Batsford Arboretum enjoys best autumn colour for 30 years

Batsford Arboretum has defied received horticultural wisdom and produced the best autumn colour in three decades.

Trees have burst into vibrant colours at the arboretum
Trees have burst into vibrant colours at the arboretum

The weather at the Cotswolds arboretum this summer has been cool and cloudy rather than warm and sunny, the conditions normally associated with good autumn colour.

The 23 hectare site near Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire has a significant collection of Japanese maples, as well as collections of Sorbus, Euonymus and cherries which produce an impressive annual autumnal display of reds, oranges and yellows.

But this year has surpassed expectations, according to director of operations Stuart Priest.

"In the almost 40 years I’ve worked in horticulture, I’ve always been told that warm sunny days and cold nights, with no wind or rain, produces the best autumn colour," he said.

"However, we certainly haven’t had consistently warm sunny days recently. Instead, we’ve had mainly cool, cloudy days and cool, frost-free nights with hardly any rain or wind and very dry ground. Perhaps this is the winning formula for fantastic autumn colour?

"The arboretum always colours well, but this year I’ve noticed certain individual trees that are looking beyond spectacular with intensely bright colour."

If the current weather conditions continue, it is hoped that visitors to Batsford may enjoy beautiful autumn colour until mid-November.

Batsford was established by Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford in the late 1800’s. Today, it’s managed by the Batsford Foundation – a charity set up by the 2nd Lord Dulverton in 1983 to promote education, conservation and research into gardens, arboreta and historic landscapes. The arboretum has since added a visitor centre, garden centre, gift shop and café.


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