Gardener and garden writer, Charlie Hart
, has written for the Guardian gardening blog and The Telegraph amongst others. Charlie loves Autumn; changing colours, leaves dropping, it is the most photographic of seasons.
CHARLIE'S FAVOURITE INSTAGRAMMERS
This is my favourite time of year. The garden, though still full of the memories of high summer, is preparing to go to bed. The sun is slanting and soft but still warm. Log fires are being lit and just round the corner is the prospect of crisp bright mornings. But the true glory of Autumn must go to the trees.
At home we are lucky to have lots of elm hedge and even one or two fifty foot trees. Elms make the strongest and most brilliant yellow colour of all Autumn leaves, whereas to my mind beech trees give the best burnished orange. Our elms are just on the turn now but of course different trees lose their leaves at different times - for example oaks can be quite late. I can remember oak trees still holding their leaves on Christmas day!
If you only visit an arboretum occasionally, in my opinion this is the season to do it! Here are a few gardens with interesting trees that you might want to visit, or if they are too far from where you live, you can always follow them on Instagram:
I made a pilgrimage to Westonbirt last Autumn and try to do so whenever I am within striking distance. Acers like a protective canopy above them and Westonbirt has provided this using monstrously large larch trees. The combination is splendid to behold but the varying colours of the acers (which move from scarlet, through blood red to a sort of weak tea-cum-cinnamon colour) is an arboreal experience like no other.
Kew barely needs introduction, but what you might not know is that Kew has recently planted the longest herbaceous border in the world. Also, for tree lovers it is possible to get right up into their canopy on the eighteen meter high Treetop Walkway. My wife attempted this despite her vertigo, which frankly I wouldn't recommend if you have it! Not for the fainthearted.
The holm oak is a type of evergreen oak unusual because it doesn't loose its leaves in Autumn. The park at Holkham is absolutely full of wonderful mature specimens. It is an astonishing sight in the depths of winter precisely because the gnarled old beauties are still fully clothed.
In addition to what is possibly the only working, manure-heated pineapple pit in Britain, and an exceptional garden, there is a beguiling woodland walk at The Lost Gardens of Heligan.
An arboretum I am longing to visit but haven't got round to yet is Thorp Perrow in North Yorkshire. It has a much photographed acer walk that I am keen to see up close and personal. Sadly I couldn't find an instagram account for the arboretum but they do tweet.
Whether you are able to visit an arboretum this Autumn or not, I hope you enjoy the fiery and majestic display on offer from our nation's trees. Once the fun is over remember to gather up any leaves in your own garden and make leafmould - the black gold of gardening.