Magnolia ‘Sunray’ is fairly unexceptional with three flowers and a few more to come. Far too many named ‘sun-something’ and none are that different!
Prunus ‘Hally Jolievette’ is full out in Kennel Close. A very different shaped flower to the Matsumae cherries.
Lupinus arboreus – blue form. A very early small flower on this tree lupin in the greenhouse. Usually these are pure yellow!
Clematis forsteri flowering as a small cutting in the greenhouse.
Completed the two acre planting today at Hillersdon House in Devon.
2016 – CHW
A nice young Rhododendron sinogrande seedling flowering for the first time in shade above Rookery Path. A bit pale but anyone would swap this for a flower at this exceptionally young age.
Beside it is another sinogrande which we hope to dig and take to Chelsea if the BBC turn up in 10 days to film us doing the lifting. No flowers here but just the foliage on this nicely shaped plant for the 100 year celebration we hope.
Rhododendron praestans also on Rookery Path is full out and too far out for the Saturday show at Rosemoor. The colour in bud and as it opens is dramatically darker than when it is full out when it fades.
Camellia reticulata ‘Royalty’ still has a few decent flowers but I cannot see there being much in the way of camellias or magnolias left for the show and the rhodos are just coming; as is about the normal time. The show date needs to move a bit later but this was impossible this year with the forthcoming Wisley show in May.
Rhododendron impeditum ‘J C Williams’ is flowering rather sparsely for once. This JCW form can grow to 4-6ft and is not a rockery plant. My distant cousin from Stanage once said he did not want to buy it unless it was higher than he could piss over. I rather doubt his prowess here.
Quite a nice pink Rhododendron arboreum at Donkey Shoe which was planted as ‘Sir Charles Lemon’ which it probably is not. Sir Charles has a white flower according to the reference books but strong and dense indumentum on the undersides of the leaf as here. If there were no flower Sir Charles it would be!
Rhododendron cinnabarinum had the odd autumn flower in November but is now just starting to come out properly. Once its famous hybrid ‘Caerhays Philip’ grew just here.
Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ still has a few tail end flowers some four to four and a half months after it started flowering. It was full out before Christmas. How is that for good value?
First flower (early) on the Caerhays bred Rhododendron ‘Michaels Pride’. A nice new clump coming on well now but it will probably be over by Chelsea. This is a difficult plant from cuttings and temperamental to plant out but lives longer than most of the (rhodo) ‘smellies’.
This is Rhododendron monstroseanum. I was puzzled last week and Rhododendron praestans is next door to it. This once grew in Orchid House Nursery. May still do!?
This one looks like Rhododendorn barbatum but the bark is all wrong and there are no hairy ‘barbs’ on the leaf stem. This has caught me out before and I need to think. My guess is Rhododendron hookeri? Wrong again; these three plants are definitely seedlings of Rhododendron ‘Duke of Cornwall’ so rather important plants. Delighted to see this old survivor from the top of the garden rejuvenated again. Burncoose has a nice young plant too out in the garden.
No day is complete without another magnolia to photograph. Magnolia ‘Yellow Lantern’ by the playhouse has only been here since 2008 but is already a fine tree rather too close of course to the wall. My fault again. It is not a brilliant yellow but it does have large flowers that are an impressive show.
This trip has cheered me up after six (more) miserable hours grappling with our 95 page prepopulated Basic Payment Scheme application for 2016. The government has carried on last year’s cluster fuck of rule changes which prevented us applying online then (after three days of trying to) when the system crashed for good. On our paper forms the Rural Payments Agency have now suddenly decided all fields are measured to four decimal places rather than two as previously. This means nothing adds up and yet the online forms are two decimal points although, behind the numbers, you can only change them with four decimal points per part field. We have 360 fields of which 40% are split into different crops under different rules. Add to this the fact that they have ‘LOST’ nine fields from last year’s application and with them 13 valuable entitlements which we cannot add back online and you begin to see why Jeremy and I need a drink. To cap it all their prepopulated forms contain myriads of errors and numbers which do not even add up. Their computer system or the poor fools who input it all manually have also said several fields on last year’s forms which were ‘eligible’ then now are suddenly not. A child with a calculator could do better. Fucking hopeless and a colossal waste of time thanks to Brussels. Any poor sod who has had a dose of this will be a certain BREXIT and I will have a drink to that. There is a moment when Brussels ‘Danegeld’ becomes an unnecessary evil.
