Richard Kernick shows us what's looking good in the Bonsai House - and what we still have to look forward to.
As you can see from this selection of photos, autumn colour is starting to appear in the Bonsai House - and it's going to get even more colourful!
Front: Acer palmatum, now nearly 100 years old; Centre: Gingko biloba, about 30 years old; Back (not showing autumn colour!): Juniperus chinensis, approx. 80 years old.
The Ginkgo biloba bonsai tree has not been in the collection at Kew for very long. I only noticed this year that the yellow autumn colouring starts in the middle of the leaves and spreads out towards the stems and leaf-tips.
Gingko biloba leaves starting to show autumn colour.
The Acer buergerianum is starting to show autumn colour. With luck the leaves will soon be a stunning fiery red that it has displayed in previous years (image, below right)
Acer buergerianum as it looks now (left) and how it looked at its peak last year (right)
Zelkovas seem to vary greatly in their autumn colour, with most of the seedlings I have grown displaying yellows and oranges. I wonder if perhaps this tree was specially selected many years ago by a Japanese nurseryman for its distinctive red colouring?
Beautiful red foliage of a Zelkova serrata.
Behind-the-scenes, many of our Acer palmatum show a variety of seasonal colour. Most of these trees were grown from seed collected in Japan over 40 years ago, and show the variations in leaf colour that occurs when trees are grown from seed.
- Richard -
About Richard Kernick
Richard Kernick is the Bonsai specialist at Kew Gardens. He has worked at Kew since 2004, caring for and improving the bonsai collection while also working part time for the Alpine unit, helping to maintain their collection of woodland plants.
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