As the leaves turn with the onset of Autumn so does the conversation in the studio to that distinctive feeling of change in the air, practicalities of bareroot season planting and the importance of making time to observe the Autumn colour and key compositions in the garden.
While walking the woods which make up a larger part of the grounds at Bailey Farm the striking paper thin burnt orange bark of an Acer griseum catches in the easterly rays of the setting sun. With the spent tufts of Molinia Caerulea Arundinacea ‘Transparent’ brushing up against the rigid stems of Verbena bonariensis acting as that painterly impressionist haze in the background.
If the plants are the palette landform is the canvas and any considered planting with various layers of colour and form need an appropriate canvas to mingle and interact with. This interplay of planting and landform is well represented in the seasons long shadows. A Betula pendula with its delicate leaves scattering light across the lawn whilst its strong rigid trunk guides the eye along ephemeral vistas, the folds in the land highlighted like a crease in a piece of Japanese origami.
The implementation of a Millennium woodland has meant there are some interesting and slightly less common species that live at Bailey farm. An example being a Hoop ash or Fraxinus nigra which adorns a quiet corner of the woodland, its name derived from its easy to split wood which is traditionally used for basket weaving.
Along side the Franxinus nigra a male Ilex x meserveae acts as a beneficial understory shrub creating a sweet subtle scent in the air but none so sweet as the delicious candy like smell of a near by Cercidiphyllum japonicum which quite literally makes your mouth water.
Autumn is a beautiful time of year in the garden and such a fun time of year to design to. Its brief nature and the bittersweet taste of a summer gone and a long winter on the horizon making it all the more fleeting and special.