2015 – CHW
At last a day to enjoy the garden albeit on a popular (public) sunny day with the dogs annoying the visitors’ ‘dogs on leads’ enormously.Azaleodendron ‘Hardijzer Beauty’ is really a shrub for a large plot but impressive today nonetheless. A weak and insipid garden plant.
Two forms of Magnolia x brooklynensis coming out early. Usually fine to cut for Chelsea.
Magnolia ‘Sunray’ is not as poor as I thought 10 days ago and has held its colour well. Large flower, good shape when open.
We need to catch up with ‘Woodsman’ shortly but still in tight bud.
Rhododendron desquamatum on Hovel Cart Road is now superb but the best rhododendron in the garden today and entirely new to Caerhays is a scented rhododendron from Glendoick names ‘Anne Teese’. I need to look up parentage but what a plant! Compared to Rhododendron ‘Princess Alice’ or Rhododendron edgeworthii x leucaspis lower down Burns Bank these are second eleven.
While admiring the drive I notice that a large clump of unnamed x williamsii camellias that first showed flower in mid/late November are still adorned with flowers and not just on the branches pruned back off the drive two to three years ago. What other species of shrub can produce lots of lowers on the same plant for five or six months. The much vaunted (non-gardener) question at Chelsea is so often ‘and how long does it flower for’. The usual answer for most plants is three to four weeks max. Although there are plenty of exceptions like roses or orchids which are of course not normal woodland garden plants. The normal answer at Chelsea when the punter looks really disgusted at ‘three to four weeks’ is to suggest they get a ‘plastic one’ so they can enjoy their magnolia, meconopsis or primula all year round. I have not had my face slapped yet but it has been a close call on occasion.
1987 – FJW
2300 around the Garden.
1973 – FJW
Swallows seen – very dry and rather cold. Mags excellent. Caerhays Surprise A.M (Award of Merit)
1972 – FJW
Uncle George will take up Vibro massage in 10 years time.
1959 – FJW
F.J.W killed fox cub in New Planting with a spade.
1953 – CW
Truro Show on 21st. We sent no Magnolias as best over, Robusta, Mollicomata. One M and 1 Robusta late seedling at their best. Single Camellias and Reticulata species past best. Garden Reticulata not yet at best – Arboreums going over.Davidsonianum and Augustinii just coming well out also Auklandii hybrids and some Auklandii. Michelias very good. An odd bit if Maddenii. Still a lot of daffs.
1928 – JCW
Daffs over all but the two poets. Gordonias cut back to last years wood. Reticulatas nearly over. Augustinii nice but storm beaten. Subhirtellas over and so the best cherries. Auklandii are opening. Corylopsis all frosted.
1927 – JCW
No Auklandii open but there are only one or two blooms on the lot. Daffs are over excepting the two late poets. The standard Reticulatas are good yet. The Gordonia remains good, but the later flowers are smaller.
1924 – JCW
All the Leedsi’s are not fully open and about half the poets. Auklandii blooms may be less than 20 for the place. Mag denudata about 3 blooms open. Subhirtellas, except pendula, are over.
1921 – JCW
A few Auklandii are open. Flowers are rather poor from the cold, dry weather. Just had 5 kinds of Quercus in 10 of each from [?] they took 8 weeks to come and all look very well. The daffs are over.
1902 – JCW
I pricked open and crossed a white Auklandii with a white Arboreum.