The last of foliage colour for GBFD.

I have to admit that last weekend, when we heard the weather forecast for this coming week, I thought I had better get out into the garden and photograph the leaves before they all blew away, just as well I did. We have had such gales ,floods and torrential rain for the past couple of days,  that most of the trees are now looking rather bare, just the huge oaks hanging on to their leaves. This is the view last Sunday from the side of the house, looking through to the back, it looks totally different now.

Looking to back garden

Top of garden

This photo show the top of the garden, at the side, which shows the trees beyond the pond and veggie garden, borrowed scenery.

Beech hedge

Our beech hedge, at the side by the field, is now turning colour and will remain brown all winter, hanging on to its leaves until the new green ones come through next spring. This was planted before I read that beech doesn’t like heavy clay, apparently I should have planted hornbeam instead. Thank goodness my beech plants haven’t read the books!


Cotoneaster horizontalis has lost all its berries now and the leaves are giving us a final display before dropping.

Acer leaves

I can’t do a post about foliage without including my lovely acers. Last month they weren’t ready, the colours hadn’t developed properly, but the leaves are now falling and for a while, until they are raked up, make the lawn look very pretty.


My favourite of the three that I have, Acer Osakazuki, its only a small tree so far, and has lost its leader, but I’m hoping another will form.


The leaves are so beautiful and turn  such a bright red, eventually they are almost fuchsia pink before they fall, a real wow for November!


The leaves also make a nice contrast with the euonymous underneath, wish I had trimmed it before taking its photo!

Orange acer

The other side of the archway from Osakazuki is this acer that was here before us. When we came here it was about 2ft tall, my, how its grown. It also had coral spot on the trunk, out came the gardening books and I read that the treatment is to cut out the affected piece of wood, but that would mean cutting the trunk down almost to the ground which I certainly didn’t want to do.

Acer trunk

Instead of cutting it down, I got an old kitchen knife and scraped the bark away that had the coral spot on it and then hoped for the best. The vertical split is where I scraped it, since then it has just grown and grown and now rewards me every autumn with beautiful orange leaves. It must be over 12ft by now.

Sango Kaku

In the woodland strip is my 3rd Acer, this time Sango Kaku, which turns a lovely buttery yellow and has coral coloured young branches.Or is this my favourite, I can never decide! Next to it, we have a witch hazel which I’m now thinking has been planted too close for comfort.

Sango kaku

The delicate leaves show up beautifully in the sunshine against the Bay bush behind it.

Sango kaku

This is the first Acer to change colour here and the first to lose its leaves. When we look out across the back lawn , for a short time it looks as though the lights have been switched on in the woodland, we enjoy it while we can knowing it won’t last for very long.


Just a general view of the woodland from an upstairs window, such a difference in a few days, no Acer leaves left now.

Witch Hazel

This is  Hamamellis mollis Pallida which is next to Sango Kaku. As well as enjoying the lovely leaves at the moment, I noticed that it is covered with flower buds, so there should be a good display in just a few weeks time in the New Year!

Front door

By the front door I planted a purple berberis, a golden elm and a small tree whose name I have forgotten!  The purple berberis has now turned very red, the golden elm, Ulnus Dicksonii or Cornish Golden Elm has leaves now that are paler than in the summer and my other tree which has brown leaves is a cross between an English oak and ( I think) a copper beech. Its just dawned on me that it will probably grow far too big for where I have it!!! The leaves are a dark purple/ brown during the summer, they are now just brown. The tree has fruits the same as a beech tree, but the leaves are like small oak leaves, can anyone help with the name please?


This is the only downside to all the lovely coloured leaves, we will still be sweeping up into the New Year so that our snowdrops can pop up without being smothered by leaves, the bonus is lots of lovely leaf mould in just a year!

Chestnut tree

I will finish with a shot from the balcony of one of our Chestnuts with contrasting bushes beneath. The bushes are about 6ft tall, and are cotoneaster, variegated laurel and a cedar bush, which should give you some idea of  the size of the tree. In the bed in front are from the left, pittosporum, phormium, Prunus Ko jo no mai and a tree heath.

We might not have many flowers out in November but we have certainly not been short of colour. I have been adding plants over the years that have autumn colour as well as interest earlier in the year and now that they are growing larger, we are getting the benefit. I think I can now say that November is a wonderfully colourful month just from the foliage and I will never think of it as being dull and dreary ever again!

Thanks must go to Christina at for hosting Garden Bloggers Foliage Day, do pop over to her site to see all the other foliage from round the world.

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22 Responses to The last of foliage colour for GBFD.

  1. Cathy says:

    One of the good things about this post, Pauline, was that it gave a clearer idea of the structure of your garden as it became more skeletal. As you said, what a difference a day or two can make at this time of year. Your acers are an absolute delight, of course – the colours are wonderful! How is your shoulder now, by the way, and any news on your cataract operation?

    • Pauline says:

      Yes Cathy, winter is the time when you see if there is enough structure in the garden. When planting, I have tried to plant 1/3 evergreens so that there is something to look at and to form shelter belts for my plants. Where we live can be very windy when the wind comes whipping across the fields, as it is at the moment! So much flooding around us, roads as well as railway lines, thank goodness we live on a little hill.
      My shoulder is coming on very well thank you, the physio is very pleased with me but says that I musn’t overdo it trying to get back gardening and carving ! The eye is looking good, apparently they were worried about glaucoma, but think it was increased fluid following the shoulder op, will see the surgeon in the beginning of December and shouldn’t be long to wait after that!!

