The start of the Autumn Fireworks. GBFD.

No, I don’t mean the things that go bang in the night,  just the beautiful colours that are now being revealed as the green colour in the leaves is turned off and we are able to see all the different underlying colours. The ‘experts’ say that it is warm sunny days and cold nights that trigger this process. We have had some sunny days but I can’t say the nights have been too cold so far.  Everywhere seems to have a golden glow from all the yellow leaves at the moment. We start with the view from inside one of the kitchen windows, nearly all foliage, but I think still interesting.

Kitchen window

Towards field

This is the view from just outside the back door looking towards the field, still just the fuchsia and hydrangea flowering, but plenty of foliage interest.

Front border

The border at the front, which for half the year is the bee and butterfly border, takes on a completely different look at this time of year. The Cornus sibirica Westonbirt bushes which form a backdrop to the summer flowers, now change from dull green to the richest burgundy that absolutely glows in the sunlight.

Cornus westonbirt

The lovely colour in the autumn really is a bonus. The shrubs of Cornus Westonbirt were bought to give interest from November to March with the bright red stems contrasting with the silver birches beside them. We were very surprised and delighted the first year when we the leaves turned such a lovely purple.


It’s even better if you can get behind the shrubs to see the sunlight coming through the leaves, reminds me of a stained glass window.

Cherry tree

Is this a huge Venus fly trap, no, just the cherry tree by the front gate. It’s only when looking at the photos that I noticed the spiky edging, hadn’t seen them when passing nearly every day!

Cherry tree

The lovely colours don’t last very long, the first gale will blow them all away.


More burgundy, this time on a small azalea which we planted about 3 yrs ago, it looks really pretty with the sun shining on it.

Ferns in ditch

Foliage in the ditch now showing their autumn colours, the ferns are gradually fading, becoming more the colour of honey as the days go by.

Bog garden

My favourite fern in the bog garden, Matteuccia struthiopteris, winding down and becoming quite pale before it will eventually collapse in a heap!

Geranium magnificum

Geranium magnificum certainly is magnificum, what a gorgeous colour.

Viburnum plicatum Maresii

Almost brown, the burgundy is so dark on the leaves of Viburnum plicatum Maresii.

Marsh Marigold

Autumn tints have come to the pond area with this Rodgersia, contrasting with all the green around it.

Japanese painted fern

Also contrasting with its neighbours is the Japanese painted fern, but no autumn tints here, this is the colour it has been since it emerged in spring.

Side Border

More dogwoods in the side border by the field are contrasting with the yellow privet and the lovely white bark of Betula utilis jaquemontii.

Acer Sango kaku

Acer Sango kaku has started to change, it will end up pale buttery yellow. The other 2 Acers that we have in the woodland haven’t started to change yet, so they will have to wait for next months foliage day.

Silver Birch

We have completed a circle round the garden and are back to the seedling silver birch by the back door which really glows when the sun is shining.

Silver birch

This tree is one of my favourites in the garden and it was free! It arrived as a seedling and soon grew to its present height. It seeds around like mad, I’m always pulling out its offspring otherwise I would live in a silver birch forest!

Silver birch

This is the birds perching post before coming down to the feeder below, we have been amazed at how many birds rest here to check that the coast is clear and they are safe from the sparrow hawk that whizzes round the house.

The colours of autumn are getting better and better each day, this is one of the reasons that I love living in this country. We usually experience four distinct seasons, this year spring seems to have extended into autumn and almost bypassed summer except for three weeks in September. Hopefully the wonderful colours will last a few more weeks before we are in the grip of winter!              Thanks must go to Christina at My Hesperides Garden for hosting  this Foliage Day once more, do visit to see foliage from round the world at the moment.


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20 Responses to The start of the Autumn Fireworks. GBFD.

  1. Jason says:

    I love the dogwoods and the birch. I have wanted to put a birch in my garden but conditions here are not very conducive. We have lots of dogwoods, though, but their foliage is not as dramatic as yours!

    • Pauline says:

      The dogwood foliage was a surprise to us Jason, a lovely surprise. We have quite a few silver birches, really they prefer drier soil than we have but they seem to be coping well in our wet clay! The front border has more jaquemontii, some ermanii and one papyrifera. We bought the papyrifera to remind us of a holiday in Canada where our friends house in the mountains was in the middle of a papyrifera forest!

