Trees for Summer Colour

The careful usage and selection of trees with different coloured foliage can add year-round interest and dramatic contrast from dark brooding purples to bright uplifting gold and smooth cool silvers.

With their beautiful deep red and bright yellow summer foliage, firm favourites are Acer platanoides Royal Red, Princeton Gold and Acer campestre Red Shine. These are quick growing, tolerant maples, which are great for summer screening and shade.

The variegated leaf of Acer platanoides Drummondii makes a wonderful contract in a mixed planting scheme. Another great choice is Sorbus aria Lutescens (Whitebeam) with its remarkable silvery leaves.

Fagus sylvatica Purple Fountain looks truly astonishing when its red/purple foliage emerges in the Spring turning purple/green and then bronze and gold in the Autumn. Another notable Beech variety is Fagus sylvatica Dawyck Gold which is a golden-leaved form of the Fastigiate Beech. A fairly large, columnar tree, which looks good from spring right through to autumn.

Many varieties of Japanese maple, Acer palmatum boast deep brownish-red to purple foliage in the spring, summer, and autumn, with large, dissected leaves spreading widely.

Feel free to browse through our stock, we are always happy to talk about our trees. Visits to the nursery are welcome by appointment and are a great way to experience our trees for yourself.


  • "Acer campestre Red Shine is a stunning cultivar that has all of the qualities of its parent, Acer campestre. This cultivar has the significant benefit of producing new growth which is bright crimson, before turning to a deep green as the growing season progresses. This tree is unique in the fact that there are few other trees which offer this extent of foliage interest throughout the growing season. Like its parent, Acer campestre, Red Shine is tolerant of most soil types, although it does do best in rich, well drained soils. As with many of the long introduced trees, it is a tough contender and will tolerate drought, air pollution and soil compaction."
  • "Acer cappadocicum Aureum is a smaller tree than its parent, Acer cappadocicum. This attractive tree flushes a bright yellow in the spring and retains this splendour through to the autumn. It prefers sheltered conditions and is not tolerant to urban pollution. It is particularly effective when planted against an evergreen backdrop as the foliage provides a vivid contrast. Best planted on sites offering good light levels but not in areas with reflected light bouncing off hard surfaces."
  • Acer cappadocicum Rubrum is a medium to large tree with a rounded habit. The young dark red leaves turn green and then back to red, gold and yellow in autumn. This superb autumn colour lasts for many weeks. Doing best on moist, well drained soils, it is adaptable and flourishes in either full sun or light shade. Acer cappadocicum Rubrum is grown best with a little shelter from strong winds. A good tree for avenues and verges as long as the soil doesn't become compacted.
  • "Acer palmatum or Japanese Maple was introduced from its native land to Ireland and the UK in the 1820s. A native of both China and Korea, this magnificent tree can outstrip size expectations if left alone in an area large enough to accommodate. Acer palmatum is a delightful, small tree for a sheltered position such as a courtyard or an urban garden. It has a rounded habit and its deeply lobed leaves turn shades of yellow, red and orange in autumn. They do best in rich, moist, but free draining, loamy soils. It is remarkably self reliant post establishment for seemingly such a dainty tree."
  • "Acer palmatum Atropurpureum, known as Purple Japanese Maple, is a stunning and reliable clone introduced in the late 1850s. Best grown as a low branched bush, it emerges with deeply cut dark purple foliage in spring that turns to crimson in the autumn before leaf fall. Acer palmatum Atropurpureum thrives best on fertile, free draining soils in sheltered positions away from desiccating winds and scorching sun. Dark leaved trees provide wonderful contrast within a garden as its colour draws our eyes from the onset. With this in mind it is always good to plant on the extremity of the garden to focus the view through the plants."
  • Acer platanoides Crimson King is a large and very impressive tree with a well rounded form. It looks good from spring through to autumn as its red foliage turns gradually to maroon. A seedling of Schwedleri, it was raised in Belgium in the 1930s. Acer platanoides Crimson King does well on most soil types, tolerates air pollution and resists drought. The yellow flowers contrast impressively against the dark emerging spring foliage. A tougher and quicker prospect than Purple Beech, this can be planted on the boundary of a site to draw the eye through the landscape. Dark leaved trees can be superb for defining the overall effect of the landscape but only if used sparingly.
