Currently I’m down in Cork city, and when here I’m trying to absorb as much of the fabulous Horticulture which exists here. The mild climate here, combined with warm soils, allows for many unusual and tender plants to flourish here which our climate in the North West wouldn’t be as hospitable for them.
Also the light levels here during the year are amongst the highest in Ireland and the Autumn colours are amazing, from the grounds of Blarney to Fitzgerald Park, Fota and down through Cobh the colours on the trees have been amazing!
One tree which is standing out here and which also does very well in our own part of the world if the fabulous Sweetgum tree, Liquidambar styraciflua. In the summer months these Sweetgum tree are nice shaped trees, narrow in growth, so ideal for smaller gardens, although listed as being tall growing in our climate they make a nice Medium sized tree – ideally planted as a specimen in the lawn or as a focal point, but I’ve seen them used in Avenues and they work well too, especially in larger sweeping gardens.
Like any plant you grow for autumn foliage the colourful foliage remains as long as the wind and weather plays ball, so in years when the wind howls you’ll have a shorter period to enjoy, but in years like this when all the stars align the colour is fab!
Once the foliage has fallen the stems have a corky nature to them and the stem has nice colouration, both can be admired well up close in smaller gardens.
Although unusual sounding Sweetgum trees are easily sourced in your local garden centre, and don’t be put off if they look a bit ‘twiggy’ when you buy one, once planted the tree quickly establishes and within a few short seasons you’ll have a tree shaping up nicely! Available here from Johnstown Garden Centre.