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South Park Gardens, bursting with autumnal colour

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Last Updated: 14/10/2015  
Author: Melanie Hollidge    Tags: South Park Gardens

If you are looking to get out and about this weekend with your family in South West London, then why not visit one of the many beautiful local parks with their autumnal splendor. One of our favourite parks is South Park Gardens – a Victorian park, which opened in September 1901, in the noughties the park fell into disrepair, however since then the park has received a grant from the Heritage National Lottery Fund and has been restored back to its former glory.

There are over 150 trees in the garden, comprising of 40 different varieties. During the renovation it was discovered that many of the conifers were either rotten or diseased, so these have been removed, which has given the park a much more open feel. Local primary schools were then invited to replant some of the trees, which was a nice touch, these included The Priory, Holy Trinity, St Mary’s and Pelham - to commemorate the restoration. The four trees – Silver Maple – Acer sacchirinum (Holy Trinity); Purple Leaf Flowering Plum - Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’ (St Mary’s); Japanese Crab Apple – Malus floribunda (The Priory) and Hupeh Crab Apple – Malus hupehensis (Pelham) if you visit the park you will be able to identify them by their plaques.

If you want to discover some of the rarer trees throughout the park why not follow the tree trail walk, where you will be able to spot the following:

The Strawberry Tree - Rare in England, more plentiful in Ireland. It has dark green glossy leaves with a serrated edge and has panicles of white bell-shaped flowers in the autumn.

Judas Tree - The bark is purplish and ridged with fine brown fissures. Leaves are small and alternate and avry from yellowish to dark green.

Deodar Cedar - in the circle at Kings Road/Trinity Road junction – the largest tree in the Gardens. Unlike the Cedar of Lebanon, which has level branches, these sweep down to the ground. The spiral set leaves are dark green and curved.

Tortured Willow in opposite corner of the Gardens; beautiful shaped tree with interesting, twisted leaves and branches. A cultivar of a once very rare species, from China, now more common and sometimes called

‘contorted’, which describes it very well.

Caucasian Wingnut tree close to horse trough. Rare specimen, has fabulous bright gold/yellow foliage in October. It has large pinnate leaves and catkins. Most of the 8 species originate in China.

Sweet gum tree their leaves generally unfold in May and are similar to a maple and provide good colour in the autumn - perfect for a visit at this time of year.