  2. wellywoman says:

    Gorgeous tour of your gardens, Pauline. I love birch and still miss the one we had to have removed from our back garden because it had got too big. I used to love staring out on to it whilst washing up. Cornus are another favourite but they really need the winter sun and as my garden descends into winter it gets very little in the way of sun.

    We planted a liquidambar last year and although only a small tree at the moment it is turning a lovely colour.

    • Pauline says:

      Sorry you had to get rid of your silver birch WW, they can grow quite a bit can’t they! Liquidamber have lovely autumn tints, I’m sure your tree will be beautiful when it is a little older, if we didn’t already have so many mature trees, this is one that I would like to have.

  3. You have many lovely trees ans shrubs forming a backdrop for your garden. Your Cornus sibirica has terrific fall colour, and the red stems of dogwood are so decorative in winter. In the backlit shot it has a very fiery glow.

    I like Matteuccia struthiopteris because it grows tall so quickly in spring, but then mine turn brown and collapse in early September, so I had to cut them back a month ago.

    Your Japanese painted fern looks great with the silver and coloured fronds. They are borderline hardy here, and mine died out last winter. I miss their wonderful colour.

    • Pauline says:

      We love the red stems of the Cornus in winter NS, they certainly brighten up the front drive during the winter months. I think from your comments, that you must be colder than we are with your ferns collapsing in September and your Japanese fern not making it through the winter. Such a shame, the silvery colour is so unusual in a fern

  4. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    Lovely photos, I’m surprised there isn’t as much colour down there as there is here yet… Especially with all the flooding in your part of England recently… I guess we must’ve had colder nights!

    Looking forward to having some Dogwood stems soon; my little cutting has put on good growth this year and hopefully next year will get the chance to dazzle me with pretty firey winter colour! 🙂

    Loving your silver birches too; if I had space, I’d love one or two here too.

    • Pauline says:

      Dare I say, I think we need some colder nights Liz ! According to the forecasts cold weather is on the way, so we will have to see what the colours are like at the end of the week. So happy your dogwood cutting is growing, soon to be a bush!!

  5. Cathy says:

    Your dogwood really is lovely – both from a distance, and close up – and will still make a statement when the leaves have gone. I love these Japanese painted ferns and must get some more myself – oh, and your close up of the leaves on your cherry make them look as if they have a border of blanket-stitching round them!! How big is the garden, Pauline, to try and put it all in perspective?

    • Pauline says:

      The size Cathy, is about 2/3rds of an acre, think of a square with a corner cut off, it’s a bit of a funny shape! The Japanese painted ferns look lovely in all the shady places that I have, wouldn’t be without them. Once the leaves have dropped from the dogwoods, they will be the star of the driveway for the next 5 months, not bad!!

  6. magnificent selection of colours, but I’m wondering abut the owl poised in the window? Is he glued on, or suspended?

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Diana, the owl is suspended from the window frame, it was made by a friend from lots of different sorts of glass, had to have it for my owl collection!

  7. Christina says:

    Thanks for joining in GBFD again Pauline. I always think of fireworks when I see the dazzling colours of autumn too. Your garden is looking beautiful in its autumn gown. The Cornus especially is lovely. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      I think the garden is having its final fling Christina, saying ‘look at me, I haven’t finished yet’! Still more to come, some weren’t ready to have their photos taken this time, will have to save them for next month.

  8. Anna says:

    What a glorious view from your kitchen window Pauline. Love your owl. That silver birch looks as if it was planted there – a most considerate seedling. Why can’t they all be as obliging?

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Anna, I have a thing about owls, have quite a collection of them and have painted and carved far too many! We were thrilled when we moved here and found we had a Tawny Owl that comes regularly in the evening and hoots in the old oak. The silver birch was about a foot tall before I noticed it in the middle of the golden bamboo so it was allowed to stay, far easier than trying to get it out!

  9. pbmgarden says:

    Your displays are masterful Pauline. Cornus Westonbirt is gorgeous!

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you so much PBM, we love Westonbirt too! From October to March it is a star, then it takes on a supporting role for the summer, what more could you ask?

  10. Lovely survey of your fall color. We are ahead of you with Sango-kaku starting to loose its leave—one of my favorites for fall.

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