Mercifully, the St Jude’s Day storm was not a repeat of the Great Storm of 1987. On that occasion, the UK lost in the region of 15 million trees in winds of up to 122mph. At the time the devastation was heartbreaking, but in time the opportunity was taken to replant and rejuvenate parks, gardens and woodlands across the country. It seems the number of trees felled last night and this morning may run only to a few thousand, despite most being in full leaf. Nevertheless, the aftermath will be significant for an unfortunate few. Whilst we reflect on nature’s power to destroy as well as create, we can at least enjoy the many and varied colours of the fallen leaves, an inordinate amount of which seem to have ended up in our London garden. At the top of this post, the tutti-frutti colours of Persian ironwood, Parottia persica, a fine autumn showstopper. A joyful sight for squirrels will be the husks of sweet chestnut (Castanaea sativa) burst open to reveal their bounty. And finally, spot the lipstick-pink acer leaf nestling artfully amongst fallen oak leaves on Hampstead Heath.
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