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Talkback: Choosing plants for autumn colour

I've been delightedly surprised by the poppy red colour on the leaves of my red hammamelis which I did not expect as I bought it for the scent from the flowers early in the spring. An amelanchier is on my wish as it looks great in blossom and the berries are edible as well. Some plants just go on giving.
The pink leaves of Davidii involucra are lovely in the autumn and you have the handkerchiefs in May.
My birds brought a spindle tree for free to my garden and it is covered with its lovely pink seedheads ready to burst open to show the orange berries, and its leaves are colouring up.
But, for variation in colour try growing acers from seed off a mature tree. I have five still in pots and all showing different colours of autumn leaves from salmon pink to a dark burgundy.
At our local group of the Alpine Garden Society we are having one of the four lectures at our annual conference on "The Glory of Autumn" by the curator of the Oxford University Botanic Garden, Timothy Walker. I an all agog to see his slides and I'm sure my wish list will grow considerably.
So sorry to hear you had a disappointing
season in your garden, Pippa.


  • I am hoping to buy a new plum tree for a sheltered paved garden area but cannot find any advice on the web about which would be the best to buy, I would like to train it up a south facing wall.
    Any ideas?
  • Euonymus alatus is showing lovely pink colour this year and with its strange winged branches is a very special shrub to have in your garden.
  • Lovely autumn colour here...
  • Our allotment harvest wasn't brilliant this year, either... adequate but nothing to write home about.

    Talking of public gardens, is it considered a very bad thing to do, to pick seed heads off plants?
  • Mandy, better to ask permission from a gardener. Just think how he or she would feel if you were seen treading on soil which they do not want compacted or picking seed heads they want to collect for another part of the estate. Some things are acceptable like gathering up chestnuts from the ground on parts where the public usually walk.
    I think if it was commonplace to see people picking seed heads in a public park it would not be long before some people would think it OK to pick a bunch of flowers or a whole plant. It is the thin end of the wedge.
  • Please help this year has been a disaster for my potted acer trees. At times I wonder if my beautiful plants have died.What should i do now and what feed should I use so that I may have my wonderful plants back next year, I live in devon so climate is not too bad.should I put thMarylynem away in a shed for protection after last years weather and should they be wrapped up .Than you
  • marylyndavison, to test whether your potted acers are still alive just break a twig and see if there is any light colour inside. If so, they are alive and can e saved Did a high wind strip off the leaves or were they too dry in their pots in the dry spring? I would not feed them but water them well by putting the pots in a container of water for an hour or two. They grow on mountains so do not need warmth but shelter from high winds is essential, so a sheltered spot outside should suit them best. I had several seedlings survive like that last year in the bitter winter we had in Bristol.
  • thanks for that happy marion.I have just checked and plants have not died.Also noticed lots of new shoots begining to appear. This is too early surely? Anyway I will do as you advise and hope all goes well I will be heartbroken not to have them. THANKS
  • Does anyone know what I should do.

    I was out earlier this year and took a pine cone home I left it and while dusting i found that a load of seeds had fallen out from the cone, Are these pine tree seeds, and if so what would I do with them? Thanks :)
  • Thanks v much for your advice, Marion. That does make sense. Indeed, a sense that it wouldn't be quite right has kept me from plundering, despite the temptation.
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