Fabulous Autumn Leaves

We asked our Head Gardener Paula to explain why the leaves turn yellow and red in Autumn. Here’s what she said:

‘October brings changes to the garden as deciduous plants respond to the cooler temperatures and shorter days and prepare for leaf fall. The fabulous autumn colours occur as the balance of pigments within the leaves alters. Green chlorophyll is predominant through Spring and Summer helping with the process of photosynthesis, producing sugars to feed the plant, but as the days cool the production of chlorophyll slows and other pigments start to appear.

Carotenoids protect the leaves from sun damage and once chlorophyll is reduced they display the striking yellows and oranges. The firey reds come from anthocyanin, produced from sugars trapped in the leaves as the plant prepares to shed them.

Here in Glasgow we have avoided the drought conditions which have caused premature leaf drop in much of the country so there is still plenty to enjoy; the buttery yellow of the witch hazel and coppery tones of the acers along the white seat border, the drizzle of red spreading through the large leaved glory vine climbing the white wall and the .

Reds are apparently more predominant following a dry, warm and sunny Spring and Summer’.