Planting trees for Autumn colour.


This is the ideal time of year to be planting trees: the ground’s still warm from the summer, there’s regular rainfall to help water them in, but best of all, there’s inspiration all around – just take a moment to look at the trees near you and appreciate what they do at this time of year!


We were approached recently by some friends who want to plant a hedge around the boundary of their garden and have fallen in love with Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’. They wanted us to recommend a tree to plant in the centre of the lawn which would compliment the colours of the hedge and be a bit of a statement tree.

This seemingly simple request has caused us to spend days discussing our favourite trees for autumn colour, as well as trying to take into account suitability for a relatively small 1950’s front garden and the fact that they’d like a clear stem so that they can have a circular bench around the tree once it gets big enough!

Once we’d come up with a short-list we thought the best idea would be to go to a nursery and have a look at some trees. This wasn’t as helpful as we’d hoped, as they only had very young trees in pots and it’s quite difficult to describe the mature size and shape to non ‘tree’ people! So we decided to take them to an Arboretum so that they could see mature trees…

What a thoroughly lovely way to spend an hour or two…late afternoon sunshine, strolling around with the dogs, surrounded by birdsong and trees, trees, trees! It also helped that the Arboretum we visited is literally next door to a wonderful pub!

If you’re thinking of planting a tree, visit an Arboretum first, see them in all their glory, look at the leaf shape and colour, feel the bark, understand the final height and width. I guarantee you won’t regret it – you’ll see trees you’d not heard of or thought of instead of the fairly limited selection available at your local garden centre.

We visited The Quinta Arboretum at Swettenham, near Congleton in Cheshire. Click on the following link for more information: The Lovel Quinta Arboretum

If Congleton’s not near you, there are other Arboreta such as Westonbirt in Gloucestershire or The National Memorial Arboretum in south Staffordshire, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire if you’re in the south, or all the way up in Argyll & Bute there’s the wonderful Benmore Botannic Garden.

Do yourself a favour and go visit an Arboretum this autumn. If you then get an urge to plant a tree, an avenue, or even an Arboretum of your own and you want us to help with either advice or even the planting, get in touch with us: Talk to us



A group of Euonymus in the evening sunshine at The Lovell Quinta Arboretum.


Dogs on leads are usually welcome in Arboretums – but check first!


Acer griseum made the final list!



Parrotia persica ‘Vanessa’ is also in the running!


Acer griseum has beautiful copper coloured stems.


Parrotia persica flowers on bare stems