Grip of glorious autumn

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AUTUMN, glorious autumn. After a miserable summer this is shaping to be a perfect autumn.

I always prefer autumn to spring; certainly, the weather is more predictable. Each year I make the following recommendation – head to the top of Mount Ainslie early in the morning, just as the mist is rising from the lake. The view over the city with a kaleidoscope of the autumn colour is nothing short of magical.

The mixture of exotic trees combined with the evergreens of our native trees and the varying shades of green and yellow of conifers complete this picture. Artists are in their glory with such a scene.

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NOW is the time to visit your local garden centre and select trees for autumn colour.

I advise this as not all trees of the same variety have the same autumn leaf colour, which can vary depending if they are seed or cutting grown.

Any plant grown from seed can vary enormously, whereas if propagated from cuttings, in effect, one is cloning from the parent plant. This results in the tree, leaf shape and colour being exactly the same as the parent plant. For instance, acorns abound and from oak trees will readily grow, but with quite distinct variations. Many maples, especially the common Acer palmatum or Japanese maple are often seed grown.

 

KEEP in mind with all tree planting to provide sufficient space for them to grow.

In the newer suburbs, one does not have to contend with overhead power lines. In the older suburbs, in most cases, only shrubs can be grown under power lines rather than trees, of which the branches must be kept a minimum of 1.5m away from the lines.

Often I see where folk have cut back exactly the 1.5m, not allowing for growth over the following few years. It can be very expensive to bring in tree surgeons to do this regulatory pruning.

Do not attempt this yourself as any pruning near power lines can be hazardous or outright dangerous. Tree surgeons performing this work must be accredited by ActewAGL and, most importantly have full insurance cover. I would recommend that at least 2-2.5m clearance is advisable from power lines. Naturally one needs to be aware of underground gas, water, phone and sewer lines when planting trees.

 

I HAVE provided here a few wonderful images of leaf colour. Some people complain that the colour is for such a short time. However, keep in mind the same applies for flowers, especially blossom trees, of which the flowers can all be gone with a big wind or rain storm. The trees of which the leaves hang on the longest are Manchurian pears, with their numerous varieties. These range from the wide spreading Pyrus calleryana “Bradford”, examples can be seen alongside the lake at the back of the National Library and High Court These have a spread of at least 9m and 12m high. Alternatively Pyrus calleryana “Capital” has only a spread of 3m with a height of 11m. I have seen some appalling errors in tree planting and the space allowed in new suburbs such as Crace. On the other hand it will keep the tree surgeons happy for many years to come.

The Friends of The Old Parliament House Gardens AGM on Thursday, May 3 in the Robertson Room of the hall at St John’s Church at 6pm. All rose lovers welcome and this AGM all positions have been filled, so no need to worry you may be asked to be on the committee. Hear about all the events for the coming year.

Autumn time is planting time:

• Buy potted Nerine Bowdenii in flower for planting after flowering

• Harvest remaining pumpkins and squash before frosts arrive

• Turf lawns can be laid at this time, not needing as much water for the roots to get established as in spring and summer

• Pick the last of the apples before frosts

• Plant strawberry plants making sure they are virus free certified

• Lift and divide rhubarb crowns

• If you have a pond cover with nylon or other mesh to stop falling autumn leaves souring the water

 

 

 

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Cedric Bryant
Trained horticulturist and garden designer with over 30 years experience in the industry.

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