Plant Forum – October

We missed our Plant Forum in August, like so many other events in this year of Covid-19, so it is proposed that we have some virtual ones! For October, please send your nominations, suitably illustrated, for the best Autumn colour, be it tree, shrub or perennial to

Sue Gray has started the ball rolling with her nomination for Euonymus alatus – the Burning Bush

Euonymus alatus

Acers are always reliable purveyors of autumn colour, but this one in the Hackett garden, is better known for its winter bark – Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’

Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ – the Coral-bark maple

Pat Gore says: “What a difficult choice! I have some lovely Acers, a Rhys typhina dissecta, a butter yellow Morus nigra – all of which give a great autumnal display.

However, I would like to nominate Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ as providing my favourite Autumn colour. It starts to turn in late Summer and goes an increasingly dark wine red over the succeeding months. It also has a second small flush of flowers which look lovely against the dark foliage. The leaves are held until late Autumn and I would not expect them to fall until mid- late November.

I have a bird’s eye view of it when I open my bedroom curtains every morning so it gives me a lot of pleasure throughout much of the year.”

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’

Terry Benton of Westbury, Wiltshire was a regular contributor to our lockdown gallery. Here’s his nomination: “The choice from my garden is Hesperantha coccinea ‘Major’. It’s not an unusual plant but the flowers provide a strong colour among the garden’s fading hues. I find them still standing proud and blooming long after the leaves have fallen from the trees.”

Hesperantha coccinea’Major’

Ann Fritchley offers the Crimson Bromeliad – Fascicularia bicolor.  “Unfortunately”, she says, “the pale blue flowers in the centre have gone over”. Still pretty exotic for October!

Fascicularia bicolor

Judith Ladley gives us an old and trusted favourite. “I would have sent a picture of Parthenocissus tricuspidata which has been superb but is now nearly finished.  Therefore I nominate Verbena bonariensis which self-seeds freely in my gravelled area.  In the background is Catalpa bignonioides ‘Aurea’ which has done very well this year.  I cut it back in Spring.

Verbena bonariensis

Judith Edmonds picks an Acer: “Here’s my vote for autumn colour: Acer Palmatum ‘Chitose-yama’. Seen at the Himalayan Garden & Sculpture Park, Grewelthorpe, last week. As well as the dramatic colour, I thought the leaves were also a very beautiful shape. It’s definitely on my wish list now! Having checked it out on the RHS website I see it has an AGM and the leaf colour earlier in the year looks good too.”

Acer palmatum ‘Chitose-yama’

Kate van Heel’s nomination is Polypodium cambricum ‘Richard Kayse’. She says “It’s a winter growing fern that is a fabulous lime green at the moment”

Polypodium cambricum ‘Richard Kayse’

Katherine Hill offers two contrasting takes on autumn colour

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