The past few weeks have seen the deciduous trees in the UK change to magnificent autumn colouring. This year the leaves seem to be brighter and more vibrant than for many years - with the exception of the Horse Chestnuts, which appear to have been universally infected with the virus that prematurely destroys their leaves. The usual suspects - beeches and maples are holding up well as we enter the first week of November, and are reaching the peak of their impact - every day is a bonus now, as gusty winds gather strength and are liable to strip trees bare overnight. Beyond the reliable colour of these trees there is the contribution made by numerous others - ornamental and otherwise. Cherries are noticeably more vibrant this year, turning from yellow to orangey-pink, the liquidambars settling to a range of deep reds flushed with purple. In the hedgerows the sloes and other wild varieties of Prunus are bright buttery yellow, their leaves a contrasting scale with the Field maples, which are now uniformly yellow as well, in this locality.
The effect, of course, is enhanced when the possibility arises of seeing sunlight through the foliage, and we have been fortunate to have a few weeks of reasonable light by which to enjoy the show - there has been some sun on most days lately, and relatively calm conditions so far have allowed the leaves to hang rather than be stripped away. The images have been taken at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden Arboretum over the past couple of weeks, and show something of the range of colour we are enjoying this season.