There are many trees and plants which produce a mass of colour in the Autumn months throughout Australia. Trees which lose their leaves each year are called deciduous and these are often the tree of choice because they provide shade in summer, but allow for the penetration of the winter sun in the cooler months.
Whole streets in Sydney change colour as a row of Liquidambars turn red before they lose their leaves. Although the fallen leaves make a terrible mess and play havoc with Sydney’s storm water system, the trees are still very much enjoyed and protected. Liquidambars are fast growing and can reach to 30 metres in height. The autumn foliage is spectacular.
The Magnolia sheds its leaves in Autumn in a most unspectacular fashion, however the flowers which follow through the winter months, without a green leaf to give contrast, is a sight to behold. In the case of the Magnolia, Autumn sets the scene for the beauty to come.
The Japanese Maple is another favourite deciduous tree with Aussie gardeners, especially as it is a smaller tree or large bush, with leaves of interesting shapes and varying colours. It is attractive all year round, with a broadly spreading canopy which is rich in colour during Autumn, and produces new leaves and flowers simultaneously in Spring. These maples may vary from upright to weeping, but rarely grow above 10 metres.
For taller deciduous trees, which produce distinct and rich displays of colour in Autumn, and grow well in the cooler areas of Australia, the Claret Ash, Golden Ash, Scarlet Oak, Ginkgo, Chinese Pistachio, Chinese Tallow Tree and Tupelo are favourites. The Flowering Cherry is best known for its Spring display of cherry blossoms, however it also provides a beautiful display of changing colour in Autumn, where it is grown in cool to cold climates.
In NSW, the hotspot for Autumn foliage lovers is the township of Orange, which is dubbed the “colour city” for its spectacular autumn scenery. The road to Orange is lined with golden poplars, and the city is home to many types of Ash, Oak and Maple. Armidale is also known for its Autumn beauty, as is the Blue Mountains. A little further afield (for those in Sydney) is Tumut, which established plantings of Poplar and Elm and provides a most spectacular show of colour in Autumn. The Southern Highlands are also an Autumn lover’s paradise, with a great view from the lookout at the top of Mount Gibraltar.