

 

Autumn is the time to wrap up against the elements and venture outside. Look up at the trees, spend time in the garden, visit parks or take long walks in the countryside. Whatever you choose to do take a minute to breathe and immerse yourself in nature’s great transformation.