Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’
I sense a whiff of eastern exoticism about this small tree, spectacular in its autumn foliage, which turns gradually to orange, presenting bright crimson before falling. At once, the tree is left naked, but for the brilliant red fruits which adorn the boughs, like a blushing Salome resplendent in nought but jewels. Earliest cultivation can be traced back to the 18th century when it occurred as a hybrid of two North American species. A beautiful small tree, but with significant thorns, so position it with care. This is an RHS Award of Garden Merit plant.
HEIGHT/SPREAD 6m x 4-5m.
ORIGINS North American parentage.
SOIL Most fertile garden loam.
SEASON Flowers from May to June, with fruits from September to November.
The other eight plants chosen by Chris this months are:
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’
Ageratina altissima ‘Braunlaub’
Miscanthus sinensis ‘Krater’
Malus x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’
Aster cordifolius ‘Elegans’
• You can find out more about these plants in the October issue of the magazine - issue 190
Chris suggests places to visit to delight in the glories of early autumn:
Great Fosters in Surrey began life as a royal hunting lodge in 1550. Now it is a luxury hotel set in 50 acres of gardens and parkland forming a glorious marriage of ancient and modern. Over the past century, the gardens have been restored, extended and enhanced by various skilled practitioners. A recent and exciting addition is the sensuously curved grass amphitheatre, designed by the landscape architect Kim Wilkie. Set as the focal point at the end of a Lime Avenue, its simplicity of form and balance of scale are brilliant. Non-resident guests are able to book afternoon tea at the hotel.
Great Fosters, Stroude Road, Egham, Surrey TW20 9UR.
Tel 01784 433822,
The magnificent walled estate at Buscot Park (20 miles southwest of Oxford) incorporates a Grade II-listed historic park and garden with a beautiful water garden by Harold Peto, set within a wooded glade. More recently, the walled kitchen garden was given a contemporary twist by garden designer Tim Rees including a new pleached avenue of Ostrya carpinifolia (hop hornbeam) and a tunnel of Cercis siliquastrum (Judas tree). It is a fine example of a gracious family garden, lived in and currently administered by Lord Faringdon on behalf of the National Trust. See website for opening times.
Buscot Park, Faringdon, SN7 8BU.
Tel 01367 240786,
On a more intimate scale, I never tire of visiting local woodland for an autumn walk. Planning a visit has become easier with the new website www.visitwoods.org.uk, which tailors suggested places to your specified postcode, access requirements and particular likes. The website features woods owned by a range of trusts and charities and aims to ensure that families spend more time enjoying them.