Flaming October

My Mum’s garden puts on a spectacular display in Autumn.

Autumn leaves of cherry tree

While the leaves of the cherry tree have turned a rich golden colour, deepening to red towards the branch tips, it is the acer standing nearby that truly steals the show at this time of year.

Acer palmatum 'Chitoseyama' crimson autumn leaves

This striking red foliage belongs to Acer palmatum ‘Chitose-yama’.

Acer palmatum 'Chitoseyama' scarlet autumn leaves

The appeal of this compact acer, awarded the AGM by the RHS, is not limited to autumn. In high summer, while these divided leaves are a mixture of bronze and green, they are joined by a mass of eye-catching scarlet keys whose colour is almost equal in ferocity to this dazzling display.

Scarlet leaves of Acer palmatum Chitoseyama

I have serious plant-envy each time I see this acer.
Dark purple foliage of Cotinus 'Royal Purple'

Across this modest garden, the dark leaves of Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’ sparkle with raindrops, still to change into the dark red livery of autumn.

Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy' autumn colours

Nearby stands another small tree that I covet: Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, whose leaves, a handsome dark purple through the summer, are now a rainbow of purple, green, red, orange and gold.

Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy autumn foliage

In the next few weeks, these leaves will continue to smoulder, flaring in the soft October light.

Scarlet leaf of Acer palmatum Chitoseyama

I would be hard-pushed to choose my favourite between the acer or cercis, both of which deserve a place in even a small garden – now I just have to work out where we can squeeze one of each in…

Christina hosts her regular round-up of foliage today: do pop over to explore more.

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25 thoughts on “Flaming October

  1. Lovely colours there. I love acers but my own experience of them is that they are are quite fussy. They don’t like cold winds, well winds in general and their autumnal colour is apparently much better on acid soils. I do love that cercis, a stunning tree. We planted a liquidambar last year that is looking good at the moment.

    • I love acers too. We have three small ones, whose leaves do burn a little in the wind on our exposed site, and drop quite early, but are otherwise doing okay so far. The cercis is indeed beautiful. Our own strongest autumn colour is from a young Euonymus alatus, which is a vivid red. I like liquidambars too, lovely colours.

  2. Ooooooooh – such rich and vibrant colours – I do hope that you can find some appropriate squeezing room Sara. I wonder what the translation of ‘Chitose-yama’ is.

  3. Thank you for joining GBFD this month, and with such stars! I covet Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ too, I’ve been looking for one for ages and found one this weekend at Courson, the plant fiar near Paris – sadly it was too big for the suitcase! Christina

    • Aren’t they stunning? My mum certainly has good taste in plants, I like to hope I’ve inherited a little along with a pinch of her green fingers…

  4. I do love Acers and Cotinus, added another one this year but sadly I dont think I can get away with adding a Forest Pansy, too big for my garden but such lovely leaves.

    Thanks for sharing some views of your Mum’s garden

    • Acers and Cotinus are so striking in Autumn. Dan Pearson grew Forest Pansy in a huge container in his London garden, which is food for thought. My mum’s garden is compact, smaller than ours, but the Cercis is not overwhelming there…

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