Autumn Beauties – Kevin Hobbs (an experienced horticulturalist)

In his introduction Kevin said that heavy pruning, widely practised, is not advisable, as it can remove elements that contribute to the subsequent development of plants. Grass heads, as well as looking spectacular, provide food for insects and birds, and leaves can protect plants from the ravages of climate.

The glorious colours of Autumn were shown in many slides of trees, shrubs and flowers, in no particular order. Trees:- Acer (maple), many forms eg Field Maple. A. japonicun (Full-moon maple.) Japanese maple A. rubrum (red Maple) A. palmatum. A. Dissectum. A. Hatsuyuki. A. saccharum (sugar maple for maple syrup). Many acers produce their best Autumn colour on neutral to acid soil. They can be potted in containers. Kevin advises after 2 or 3 years take out the plant in February, and cut off a third of the roots, pot and feed in April. Prune when the sap is rising ie when the buds re plumping. A reminder to sterilize secateurs!

Flowers: Autumn – flowering anemones – Japanese anemones – “September Charm”. Asters (Michaelmas daises}. Later Summer perennials can benefit from “The Chelsea Chop”. Phlox paniculata. Large – flowered Sedums. Cercidiphyllum japonicum is a tree with spectacular Autumn colour and a sweet, sugary scent. Juglans (Walnut). Kevin reminded us that there are dwarf alternatives to most trees eg Dwarf Conifers. Other shrubs and flowers: Cotoneaster, many varieties, red berries. Caryopteris, {Heavenly Blue). Plumbago auriculata flowers from Summer to early Winter (climber). Callicarpa “Profusion”.Autumn Crocus – Colchicum (plant between other plants for support. Cornus (dogwood} – colourful stems. Many forms – C. kousa, C. alba, C. Sibirica. Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana.) Cyclamen – C. hederifolium. Dahlias – plant in free-draining soil; buy tubers and plant at bottom of Philadelphus.

Euonymus “Red Cascade”. Fraximus (Ash) “Raywood – reddish – purple leaflets, F. Pennsylvanica – yellow leaves in Autumn. Hardy Fuchsias and Pentstsemons. Grasses. Ginkgo Biloba. Hawthorn (Acer crataegfolium) – orange foliage in Autumn. Hamamelis (Witch Hazel) Autumn colour. Climbers – Potentilla crantzii – Cinquefoil, Alpine – Virginia Creeper. Parthenocissus quinquefolia – crimson in Autumn, – five – leaved ivy (Vitis).

Kevin noted that some trees and plants bear fruits in other countries; some do here, and that this hot Summer has encouraged the growth of fruits in this country. Ginkgo Biloba: after Hiroshima, where there was total devastation, a Ginkgo was found, still alive. It was subsequently called “The Bearer of Hope.”