The autumn leaves have been exceptional this year. Most striking of all has been the Winter Nellis pear, whose leaves have turned a glowing crimson in the cold snap. The sprawling fig tree, whose yellow leaves fall almost all at once, in one great swoosh that sounds like a landslide, has held its leaves for longer than usual. I wish I had made an ice cream of them before they turned brittle and dry as crispbread.
A recent trip to Norway has brought home the need for more autumn colour in my own garden. Not so much a patchwork of russets and ochres, pleasing though that can be, but one colour in particular. Gold. The trees throughout Oslo and Bergen shone as if illuminated by candlelight, even in the endless, rather beautiful autumn rain. Here and there, a burning bush of scarlet, a dense, patch of deepest green, but wherever I walked, clusters of golden leaved trees shone under the streetlights.
Golden leaves work well in this garden because of the solid black-greens of the ivy clad walls and yew hedges. They shine. So now, I am on the lookout for small trees and bushes suitable to a small urban garden, that will, at the turn of the season, turn to shimmering, burnished gold.