Autumn on the Greenway

Our Connswater Community Greenway photographers have submitted some beautiful pictures of autumn colours which demonstrate the change in seasons along the Greenway in all its autumn beauty.

Autumn is typically associated with increasingly shorter days, colder temperatures and leaf fall but it is the colours which make it a truly great time of the year to get outdoors for a breath of fresh air.


Photo by Paul Hunter 


Paperbark maple (Acer griseum)

With Autumn in full force we focus on a small tree that boasts spectacular autumn colour and a year round interest. Its common name indicates the uniqueness of its bark, and we encourage you to keep an eye out over the next few weeks for the change in leaf colour.

The Paperbark maple is native to central China and was introduced to Europe in 1901. A small ornamental, it grows to only 5-7m at maturity and it boasts the RHS Award of Merit.

Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Flamingo’)

This is the first time we have highlighted one of our beautiful Greenway grasses and thought we would mark the occasion with one of our favourite. A highly commended, robust and unusually coloured grass we think this is a real crowd pleaser!

Stonecrop Sedum telephinium ‘herbstfreude’

This week we have chosen a Greenway plant that notably marks the end of summer but continues to spectacularly flower through autumn. Sedum, a large genus of up to 600 flowering plants commonly known as Stonecrops.

Herbstfreude translates literally and understandably in English as ‘Autumn Joy’, appropriately reflecting our sentiment and highlighting another one of its common names.

Maple (Acer)

This week we are focusing on the genus of trees collectively known as Acers (Maples). We have a number of different Maples on the Greenway from the common ‘Sycamore’ ‘Field ‘and ‘Norway’ Maples along the riversides and parks to the more decorative Red and Paperbark Maples in C.S. Lewis Square.

Most species are deciduous, and leaves typically have 5 pointed lobes (there can be 3-9 in some varieties). Almost all are renowned for their spectacular autumn leaf colour.

London Plane (Platanus x hispanica)

Although it is the most common tree in London, it is considered that London Plane is not native to England. This hybrid is acknowledged as a natural result of two trees being planted close to each other in Spain hence its name x hispanica. The scientific name Platanus derives from the Greek word ‘plays’ which means broad. Plane trees not only have extremely large, domed crowns but also have very large broad leaves.

Common Knapweed Centaurea nigra

Common knapweed is one of the most familiar floral sights in the UK. With its habit and similar pink / purple crow its very close in appearance to a thistle and as such often mistaken for it. However it can be easily distinguished by its absence of spines and prickles.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Trifolium pratense, commonly known as Red Clover is a familiar grassland perennial that is common throughout the UK and Ireland. The stalkless flowering head is a cluster of 27 to 30 stemless tube-shaped magenta flowers that open outward in all directions. Its stature, dependant on the suitability of its environment can be as little as 20cm but can grow up to 80cm. The flowers are dark pink with a paler base and with so many on the Greenway, you can understand why red clover is a regular haunt for bees and butterflies.

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)

We all recognise the bright orange carrots in our local shop but did you know that these were developed in the 17th Century and their distant relatives are growing wild on the Greenway? Wild Carrot is a dainty, frothy wildflower that has been much forgotten about since its tasty cousins arrived on the scene. Until 17th century, the only edible types of carrots had black, white, red and purple colours. Today’s bright domestic carrots were created by selective breeding in the Netherlands as a tribute to the ruling House of Orange.

Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia)

Sorbus aucuparia is a tree with many names including Mountain Ash and Rowan. The binomial name Sorbus aucuparia is composed of the Latin words sorbus for ‘service tree’ and aucuparia, which derives from the words avis for "bird" and capere for "catching" and describes the popularity of the trees fruit to birds.

Mountain Ash thrives across the northern hemisphere between Iceland to China and as the name suggests is happy at high altitudes. They are not related at all to Ash trees and most likely received that common name due to their similar leaves.