2015 is turning into a year of spectacular autumn leaf colour.
A half day visit to the Hillier wholesale nursery, based in Liss in West Sussex during last week provided inspiration for future schemes and for my own particular interest.
It was interesting to see the quality and size of stock available, ranging from the very large 70-80cm girth trees, including the striking foliage of Quercus palustris…
…to the interesting and unusual Ilex koehneara ‘Chestnut leaf’ and Ulmus ‘New horizon’,…
…to the soft and feathery reddish-brown foliage of Acer platanoides ‘Crimson Sentry’ and cut leaf of Alnus glutinosa ‘Lacciniata’.
Making a nice change from the Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’: Betula papyrifera ‘Kenaica’, with a pink blush to the stem, Betula ermanii ‘Holland’, a larger leaf and lovely golden foliage and Betula pendula’ Zwitsers Gloire’, an arrow straight, tall variety.
The highly colourful and particular favourites at this time of year Acer freemanii ‘Autumn Blaze’ (18-20cm girth) and Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’.
And the rescued: a number of apples rescued from a local orchard trees looking for a new home….
The day finished with a last look around the fields to enjoy the spectacular display of autumn colour before the nursery starts to lift stock in the forthcoming weeks; each tree being lifted (helping to develop a strong, fibrous rootball) on average every three years before being replanting or moved to a holding area in preparation for delivery.
My thanks go to Caroline Swann for the tour around and for the in-depth discussions on new design ideas, the merits of newer, more unusual varieties and colour and textural foliage combinations.
I shall look forward to returning hopefully with a list and tags in hand.