'Sheffield Park' a blaze of autumn colour

Nyssa sylvatica ''Sheffield Park''. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Nyssa sylvatica ''Sheffield Park''. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
A casual stroll around the botanic garden at this time of year may inspire you to find room in your garden for some special autumn colour.

The autumn display is looking particularly good this season - it's the perfect time to admire deciduous trees at their fiery best.

My favourite autumn tree is normally the American sweet gum, Liquidambar styraciflua.

Its leaves are similar in shape to maple leaf. They shout out with an amazing range of colour from deepest reds and purples, which are almost black, through to oranges and yellow shades. But this year another tree is competing through its fantastic autumn display, Nyssa sylvatica `Sheffield Park'. It is looking spectacular at the moment.

It is planted near the rose garden, but I think everyone is by-passing the roses to look at this tree. With an elegant shape and a glowing autumn colour, combining green leaves and intense reds and oranges, this tree just has everything going for it.

To allow the trees to grow to their full potential, a larger garden is best. I think the Liquidambar may have a rival for my affections now.

Maybe I'll will have to find room in my home garden to add another tree to accent this exciting time of year.

There are a number of Liquidambar and Nyssa species planted in the arboretum at Dunedin Botanic Garden.

Linda Hellyer is curator of the rose garden at at Dunedin Botanic Garden.