Japanese skimmia (Skimmia japonica)

Well, winter is well and truly here and getting outside is not for the faint hearted. This week’s plant is not unafraid of these cold, dark days, it loves them. While other plants are in hibernation or looking a bit sad, this compact little warrior is getting ready to go into full bloom.

Skimmia japonica is a fragrant, winter-flowering plant which has dark shiny leaves and bright abundant berries. This compact, slow-growing plant reaches a mature height of 1.5m and a spread of about 2m.

Christmas Tree (Abies nordmanniana)

In case you haven’t noticed, it's getting a bit festive around the Greenway so we’re joining in by focusing this week’s plant on the Connswater Community Greenway Christmas Tree. While most real Christmas trees are cut down and installed temporarily, ours in C.S. Lewis Square is a real living, growing specimen. Much like the Greenway itself!

Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

This week we focus on a very large ornamental tree remembered by those familiar with it by the name identifiable with the flower. Translated from the Latin name, Liriodendron tulipifera, means ‘lily tree bearing tulips’. The flowers will not bear until the tree has reached its mid to late teens. When it reaches adolescence the trees flower in abundance particularly if they are planted as an individual.

Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pinus mugo)

Pinus mugo pine gets its latin name from the Italian word, mugho for '"dwarf”. True to this name, this is a low-growing, shrubby pine that is often planted in domestic gardens and containers as specimens or ground cover. It can be recognized mainly by its low height which rarely grows above your knee. It has dark green foliage, and needle-like leaves like its larger pine relations.

Photo credit: Colin McAlister

Antarctic beech (Northofagus antarctica)

One of the Greenways most extreme trees  - Antarctic Beech is the focus for this weeks blog post. This specimen is native to the southern hemisphere; Chile and Argentina and an island called Hoste which allows its claim, as the southernmost tree on earth. As such it will withstand temperatures down to -20. Antarctic beech was introduced to Britain in the 1830’s from Chile.

Pear Tree- Pyrus

The pear tree or shrub is native to coastal and mildly temperate parts of western Europe, north Africa and parts of Asia. It is generally an elegant medium-sized tree known for having a tall, narrow form. This makes some varieties of pear a great street tree and you may be surprised to know that there are hundreds of pear trees growing happily in the footpaths around Belfast including along the Newtownards Road.

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.