Adding autumnal colour to Christchurch Park, Ipswich

Thursday, 27 October 2016  |  Admin

If asked to describe their favourite aspect of autumn, most people are likely to refer to the striking colours of trees. The oranges, yellows and reds can look stunning in the soft autumn light, and look no better than after a shower when the air clears and the leaves have a coating of fresh rain water.

As part of Botanica’s work to support natural heritage projects, we have been delighted to add to the colours in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park this autumn. Earlier in the year we donated a variety of trees in its famous arboretum, which will add to the autumnal display for many autumns to come.

For those who don’t know it, the arboretum in Christchurch Park runs alongside its border with Henley Road. It contains a collection of interesting and unusual trees and was first opened to the public in 1853. Among its more striking specimens are a number of Atlas and Deodar Cedars, Monkey Puzzles (Chile pines) and Giant and Coast Redwoods.

We worked closely with David Miller, Chairman of the Friends of Christchurch Park and Steve Leech, Ipswich Borough Council’s Tree Inspector. We wanted to follow the spirit of the Victorians who first established arboreta in the country and have provided some trees, which are of real interest. Not only are they rare, but they look great and can’t be found in most gardens.

We very much hope James Allen Ransome, who first came up with the idea of an arboretum back in 1847, would approve of the selection.

Among the trees we donated are Picrasma quassiodes – a small growing tree known for its brilliant orange and scarlet autumn leaf colour; ‘The Japanese Pagoda Tree’ (Sophora tetraptera) known for its delicate ferny foliage and creamy white pea like flowers in late summer; Magnolia obovata – a rare magnolia introduced from Japan around 1880 making a medium sized tree with huge leaves and creamy white highly fragrant flowers and striking seed pods in the autumn; Quercus acutissima – ‘The Sawtooth Oak’ a medium sized oak with unusual sweet chestnut like bright green shiny leaves.

Other trees planted that offer a dazzling display in the autumn include Cercidiphyllum japonicum, Morus rubra and Nyssa sylvatica. In total we donated some twenty rare and unusual trees and hope to donate more trees in the next few years.

Full details and planting locations of our trees can be seen in David Miller’s New Trees and Shrubs Guide and is available at the Reg Driver Visitor Centre, Christchurch Park.