Arbitrary autumnal foliage

Ever wondered why some years your garden triumphs with autumnal displays and other years seems to lack lustre? Well just like us plants are susceptible to the changing moods the weather can bring too.
 
The science behind it is quite simple...chlorophyll makes leaves green, in summer chlorophyll production is high but as the weather begins to change and days become shorter chlorophyll production slows down and gives other pigments a chance to take centre stage.
 
The two major players here are:
 
Carotenoids - orange, yellow and browns
Anthocyanin's - striking reds
 
Carotenoids are always present in the leaf but usually take a back seat to the more prominent Chlorophyll, because of this their appearance at the start of autumn comes as no surprise. Things start to get interesting when it comes to Anthocyanin's, however. These resplendent red colours are created as a direct response to light, temperature and water supply.
 
Enough of the science anyway, I know we're all on the edge of our seats wanting to know what concoction leads to the most spectacular autumnal palettes?
 
Well, according to the Forestry Service, 'a succession of warm sunny days and cool crisp, but not freezing, nights'
 
So here's to hopefully some mild sunny autumn days ahead and some dazzling displays of red to compliment it!
 
To celebrate this time of year and gearing up ready for The Royal Horticultural Society 'Shades of Autumn Show' this month, we've complied a specially selected plant list to boost your living wall into the new season with colour and texture so stay tuned!
 
Photos: Andrew Goldsworthy
 

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