  • "Acer platanoides Deborah is another seedling form Schwedleri which is a fast growing tree from Canada and makes a large tree with a rounded form. Introduced in the 1970s, the spring leaves are bright red, gradually turning to dark green. When the second flush appears there is a superb contrast between the red and the green foliage together. It does well on most soil types, tolerates air pollution and resists drought. The leaves have a distinctive wavy margin and colour to a rich orange/yellow in the autumn. Most suitable for parks, verges and large gardens. Its newly emerging flush of spring red leaves are particularly effective against the profuse yellow flowers that are borne in April."
  • "Acer platanoides Drummondii is in cultivation since 1903 and this form produces magnificently variegated foliage which has a wide, creamy white margin. It is widely known in North America as the Harlequin Maple and is a medium to large tree with a rounded form. Acer platanoides Drummondii does well on most soil types, tolerates air pollution and resists drought. It is most impressive in the spring when the vegetation is at its most vivid but summer winds can bruise the leaf margins of young trees which then scorch brown. This however is only superficial and does not affect its performance the following year. This clone can provide vivid contract within a garden, particularly against a dark evergreen backdrop so take care to place this tree as the results can be very rewarding."
  • "Acer platanoides Fairview is derived from a seedling of Crimson King. It thrives on poor urban soils and maintains an upright oval habit and at maturity its dimensions are approximately 15 meters tall with a diameter of 12 meters, making it a very useful urban tree. Boasting reddish purple foliage in the spring, Acer platanoides Fairview hardens to a deep bronze by late summer. It bears green/yellow flowers from April onwards that are a lovely contrast with the dark leaves as they first emerge. This is one of the narrowest upright dark leaved Norway Maples."
  • "Acer platanoides Princeton Gold is a sparkling golden leaved cultivar of the Norway Maple, Acer platanoides. Like the species, this tree has discrete yellow flowers that appear in spring, however they are a little lost against the stunning emerging spring foliage which is a sunny and bright golden yellow. As the summer progresses the foliage slowly changes in colour, ending predominantly green. This medium sized golden maple tree produces an oval crown and is best suited to planting schemes where contrast features heavily. It is particularly effective when planted with a deep green or red foliaged opposite."
  • "Acer platanoides Royal Red like many acer species has discrete yellow flowers that appear in spring and contrast fantastically with the dark purple foliage which gradually turns orange and yellow in the autumn time. Acer platanoides Royal Red is a vigorous tree that tolerates most soil types, air pollution and resists the perils of drought. As a young tree Acer platanoides Royal Red is conical in shape before developing into a more broadly oval crown. This large maple tree makes a super choice for avenue planting and should be planted at a minimum of 10m centres as the large and dark leaves have the potential to gobble up light, creating a sombre environment below the canopy. It is therefore far better to give this tree space to use the accessible light to explode the beauty in its dark foliage. Interestingly, the dark foliage contrasts well in an avenue with a green leaved form such as Acer platanoides Emerald Queen or a yellow version such as Acer platanoides Princeton Gold and can be extremely effective planted alternately to accentuate the vivid colours. Dark colours are a useful in making a statement in the landscape, as contrasting colours tend to draw attention. To get the best out of a landscape, it is advisable to situate deep or dark colours towards the edge, rather than a front of a scheme."
  • "Commonly known as the Golden Sycamore, Acer psuedoplatatanus Worleii has foliage rivalling that of the Norway Maple, Acer platanoides Princeton Gold, although is a much better selection for exposed sites. The leaves are primrose yellow as they open, darkening to gold before turning green later in the summer, and finally yellow once more in the autumn. A most elegant, medium sized tree. It tolerates air pollution and thrives in most soils, and is particularly useful for coastal sites where it can make an effective defence against strong winds and salt-laden air."