  2. You do have a lovely range of fall foliage plants Pauline! I have one Acer which did not fair well over the last winter. Literally half the tree perished (all on one side) and I haven’t been able to decide how to prune it so it does not look completely ridiculous. I must figure something out. I can see from your pictures that it holds great promise for future fall color. I especially love the golden yellow one that you have.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Jennifer, as you’ve probably guessed, I love Acers too! Die back can be a problem with them when a shoot just dies for no apparent reason, I just prune them away and so far, other shoots have taken over. Maybe your tree was in the path of an ice cold wind for a bit which caused it to die, is it exposed where you have it? Hope it survives and grows nice and tall for you!

  3. Jason says:

    Lovely collection of Acers, and I love the grassy path in the first picture.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Jason. When we moved here the whole garden was grass, it had been part of the field next door. As the years went by, I carved more and more of it away to make flower borders, what you see is what is left!

  4. I love trees, and you have a wonderful collection of them, with glorious autumn colour as a result. Fabulous.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Janet, trees are very special to us too and anything new these days is chosen to have autumn interest as well as another season of interest.

  5. Pauline I’m pleased to read your shoulder is mending nicely and as the doctor says don’t over do it too soon, wishing you well with your appointment next month.

    some beautiful foliage colour and I like the way the colours and texture mix with the evergreen plants as well, when I lived down south in a clay area a friend had a beautiful beech hedge in her garden, I think some of the people who write books don’t know what they are talking about, imho, in the long shot photo of lights in your wood I love the way the horizontal acer echos the arch, Frances

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Frances for your good wishes.
      I think evergreens are essential to contrast with the autumn colours, I learnt that from one of my many visits to Westonbirt Arboretum where they showed them off beautifully.

  6. Anna says:

    Some really glorious autumn colour Pauline – you are spoilt for choice. That looks like a serious trail of leaves along your lawn but what wonderful leaf mould it will make – your snowdrops will sing out their thanks. Hope that you are keeping safe, warm and cosy – some absolutely dire weather in your neck of the woods 🙁

    • Pauline says:

      Anna, as fast as my husband was sweeping up the leaves, more were coming down, by the next day you could hardly see any green for the lawn! I’m very warm and cosy thanks, but feel so sorry for the people round about who are flooded once more. Exeter is now cut off as far as trains are concerned as the line has been washed away a bit further north. Our son and dil are coming by train tomorrow, hope they arrive safely, probably by bus from Taunton. We heard last night on the news that a huge grass bank has fallen and blocked one of the roads into Exeter and people have had to leave their houses as they aren’t safe any more. I think the whole of the west coast has had it pretty bad, are we just going to have to get used to this sort of weather?!

  7. That is so true re beech not knowing that it shouldn’t like clay. We have a huge beech hedge at the Priory and I often think why didn’t ‘they’ grow hornbeam instead. It would’ve been much happier with wet feet. But the beech is surprisingly happy and so am I – I’ve planted more! Dave

    • Pauline says:

      We have 2 short runs of beech Dave, and they are both very happy, maybe the books have it all wrong after all! Your huge hedge must have been a wonderful colour for the last few weeks.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    You live in your very own arboretum Pauline. Wonderful specimens and so lovely.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you PBM, you are too kind! Would love my own arboretum, that would be fantastic, there are times when I cast covetous looks over the fence to the farmers field next door!!

  9. Those are very lovely views of the garden. With those tall trees behind, and the variety of shrubs and smaller trees in front, it creates a wonderful kaleidoscope of colour, shape and texture. The Osakazuki is glowing so much that it appears to be lit from within in the first two shots. That’s a scenic composition from your upstairs window towards the arbour, with lots of interest in all of the different leaves.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you so much Northern Shade, we love our huge trees, they were one of the main reasons we bought the property 22 yrs ago.It was the low November sunshine lighting up the Osakazuki in the first couple of photos. All the leaves have now fallen except for the oak trees, it was lovely while they lasted, but now I’m thinking – only 6 weeks to snowdrop time !!

  10. Carolyn says:

    Great overview of your garden. I have never found that leaves, no matter what kind, bother my snowdrops. They pop through the huge thick leaves of London plane tree with no problem. There is no question of me removing them because the snowdrops cover my whole property.

    • Pauline says:

      From past experience Carolyn, we have found that the leaves rise up on top of the snowdrops. One year, when I didn’t rake them up, I wondered where they had all gone, when I looked, there they were with the leaves on top. The leaves are raked into a corner to rot down and the leaf mould is put back a year later, a nuisance I know but necessary if I want to see my snowdrops!

  11. debsgarden says:

    I love the view from your balcony! You have such wonderful fall foliage, and I particularly like how the variegated and blue toned shrubs contrast with the fall colors. I have been out of town the past few days and arrived home today to enormous piles of dried leaves covering everything. We have many oaks. Some don’t lose their leaves till spring, so it seems we really are never done with raking .

    • Pauline says:

      Deb, I keep telling myself that raking leaves is good for the waistline!! We have had such dreadful weather since writing this post that there are hardly any leaves left now, all the west side of the country is flooded and now the rain is moving NE. We’re supposed to have a dry week after today, so maybe we will be able to get some tidying done from tomorrow onwards.

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