One of our most popular autumnal attractions is coming into its own right now. On Seven Acres, you can't miss the broadly conical tupelo tree Nyssa sylvatica 'Wisley Bonfire'. In October it reliably shows spectacular autumn colour for a short period of time, and draws many visitors to that part of the garden.
Nyssa sylvatica has a wide distribution range in the south eastern USA, and a variable gene pool. When trees are raised from seed this variation is clear to see, especially in leaf size and habit. Our 'Wisley Bonfire', about 60 years old, is noted to be distinct because of its conical shape, which is why it was identified with a clonal name in 1998. We propagated from this tree and now have five young ones planted on the round pond island on Seven Acres, looking lovely with the autumn sun shining though them. It's also available to buy for your garden in the Wisley Plant Centre (please phone to check availability 01483 211113).
Over the years I've noticed how the final colour changes with the season. This year the tree is more or less back on track, but in the last few years it has been late to turn. It usually turns yellow first, then orange and finally red. Today it is orange, but we'll have to wait and see if it changes to red in the next few days. Watch this space…….!