  • "Small but broad tree with a broad, virtually round crown. The leaves are 3-lobed, the middle lobe being significantly longer than the two side lobes. The leaves are bright green, turning yellowy orange to bright red in autumn. The fruits also turn bright red for several weeks as they ripen. This happens before the leaves change colour in autumn, so that the red fruits stand out attractively. Both the fruit and the autumn coloration benefit from a sunny location. A very hardy plant that flourishes on almost any soil type and is highly resistant to air pollution, drought and road salt."
  • "Cedrus atlantica Glauca is an impressive and dramatic blue variety of Cedrus atlantica. This tree has silvery blue foliage that is a little sparsely furnished when the tree is young, yet forms an impressive and expansive tree when mature. Cedrus atlantica Glauca forms an extremely large tree at maturity, with wide branching structures that reach impressively out from the centre of the tree. It thrives on most soils providing the planting area does not get water logged. Like its parent, this large tree is an imposing specimen and is included by many in a classical parkland selection."
  • "Known commonly as Chinese Redbud, this hardy plant is fine on free draining soils but is not recommended in exposed areas. Dark pink buds litter the branch and stem network in the late spring to erupt into flower by May. Cercis Chinensis Avondale certainly is a show stopper and great for south facing gardens."
  • "Corylus maxima Purpurea ia a very small upright tree or large shrub producing purple-tinged catkins in late winter, followed by deep purple, heart-shaped foliage in summer with curious and striking purple tinged fruit husks in late summer which ripen to edible hazelnuts by autumn. Ideal for chalky soils or sunny gardens with limited space; exposed or sheltered. Very hardy."
  • "Fagus sylvatica Atropurpurea (Purple Beech) is a superb tree for creating contrast in a parkland or large gardens as the darkness of the foliage draws the eye through the landscape. Being a cultivar, Fagus sylvatica Atropurpurea has a much deeper leaf and is a tree of great beauty and majesty. It makes a magnificent subject planted as a specimen in parks and large estates. Beech thrives just about anywhere other than exposed and coastal locations. As it is shallow rooted, under planting is not recommended. It does well in most reasonably fertile, well drained soil, except heavy clay or light sand."
  • "Fagus sylvatica Black Swan as a beautiful purple weeper has cascading branches clothed with good sized dark purple foliage throughout the late spring and summer. Similar to another clone called Purple Fountain, Fagus sylvatica Black Swan has larger leaves and is more regular in its habit. Like all Fagus, a free draining loaming soil gives best results and the domed architectural shape of this tree at maturity is great tree to see in a garden. There aren’t many purple weeping trees on the market and we rate this one to be the best. Fagus sylvatica Black Swan is a great tree for providing contrast against a lighter background but take care to plant on the extremity of your garden as dark foliage draws the eye so if it is at the forefront of your planting mix you won’t readily notice what lies behind it."
  • "Fagus sylvatica Dawyck Gold is a golden-leaved form of the Fastigiate Beech. A fairly large, columnar tree, which looks good from spring right through to autumn. In spring the leaves are golden yellow, turning pale green in summer before reverting to a golden yellow in autumn. It looks especially attractive planted planted against a dark background and is good as a specimen in parks and as a verge tree. Beech thrives just about anywhere other than exposed and coastal locations. As it is shallow rooted, under planting is not recommended. Doing well in most reasonably fertile, well drained soils, Fagus sylvatica Dawyck Gold will not thrive in heavy clay or light sand."
  • "Fagus sylvatica Dawyck Purple is a fastigiate beech with stunning dark foliage. It is a little narrower than Dawyck Gold but not quite as dense. It makes a splendid tree for parks and verges and has striking, deep purple foliage."
  • "Fagus sylvatica Purple Fountain looks truly astonishing when its red/purple foliage emerging in the Spring turning purple/green and then bronze and gold in the Autumn. The pendulous branches clothed in purple sweep down from the central leader some reaching the ground. It can tolerate exposed sites and suits most soil types but avoid very wet positions. It is a fantastic tree for parklands and large gardens."
  • "Fagus sylvatica Riversii as a cultivar is part of the Purpurea Group (the purple leaved beeches), was selected by Rivers in 1900 for its extraordinarily attractive dark purple foliage. It is considered to be the best at retaining its colour throughout the season. Autumn tones are red and golden. A shallow rooting tree. Special Note: purple forms of beech tend to vary in colour intensity. Personal selection of specimen is recommended to ensure desired colour. Plant in full sun to promote intensity of purple colour. Excellent on calcareous soils."
