Autumn colours at Mt Tomah

Autumn colour at Mt Tomah
Autumn colour at Mt Tomah

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah is “on fire” during its 30th birthday year as hundreds of deciduous trees burst into dazzling colour flaunting bold red, orange and gold with the change of season.

The autumn display is one of the most popular for the Blue Mountains region and this year’s optimal conditions – a combination of warm days and cool nights – have resulted in an especially dramatic show of colour.

“Autumn is always one of the best times of year to see the Garden, and this year is certainly no exception,” said Ian Allan, horticultural supervisor at the gardens.

“Our North American and Asian deciduous trees have been set alight with the explosion of colour. It is a brilliant showcase of the range of exotic cool climate plants at Tomah,” he said.

“One of the real highlights is the conifer display. Many wouldn’t know that conifers can be deciduous, but sure enough, dawn redwoods and larch varieties are, and they look great. I would also urge visitors to check out the gingko trees. They turn a bright sunny yellow.

“Of course, we also have the traditional favourites to see, including Japanese maples and a variety of North American oaks and nyssa. They contribute to the whole transformation of the garden, which really is remarkable.”

Visitors can see the autumn colour at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah throughout May 2017, but are urged to hurry, before the leaves are gone.

The best places to see autumn leaves at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah are: Plant explorers walk, Brunet garden, near the Visitor Centre and the formal garden.

Why do the leaves change colour?

The sunny days and cooler nights of autumn set in place an extraordinary chemical process which causes the change of colour. Chlorophyll molecules exist in leaves and allow plants to process nutrients through a process called photosynthesis.

The process of photosynthesis creates sugars, which can be used by the plant to grow. As days shorten and nights cool in autumn, the flow of nutrients is interfered with, causing the colour of leaves to change.

Different combinations of the chemical carotenes and sugars in the leaves causes different colour reactions – resulting in a varied autumn landscape.