17th April

FJ Williams Profile Picture
FJW 1955-2007
CH Williams Profile Picture
CHW 2015-
JC Williams Profile Picture
JCW 1897-1939
C Williams Profile Picture
CW 1940-1955

2017 – CHW

A young clump of Rhododendron johnstoneanum ‘Double Diamond’ is nicely out with a slight yellow hue. The single form is lower down the bank and over mature. The white form of ‘Johnnie Johnstone’ really which we planted out two to three weeks ago.

Rhododendron johnstoneanum ‘Double Diamond’
Rhododendron johnstoneanum ‘Double Diamond’
Rhododendron johnstoneanum ‘Double Diamond’
Rhododendron johnstoneanum ‘Double Diamond’

Rhododendron johnstoneanum ‘Double Diamond’
Rhododendron johnstoneanum ‘Double Diamond’
The Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’ clump below Tin Garden is at its best and, against a blue sky, superb. Perhaps a vague compliment to my first wife?
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’ by the fernery on the drive is just starting. Its first year of a decent show of flowers but they are a bit irregular and greenish. Nowhere near as good as ‘Yellow Fever’ or ‘Lemon Star’ which we saw in the last week.
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
The pinkish Rhododendron sinogrande known as ‘Lord Rudolph’ is now full out and it has faded to the normal yellowish-white sinogrande colour. Just a few emerging buds left. I notice several branches are touching the ground, if only because of the weight of the flowers, and we do need to get on and layer these to ensure the survival of this rather special plant.
‘Lord Rudolph’
‘Lord Rudolph’
‘Lord Rudolph’
‘Lord Rudolph’
‘Lord Rudolph’
‘Lord Rudolph’

2016 – CHW
The seasons are changing. The Asiatic tree magnolias are nearly over and we are moving into proper rhododendron time with the yellow magnolias as backup. April has flown by with so much activity here and there is a degree of sadness that, as usual, it is mainly all over for magnolias with never enough time to enjoy them more while they are in their prime. A few more tours with no one to have to chaperone around in next year’s diary I think.

Osmanthus delavayi is putting on a good show at Donkey Show. The old plants which were here until they died 10 years ago or so were 15-20ft high and about 70 years old I guess.
Osmanthus delavayi
Osmanthus delavayi
Osmanthus delavayi
Osmanthus delavayi
Magnolia ‘Lois’ has its first flowers out. A delicate yellow and a very different shape to Magnolia ‘Daphne’ which we all agree is the best of the third and latest generation of yellow magnolias. ‘Lois’ is probably the second best.
Magnolia ‘Lois’
Magnolia ‘Lois’
Magnolia ‘Serene’ is the last, as usual, of the tree magnolias (and the New Zealand hybrids) to flower. This plant is below Slip Rail but there is another good one on the drive and another by the best eucryphia near Tin Garden. An excellent plant to grow in the north of the country.
Magnolia ‘Serene’
Magnolia ‘Serene’
Magnolia ‘Serene’
Magnolia ‘Serene’
Rhododendron ‘Loch Aure’ is very nice by the Pound. It looks like a macabeanum hybrid with a touch of pink but I need to look it up properly. Three plants here which will be more visible when we cut down and grub out the camellias in front of them this summer.
Rhododendron ‘Loch Aure’
Rhododendron ‘Loch Aure’
Rhododendron ‘Loch Aure’
Rhododendron ‘Loch Aure’
Despite several prior attempts to come out only for the early flowers to be frosted or hailed away Magnolia ‘Pickards Garnet’ is still pretty good. It is the white edging and insides to the tepals that makes this special. The Magnolia ‘Pickards Ruby’ nearby has few flowers this year.
Magnolia ‘Pickards Garnet’
Magnolia ‘Pickards Garnet’

The Magnolia ‘Caerhays Surprise’ in the Auklandii Garden is at its best today.

