Autumn colour at Osterley Park and House

Autumn sunshine at Osterley

As autumn arrives so does the opportunity to see swathes of colour around the estate at Osterley Park and House. From the Shagbark Hickory showing glorious golds and rich reds, to the bright orange and yellows of pumpkins and gourds from the Ornamental Vegetable Garden.

The autumn garden with colours of red and yellow on display in the garden at Osterley Park and House

Autumn Colour Walk

Follow the Autumn Colour Walk at Osterley across the garden and park. Crisp autumn days are the perfect time to view the beauty of these historic landscapes featuring the bright, buttery leaves of the prehistoric Maidenhair Fern in the garden.

Use the map below to find the Autumn colour spots around the property. We’ve put some trees below for you to look out for as you explore.

Osterley Autumn Colour Walk Map 2021 (PDF / 0.7MB) download

One of the best things about autumn is the changing colours of the leaves. It’s hard to predict when it will happen, but that’s all part of the fun. On this map we’ve highlighted locations where splashes of colour will appear as the season changes. Why not take in some of these spots on your regular walk or run and see how they change as the weeks pass? 

Copper beech (purplish leaves)

Copper beech, also known as purple beech, is a cultivated form of common beech (although copper-coloured beech trees are also sometimes found in nature). It has been widely planted in parks and gardens because of its unusual colour and tends to be a marmite tree-some people love it for its unusual coloured leaves whilst others think it looks odd and unnatural.

Liquid Amber (red-very red leaves)

Liquid amber is not native to the UK. It’s native to the USA and is largely a tree of the Southeastern states, although its range stretches northward along the Atlantic coast into Connecticut. It is however often found in parks and gardens in the UK and is a popular tree because of the deep red its leaves turn in the autumn.

The name, Liquidambar, means, literally, "liquid amber" and refers to the pleasant-tasting resin that the tree exudes when you peel away the deeply furrowed bark. It was once used commercially for making soaps, adhesives and drugs. And the sweetgum's dark, reddish-brown wood is valued as a veneer for fine furniture. In some areas, sweetgum is second only to oak in hardwood production.

Field Maple

Britain’s only native maple species. In parts of Europe, it was thought that maple branches hung around a doorway stopped bats entering. The herbalist Culpepper recommended maple leaves and bark to strengthen the liver.

Silver leaved maple

The silver leaved maple is not native to Britain but has been extensively planted in parks and gardens. It is found naturally in large parts of the eastern half of the United States. The wood can be used to make cabinets, flooring, musical instruments, crates, and tool handles, because it is light and easily worked.

Black Hawthorn- Red leaves

Black Hawthorn is a plant native to the western half of the USA. Where it is a useful and important species. It produces flowers which attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds and fruits which are eaten by a wide range of birds and small mammal species. It turns an impressive red colour in the autumn.

As summer evenings shorten the trees and shrubs at Osterley begin to take on their glorious autumn hues with golds, reds and mahogany tints lighting up the garden and park.
 

The Shagbark Hickory shows off its autumn colours next to the Meadow at Osterley Park and House
The Shagbark Hickory shows off its autumn colours next to the Meadow at Osterley Park and House
The Shagbark Hickory shows off its autumn colours next to the Meadow at Osterley Park and House


Champion trees such as the Shagbark Hickory Carrya ovata and the North American Sassafras albidum offer up a blend of soft buttery tones and vibrant rich reds  – whatever the preceding season.

North American Sassafras albidum bursts in to colour in front of Robert Adam’s Garden House
North American Sassafras albidum in front of Adam’s Garden House at Osterley Park, London
North American Sassafras albidum bursts in to colour in front of Robert Adam’s Garden House

Further colour is provided by pumpkins and gourds which are organic and all grown in Ornamental Vegetable Garden. They can sometimes be found piled up and used as decoration around two large terracotta Tuscan pots outside the garden house.

Pumpkins and gourds pilled up outside Robert Adam's Garden House
A collection of squashes at various sizes from pumpkins to gourds surround a terracotta pot outside the Garden House at Osterley
Pumpkins and gourds pilled up outside Robert Adam's Garden House

In the Winter Garden translucent purple berries of the Callicarpa bodnierii ‘Profusion’, or Beauty Bush, start to showing up well against the ochre leaves of Prunus ‘Ojochin’  a cheerful cherry tree.