Garden Portrait: Arley Arboretum

Japanese Acers

What better place to visit in autumn than an arboretum where you can enjoy a stroll through the falling and fallen leaves, enjoy a crisp autumn day and admire the flaming reds and yellows of the Japanese Acers, or the pinks, purples and tangerines of the Liquidambar. The North American maples with their vivid autumn palette of reds, oranges, golds and browns compete with the burnished golds and auburns of ancient oaks and beeches. If you are lucky to find a place with a lake (such as Sheffield Park in East Sussex or Stourhead in Wiltshire) you have the bonus of colours reflected in the water with dazzling effect.


Arley doesn’t have a lake. What it does have is a wonderful view across the Severn Valley in Worcestershire where the Severn Valley Railway runs between Bridgnorth and Kidderminster taking in the lovely countryside. Arley has a fine collection of Acers and their red colour punctuates the rich autumn colours.

Stroll around the grounds and look out for interesting vistas as well as leaf colour and hidden fungi amongst the woodland leaf litter.


Formal plantings, grand water features, a temple and dovecote help make the peaceful walled Italian Garden a very special place within the arboretum. Guinea fowl and chickens run free. Whilst outside the walls the trees of the arboretum rise magnificently towards the sky.

More lovely walks can be found over at my friend Joโ€™s place.

18 thoughts on “Garden Portrait: Arley Arboretum

  1. Gorgeous impressions of autumn, Jude! This is our favourite time of the year. Last weekend we visited Pensthorpe Gardens and enjoyed the autumnal sights and animals there. The vibrant colours are a great treat for sore eyes.
    After the garden work today we hope to manage a walk around Felbrigg Hall, the woods there are magnificent at this time of the year.
    Have a wonderful Saturday!
    The Fab Four of Cley,

  2. I’ve never heard of Arley but I’d love it there, does it have herbaceous borders tucked away somewhere? I managed an hours autumn fix on Friday at Stourhead so I’m happy now!

    • Herbaceous borders in the walled garden, but not much left flowering on this visit. I wanted to book a couple of night at Stourhead B&B to see the autumn colours there, but they were full. Another time. I look forward to seeing your photos.

    • Elgar is from Worcestershire so he knew these parts very well. Your knowledge is encyclopedic. Tell me, why is the helenuim flower known as sneezeweed? Does it make people sneeze, or is it the shape of the cone (pepperpot)? Keep meaning to ask you.

      • The requisite page was missing from the encyclopedia of my knowledge, but at

        I found this explanation:

        “According to a 1923 publication by H. Smith of the Milwaukee Public Museum, the name given to the plant by the Menominee Indians of the Wisconsin area is ‘aiatci’a ni’tcรฎkรปn,’ which means ‘sneezing spasmodically’. With its large showy flowers, insects pollinate common sneezeweed, not wind. Therefore, it does not have small pollen grains, like ragweed does, which cause sneezing and other hay fever symptoms. This is not the reason for the Menominee and English names for the plant. The common name is based on historic use of the crushed dried leaves and heads to make a form of snuff that caused sneezing. In certain cultures and times, sneezing was regarded as a desirable way to rid the body of evil spirits or a way to loosen up a head cold, so that a sneeze-producing remedy was desirable. Having crushed dried sneezeweed heads to collect the seeds, the author can attest to the plant’s sneeze-producing power!”

      • That explanation may well be true, but my respiratory system and eyes are sensitive enough that inhaling particles from the crushed dried leaves or seed heads of any plant would probably also set me off. Maybe sneezeweed just does a better job than most.

  3. And here’s your friend Jo, being duly appreciative ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ That opener looks great, Jude. I thought it was going to be your Autumn festival entry. I have been on that railway from Bridgnorth, but not at this time of year. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It looks lovely! Many thanks to you.

  4. I relished your colour language as well as the photos. I think my favourite was the second one, with its black vertical trunks, and their fine-white-line edgings. But the whole post makes me rejoice in anticipation of golden Polish autumn in 2016.

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