For many people (especially those with experience of living in cooler climates) Autumn is a special time of the year. It is when the days begin to shorten, the night and day temperature drop and best of all, it’s when the deciduous trees of the world commence their annual transformation.
In Australia the breathtaking displays of colour one associates with Autumn are not quite the natural wonder one experiences in the Northern Hemisphere, this is simply because the native vegetation of this great land has not needed to evolve to withstand bitterly cold temperatures and lower light levels of harsh winters.
Tasmanian Beech ‘Nothofagus gunnii’
Even though Australia has only one truly native deciduous tree – the Tasmanian Beech (Nothofagus gunnii), this does not mean that Australians do not have the opportunity to experience the colourful foliage displays of Autumn. The changing colours are ever present throughout the country (especially in the cooler southern regions), primarily due to the many migrants who have come to this country over the last 200 (odd years). They have repeatedly chosen to bring reminders of their Northern homelands to this country which has including many deciduous trees.
You will readily see oak, maples, birch, ash and elm trees in the urban landscape as well as numerous ornamental tree varieties such as Chinese pistachio and tallow as well as, ornamental pears, plums and cherries which create magnificent displays in Autumn. These trees are planted in many a suburban garden, public and private parks and even used to line numerous streets as verge trees. Of course these spasmodic plantings do not provide the massive forestry vistas one sees in the Northern Hemisphere, they still provide a taste of what Autumn colour can provide.
In Western Australia one of the best regions to view Autumn foliage colour is the Blackwood Valley region. The towns of Balingup, Bridgetown and Nannup have ideal climatic conditions to enable many deciduous trees to reach their full colour potential, namely cold evening temperatures and dry autumn days. Further, the region boasts one of the best tree parks in Australia with hundreds of magnificent mature tree specimens for visitors to admire.
This tree park is called the Golden Valley Tree Park and is located in the small town of Balingup. The park is a heritage listed, 60 acre arboretum with a outstanding collection of native and world trees. Due to the large collection of trees, the parks makes an ideal place to visit, especially in Autumn when many of the trees in the ‘World Tree Collection’ are commencing their winter hibernation and one can experience a mass display of changing leaf colours.
Besides the trees, the park has much to offer the visitor … so make sure you check out their website for more information and learn a little about its history – it is a truly wonderful story http://www.goldenvalleytreepark.org.au/
Further, for those who may be interested this coming weekend (6 and 7 May 2017) is the annual Autumn Event conducted by the Festival of Country Gardens. It is a festival conducted in the Blackwood, Warren and Donnybrook Regions of Western Australia’s South-West, where public and private gardens in the region are open to the general public to meander, admire and potential gain some inspiration. As part of this year’s festival the Golden Valley Tree Park will be conducting an ‘Autumn Guided Walk’ on 7 May 2017 from 10.30 AM.
Why not make a day of it, see the park and then head along to some of the gardens open to the public in the region.
For those outside Western Australia here are a few of the best places to see Autumn foliage in other parts of the country.
Tasmania’s Mount Field
Alfred Nicholas Park – Dandenong Ranges, Victoria
Victoria’s High Country (Winter Alps) and in particular the town of Bright and it’s Autumn Festival
Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands and the Tumut Region and it’s ‘Festival of the Falling Leaf’
Mount Lofty Botanic Garden in the Adelaide Hills’
Get outdoors and enjoy one of mother nature’s breathtaking displays soon … the leaves and the colour display will be gone before you realise.