Cercidiphyllum japonicum Looking Good

Looking Good this week.Katsura-Portrait

We are well and truly into autumn now here in North West England.
Many things are changing in our gardens and in the wider landscape too as shorter days and cooler nights creep in. Some of our trees are beginning to change colour as their leaves lose their green pigment and vibrant shades of pink, gold and red burst into sight.

I particularly love the soft golden tones in the fading leaves of Cercidiphyllum japonicum which contrast beautifully with the deep evergreen foliage of Yew, vibrant flowers and silvery grasses.

Commonly known as Katsura these trees can be grown as an individual specimen plant or in a small group or grove if you have more space. Either way they look beautiful.

Last autumn I photographed the Katsura Grove at Scampston Hall in Yorkshire.
This month I found a beautiful multi-stemmed specimen at Gresgarth Garden in Lancashire.


The foliage of Katsura trees is unmistakable at this time of year. Their heart shaped green leaves turn a beautiful buttery shade of yellow, then a sort of caramel colour before turning brown and crispy. It’s a very distinctive tree and easy to spot. Even if you couldn’t see it you would still know it was there because of the scent from the fallen leaves. It’s a delicious smell like caramel or candy floss. I couldn’t resist walking backwards and forwards to crush the crispy leaves and release the scent. Magical!

The planting around this multi-stemmed Katsura tree was also magical. Changing positions to view the tree I spotted a small Azalea with orangey red leaves and a clump of green grass which looked like Miscanthus leaves to me. Quite ordinary to look at from one direction but when the sunlight shone through the leaves they lit up as you can see in the pictures below.


My favourite view of the Katsura tree at Gresgarth was across the wide border pictured below. There were many plants in that border but just a few are visible here. This combination works particularly well in my opinion.


This wide island border is full of interesting plants.  On the left a clump of Angelica, on the right a swathe of Calamagrostis, there are deep red Achilleas in front of the grass and a huge patch of Aster x dumosus Prof. Antob Kippenburg.



Here are some of the details so you can see how clever this planting combination is.

There are many plants that look good with Katsura trees and at this time of year it’s the grasses and Asters that are looking particularly good I think. I wish this was in my garden!

What’s looking good in your garden or neighbourhood this week?


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11 thoughts on “Cercidiphyllum japonicum Looking Good

  1. Beautiful layers of color in the photo with the border in the foreground with purple aster, angelica, grasses and golden tree in the background. My cercis is close to peak right now, but it is more orange than yellow. If we get a frost, it’ll all be gone in a flash. This year is turning out to be a good one so far.

  2. The Katsura tree is just wonderful and the composition with it at Gresgarth is superb. It has a nice lightness about it. The grasses are a good edge to the foreground.

  3. beautiful autumn scenes, cercidiphyllum is one of my favourites but has lost its leaves prematurely due to the drought this summer…alas, next year I have to keep a close eye on it

  4. The Katsura is a wonderful tree. I often press the leaves once they are turning, for the fabulous colours and the heart shape. Some brilliant plant combos in this post too.

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