As we progress further into Autumn, I always love to see the changing colours on the trees. The bright greens of Spring and Summer give way to beautiful reds, oranges and yellows. This year is going to be an exceptional one for the Holly berries....the trees are absolutely covered with them. Many quote the old wive's saying....'Oooh, that means we'll have a hard winter!' Absolute poppycock!...how does the tree know this? What it actually means is that we had a mild Spring earlier in the year, with plenty of insects about to pollinate the Holly flowers, and no sharp frosts to burn the developing berries off, which is what happens in years when there are no berries the following winter. Several other trees are showing a similar trait, with the Yews and Hawthorns groaning under the weight of a bumper berry harvest.
Some of the beautiful trees on the estate in their Autumn colours.
Japanese 'cut leaf' maple (Acer palmatum 'Dissectum')
The Honey Locust tree (Gleditsia triacanthos 'Sunburst') That's a Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the background.
Liquidambar (Liquidambar styraciflua)
The following are some of the exceptional berry crops this year....
Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium)..I've never seen so many berries, in such thick clusters as these..and all the holly trees on the estate are like this...
Yew (Taxus baccata) The Yew berry is known as an 'aril'...it's a fleshy, protective coat surrounding the single seed.
Hawthorn (Crataegus persimilis) This is a cultivated Hawthorn, and not the common one found in hedgerows (C. monogyna). The branches on this tree are actually drooping under the weight of all the berries.In about 3 weeks, I'm going to have to rake them all up, as they'll all drop to the ground!