Magnolia ‘Caerhays Surprise’
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Surprise’
Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’ is now full out below the greenhouses and quite an improvement from a fortnight ago although the pink tinge is not so pronounced. Susyn Andrews spotted this in the nursery car park at Burncoose last week where it is equally showing off.
Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’
Clematis armandii ‘Apple Blossom’
The bluebells and the grass are now over taking the primroses on the bank but what a display of wild flowers and grasses. It looks like a nice day so batten down the hatches for an invasion of people. Thankfully I got right around the garden well before they arrived and the dogs, hearing the odd shot, soon found me at the top. Rather less evidence of squirrel damage on the emerging oak leaves than last year which shows what a good clear out we achieved last summer.
bluebells and the grass
bluebells and the grass
2015 – CHW
The Worshipful Company of Barbers lunch and garden tour.  Several serious gardeners and none who have ever held scissors.  Very jolly lot and the odd peer of the realm.We look at a couple of my father’s rhododendron hybrids:‘Tinners Blush’ and ‘High Sheriff’ were the best two of a range of decorum crosses and were named at Chelsea some 20 years ago.

RHODODENDRON 'High Sheriff'
RHODODENDRON ‘High Sheriff’
RHODODENDRON 'High Sheriff' 02
RHODODENDRON ‘High Sheriff’
Magnolia 'Caerhays Surprise'
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Surprise’
Rhododendron moorii x euchates 03
Rhododendron moorii x euchates
Rhododendron moorii x euchates 02
Rhododendron moorii x euchates

Rhododendron moorii x euchates by George’s Hut (not the best form) was inspected by the RHS Woody Plant Committee on a visit to Caerhays six or so years ago.  They wanted to give it an award of some sort but this never happened due to the administrative balls-up with the Rhododendron Camellia and Magnolia Group which was to be integrated and has now been exiled.  A long and boring story of RHS muddled thinking and changes of mind during restructuring and cost saving.

MAGNOLIA 'Margaret Helen'
MAGNOLIA ‘Margaret Helen’
MAGNOLIA 'Margaret Helen' 02
MAGNOLIA ‘Margaret Helen’

The best Magnolia in the garden today is Margaret Helen on the drive.  It does not seem to fade as much as ‘Caerhays Surprise’ which is the same cross as explained earlier.  A better plant than ’CS’ but not in bud and when it first comes out. [Karol pinch from website]

PRUNUS Shirotae
PRUNUS shirotae
PRUNUS Shirotae 02
PRUNUS shirotae

And you cannot go up the drive without being stunned by Prunus shirotae.  Few cherries have such a wonderful spreading habit or quite such a double flowered inflorescence.  The two at Burncoose are just as good.

2001 – FJW
House martins back and active. Cold – damp – miserable – but a little sun.

1998 – FJW
David Clarke died.

1968 – FJW
Dry spell ended. Saw first martins on pond but was told that they had been here for 10 days. Michelias coming. Edgeworthii x Leucaspis and ‘Damaris’ best things out.

1960 – FJW
2000 round the Garden. Fine day.

1959 – FJW
Michelias wonderful as are the Leucaspis Edgeworthii hybs, 2 Mag sargentiana pure – which G.H.Johnstone did not remember seeing properly. (This was almost his last trip around).

1944 – CW
Cherries past best. Auklandii coming out well. Pink and white never better, also Tom Tit, Pink Maddeni above big camellias very good – also large Lacteum Rho very good and Sinogrande. Daffodils largely over. Two fuschias showing flower, one Mrs Pople out. Pink magnolias over Veitchii been very fine. Also Sargenteanum from below Engine House.1933 – JCW
Big cherries at their best – P incisa. Daffs have finished, a very good season, I can see and have seen no sort of storm damage which is a record.

1923 – JCW
Yunnanense of Wilson are now very good. The Cart Road Calophytum is opening and the first of the Caerhays raised Auklandii; the Conservatory plant is just over, and the Heligan plant not yet open. The lower rockery rhodo of P.D’s is wonderful; most of Broughtonii are over. Only 4 Campylocarpum buds in the peace. Daffs are over all but the late poets. Maddeni x just on.

1910 – JCW
Cerasus pendula remains very good. This is the mid season for poets.

1908 – JCW
Good Friday. 3/4 of the de Graaf or less open, very near 1901. A lot of hot sun of late. Primroses very good.

1897 – JCW
White Indica out in the Drive.

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