  • "Fagus sylvatica Rohanii forms a large pyramidal tree at maturity which is perfect for parks, estates and open spaces. Like all Beech this cultivar does well in most reasonably fertile, well drained soils, it will not thrive in heavy clay or light sand and should not be planted in exposed or coastal locations. The foliage very stricking, deep purple in colour with a wavy margin to it. Like all dark purple leaved trees Fagus sylvatica Rohanii is best planted towards the back of a scheme, as these colours tend to draw focus away from anything that may sit behind."
  • "Fagus sylvatica Tricolor is an extremely attractive cultivar with a broadly round, slightly weeping habit and striking variegated purple leaves. In spring time, as the new leaves unfold, the tree projects a rose-like colour. Over summer the colour may change to purple-green with a white margin. Bronze-gold autumn tones. Prefers partial shade. Hardy. A shallow rooting habit."
  • "Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip Tree) is a large and fast growing tree with a broad, pyramidal crown. The tulip shaped flowers, which appear only on older trees, are produced in June and July and are yellow-green with a band of orange at the base. Being deep rooted and wind resistant, it does well on most fertile soils. It makes a splendid subject for parks and large gardens."
  • "Metasequoia glyptostroboides Goldrush grows best in moist soil during its establishment phase but can thrive on most soils thereafter. Its spectacular golden foliage has a feathery effect and is a great contrasting tree within a parkland or large garden environment. The yellow leaves drop for autumn in late October/November leaving the soft spongy redwood bark to be admired all winter long. Metasequoia glyptostroboides Goldrush has a lovely symmetrical pyramidal habit which also makes it stand out in the landscape."
  • "Pinus sylvestris (Scots Pine) is a large evergreen tree which is distinctive by its tall, bare trunk and broadly pyramidal crown. It is best suited in parks, gardens, heath land and woodlands. It is tolerant of most soils but will not thrive in areas prone to flooding or near the coast. A familiar sight in bleak and inhospitable landscapes it has paired needles which can be very variable in colour from green to almost blue, especially when juvenile."
  • "Pinus wallichiana is an elegant, large, broad-headed conical tree, retaining its lowest branches when isolated. Long, soft, blue-green needles, Pinus wallichiana gives a dreamy billowing texture and very large pine cones provide a seasonal interest. Moderately lime-tolerant but not recommended for shallow chalk. Flat far-reaching roots."
  • "Salix × sepulcralis var. chrysocoma is a weeping, deciduous tree, to 15m tall and wide, with vigorous arching branches terminating in golden-yellow branchlets. Young yellow-green, lanceolate leaves mature to a glossy green and catkins containing both male and female flowers, or occasionally all male or all female in separate catkins, appear with the leaves in spring."
  • "This stunning whitebeam tree has foliage which emerges from purple shoots in the spring, soft and silvery-white. As the seasons progress the leaves harden to become a more distinct grey on the underside and green on the surface. The clusters of creamy white flowers appear in April and May, followed by bright orange-red fruit in the autumn time, when the leaves turn a golden brown before falling. At maturity this small tree retains a rounded and compact shape, requires little maintenance and will thrive on all soils, including chalky ones. A wonderful choice of tree for planting as feature specimens in gardens."
  • "Sorbus aria 'Majestica' is, as the name suggests, a larger and more majestic cultivar of the species. In every other aspect it shares its appearance with Sorbus aria. The initially upright crown gradually spreads with age. Rich green leaves with a downy, white underside. Sorbus aria Majestica has white spring flowers followed by red fruits in autumn. An easy to grow tree. Hardy."
  • "Styrax japonicus (Japanese Snowbell) is a compact, deciduous flowering tree with horizontal branching and a rounded crown. Styrax japonicus has pure white, fragrant, pendent flowers appear in late spring and summer followed by greenish-brown olive-shaped drupes. The grey bark fissures on older branches to reveal orange inner bark which can be attractive in winter. Hardy. Treat as ericaceous for best performance."

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