Slowly, slowly.

Slowly, day by day, Acer Osakazuki is changing colour. It is taking such a long time this year, probably because it has stayed warm at night time for so long this year. It is just this last week that we have been having much cooler temperatures at night time and the experts say that it is the difference between the daytime and night time temperatures which switches off the chlorophyll and shows the other colours that have been underneath the green colour all summer.

Acer Osakazuki

I’ve been coming out every few days to photograph Osakazuki just in case the winds blow all the leaves away.


This photo was taken on 8th of November and I think we are almost there, some leaves have achieved their red/pink colouring, others will need a few more days.

Acer leaf

The few leaves that have turned their final colour are such a vibrant red, we can’t miss them from the sitting room window.

2 Acers

The Acer at the far side of the woodland is A. Sango Kaku and contrasts with A. Osakazuki in the foreground. The evergreen bush behind A Sango kaku is a Bay tree, or it would be if we let it grow. This was here before we arrived and it makes a nice evergreen bush to contrast with the acer in front.

A. Sango Kaku

With visiting gardens in autumn time, I very quickly learnt that evergreens were needed to contrast with the autumn colours, the bush in front of the Acer is a rhododendron.

A. Sango Kaku

Acer Sango Kaku starts out pale yellow in the spring, then turns green for the summer and finally goes buttery yellow. As the days go by, the yellow is fading making the leaves look ever so delicate. When these leaves finally fall, the newish stems are coral coloured and this colour lasts all winter

A Osakazuki leaves

Coming back out of the woodland, the light was shining through some of the leaves of Acer Osakazuki, such a stunning colour.

Osakazuki leaf

The wind is already bringing down the lovely leaves, I do hope they last a bit longer.

Sunshine and Acers

Sunshine through the leaves of Osakazuki with Sango Kaku in the background.

Third Acer

Our third Acer, photographed from an upstairs window, on the left of the archway, was planted by the previous people.  It was about 3 ft tall when we came, but now must be about 15ft. This is always the last Acer to change colour and I noticed yesterday that it had started to change from the top downwards, it will end up a lovely warm orange colour.

I think the lovely autumn colours are about a month behind last year, simply because it stayed so warm in October, especially at night time, when the temperatures hardly changed at all. Now we are having colder nights, sometimes down to 3C, the colours will soon change and hopefully won’t be blown away before we can enjoy them.

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29 Responses to Slowly, slowly.

  1. Angie says:

    I found that my Acers were a tad late in colouring up too Pauline but the foliage on mine are long gone. It’s been a pleasure to be reminded of the by your pictures.
    All very pretty and indeed doing exactly as they should in Autumn, albeit, a bit late.
    What a gorgeous scene in the last image.

    • Pauline says:

      The colours are getting better each day Angie, the orange Acer, sorry, I don’t know its name, is becoming a deeper colour as the days go by. Usually Sango Kaku, the yellow one, has always lost its leaves by the time the orange one changes, it is good to see all three performing together for a change.

  2. Christina says:

    Your soil and the weather where you live are perfect for the Acers, Pauline; I’ve never lived anywhere that was suited to them so I love seeing yours. You are so right about the background too, something some gardeners forget. True also for the lovely stems of Cornus that you’ll be sharing with us soon. It is easy to think that evergreens are boring but they are superb for showing off other plants, foliage and flowers. I have a huge bay that was here when we came I love it.

    • Pauline says:

      It was my visits to Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire Christina, that made me aware of how many evergreens they have which contrasted with the Acers and set them off to perfection. I was lucky to find the bay bush already here when we came, and was why I put the yellow Acer in front where it contrasts out so well.The colours have certainly taken their time coming this year, but they are getting better and better each day.

  3. Sigrun says:

    Beautiful colours! I have never heard from your yellow acer, a wonderful tree.


    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Sigrun, the Acer Sango Kaku is a very pretty tree, with its delicate leaves. When all the leaves finally drop, you can see that the newest twigs are coral coloured, so it has interest all through the year.

  4. The acers are superb, Pauline, thanks for sharing and particularly for commenting on the different ways you have noticed them colour. I imagined that your soil was alkaline (we’ve had little exchanges in the past about the heavy clay that we both share, if you remember, re yew deaths etc.). Is it actually acid. I’d love to grow some, but have steered clear, imagining they were not for me.

    • Pauline says:

      Cathy, our soil is just the acid side of neutral, I grow camellias, rhododendrons, meconopsis and hydrangeas turn blue except for the ones by the house where I suppose the cement in the soil turns it alkaline.I can also grow lots that the books say need alkaline soil! Maybe it would be worth giving one a try, its just that they are rather expensive to experiment with!

  5. I really enjoyed seeing all the acer photographs with the leaves at different stages of turning. I think my favourite is the yellow one as the leaves are so delicate, but the sun shining through the leaves of the Osakazuki must have been beautiful to see.

    • Pauline says:

      I love this time of year Annette, the Acers make the back garden look so colourful, it is so hard to choose a favourite, they all have their good points. When the sun shines through the leaves, the colours look like a stained glass window. I would like to get a couple of smaller ones for the woodland, that only grow to 4 or 5 ft high, maybe I could put them on my Christmas wish list!

  6. pbmgarden says:

    Your Acers are a lovely part of your garden. Their beautiful coloring is something to savor. Thanks for the design tip about showing them to best advantage. I’m way behind on reading blogs lately. Hope you and yours are doing well.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Susie, I love this time of year for all the colour the leaves bring to the garden.
      We had the wonderful news yesterday that my husband’s prostate cancer hasn’t spread to his bones. He now faces 3 months pills and hormone therapy, then radio therapy every day for 7 weeks, but after that, hopefully, he will be clear and just need regular check ups, modern day medicine is wonderful!

  7. Anna says:

    Talk about fireworks Pauline – ‘Osakazuki’ is fabulous. I hope that the winds hold off so that you can admire that foliage for as long as possible. Delighted to read in your reply to Susie’s above comment that the news regarding your husband is so positive. A huge weight off your shoulders I would imagine.

    • Pauline says:

      The colour is fabulous isn’t it Anna, some of the leaves are such a bright fuchsia pink -fantastic!
      Our news is a huge relief, we ‘re walking round today with huge grins on our faces, still 5 months to go, but now there is light at the end of the tunnel!

  8. Cathy says:

    Your acers are beautiful, Pauline – how lovely to have been watching their gradual colour change. I have nothing like that here – although I do have some tiny acers in pots so perhaps in 5 or 10 years time…. How lovely also to hear that your husband’s treatment has gone well – what great news!

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Cathy, I’m enjoying the colours changing each day, this is the first time I’ve had all three hanging on to their leaves at the same time. I hope that yours will soon be large enough to make a statement in your garden.
      It is wonderful to know that soon my husbands problems will be over, well in 5 months anyway, we just can’t stop smiling!

  9. rusty duck says:

    Great to hear your good news Pauline. What a relief. I meant to go out and photograph our Osakazuki today and then forgot. It has finally reached bright red.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Jessica, it was a great relief to know that eventually my husband will be ok once more.
      I’m so glad that your A. Osakazuki has like mine, caught up with autumn, they are such a wonderful colour aren’t they.

  10. Chloris says:

    What wonderful photos of your lovely acers. Acer osakazuki is my favourite for autumn colour but they are all fabulous. You are right about showing them off against evergreen shrubs. It has obviously given you so much pleasure watching them day by day. Thank you for the lovely post.

    • Pauline says:

      Acers certainly earn their space Chloris, during the month of November, they are so colourful. The orange one to the left of the arch fills the windows with its deep orange colour, each day it seems to be a couple of shades darker with touches of red at the top of the tree.

  11. Tistou says:

    Wonderful acers and colours on them! I truly envy you! In a good way! 🙂
    We are missing all the colours and having probably the darkest days of the year now. In some days it is so dark and cloudy, so it looks like the day never arrives. Snow would make things lighter but I’m not sure, if I wait for that. I don’t like winter cold.
    So enjoy what you have, lucky ones! 😉

    • Pauline says:

      The colours are getting even better Tistou, each day the orange one is better and better, almost red on the top where it gets most sun. Don’t worry, we do enjoy it all.
      What a shame you have it so dark for so long, but then you make up for it in the summer when it stays light all the time. We have watched the sun staying above the horizon at midnight and then up again when we were on holiday in north Norway a few years ago.

  12. Frank says:

    Beautiful colors, and you’re absolutely right about the evergreens setting them off. I should take that lesson to heart and get some backgrounds in place around here! Sango Kaku is one I keep coming back to, I think if I can find an affordable little start I’m going to give it a try here.

    • Pauline says:

      Visiting Westonbirt Arboretum most years in October and November Frank,for the autumn tints that they are famous for, made me realise that just having the Acers isn’t enough. The ones that looked best all had an evergreen behind them to make a contrast with the wonderful coloured leaves. I hope you manage to find a little Sango Kaku and that it survives your winters, it is a lovely tree.

  13. wellywoman says:

    It has been a strange autumn. There hasn’t been that spectacular show of autumn colour in one burst, rather a drip drip of colour since August. There are a surprising number of trees still with most of their leaf canopy and many are still green. But this week is meant to be colder so perhaps that will bring about some change. Acers really are ‘wow’ trees. I never tire of them. 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Autumn certainly took a long time coming and seems to have lasted a long time. All my coloured leaves have gone now, mainly just oak leaves yet to fall. The Acers definitely bring much needed colour to the garden and make November so colourful.

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