2023 – CHW
Another (fine) day and another tour for 27 clients of Brightwater Holidays with Colin Crosbie (ex Wisley) and my new squawk box which means I can speak to the whole group and don’t need a second guide for a large group.
Pomaderris elliptica just about to flower in Tin Garden. We have 2 other young plants but I think these are another species. Yellow buds opening white?
2022 – CHW
The very rare Symplocos aff. sumuntia (previously believed to be S. glomerata) now in full flower.
A visit to Treseders nurseries to photograph a few new plants and buy one or two as well. My last visit was last June, and they had clearly shifted a huge amount of stock since. Everything neat and tidy and the plants in wonderful condition. A great credit to Neil Treseder’s grandson who carries on the family tradition after all the history which was so nearly lost in the 1970s.Hardy ferns – apologies for a dull list but an interesting record of many new species I had not seen before.Onoclea sensibilis
Have you noticed how we are being governed by scientific advisors who cannot agree on anything but are having their moment of fame with the media. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, gave a broadside to Professor Ferguson about who is running the country. The latter is not in government but, to hear him pontificate, you would think he was.Few other scientists appear to have the same ideas as Prof Ferguson yet he is calling the tempo on facemasks (no need for them – but we suspect there are not enough anyway) and the timing of the end of lockdown.Not surprisingly, and as predicted, the newspapers are turning on the government ‘for treating them like children’. We all know the attention span of ‘children’ and we can all see why you cannot reveal your plan early or lockdown will be ignored.What a hellish decision for Boris yet again. The ‘children’ will moan and sue about deaths either way but we have to get the economy going! The government cannot bail out everyone and every business for very much longer.The death rates may turn out to be double the hoped for 20,000 but how many of these actually would have died from other serious medical conditions? That will only come out later but it is a hell of a price that the rest of the country is paying for each death!Six different young lime trees photographed today (and three more for website care articles) which I must do again when they are all in flower.Picea glauca ‘Piccolo’ looking especially yellow today.
More cold east wind and then heavy rain which the plants needed after a dry few weeks. Quite a few laurel leaves stripped and blown onto the rides by the wind reminiscent of The Beast last year but de minimis by comparison to then.This plant of Rhododendron arboreum ‘Blood Red’ has been exposed to view by the lifting of the crown on the nearby pendulous Cedrus deodara. I had thought we had lost all the Blood Reds apart from an old one in Forty Acres Wood but was wrong.
Back at home after over 1,200 miles of driving in six days. Jaimie has kept up with things while we were away.In my absence another dead tree has had to be felled in the Rookery to avoid it falling on our record Magnolia kobus var borealis.
2017 – CHW
A day of Women’s Institute and German tours with a budget meeting thrown in. A rush now to capture what is new that is out here before we embark on our Welsh garden trip.
Berberis temolaica is only just starting into leaf and flower but may prove popular in the catalogue. Blue-green new leaves.
What are the ‘colours’ of the ‘BREXIT’? We do not know yet but, in plant terms, Brussels must be ‘yellow’ and the UK can be ‘R W & B’. I will concentrate on these colours leading up to the 23rd June and the voting.So here we are with Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ just coming out in Penvergate. Not as good a colour yet as some years but still impressive.
2015 – CHW
A day at Burncoose to calm, I hope, the packers’ nerves and stress at the ever increasing volume of orders. An unbelievably good performance.
Rhododendron ‘Temple Belle’ is an orbiculare x williamsianum hybrid which I suspect may have been produced at Werrington Park (same ownership as Caerhays until 1955 and still very much family) since the plants just inside the Chinese Garden gates there are Temple Belle which are nearing the end of their life at 10 to 12 feet tall. Our new plants appear dwarf by comparison and I am not aware that Caerhays ever had this hybrid – certainly not in my lifetime. Rhododendron orbiculare is virtually impossible from cuttings with us (and the seed are never true) while ‘Temple Belle’ is very difficult but it is a superb plant which should be more widely grown.Magnolia yuchelia is strutting its excellent ‘stuff’. A less bizarre mixed colour than some of our other recent subjects in this diary and with a true michelia scent. This is the first decent (?) cross (which is supposedly impossible) between a magnolia and a michelia (Magnolia acuminata ‘Miss Honeybee’ and Michelia foggii ‘JackFogg’). The (Chinese and US) botanist would no doubt use this to justify their recent reclassification of all michelias as ‘magnolias’ which most UK magnolia enthusiasts regard as confusing bollocks – especially those who try to sell them commercially and have no interest in genetic evaluation. The tepals (petals) stand proud today but will soon change colour and hang down, sooner especially if the escalating drought persists. We are all now worried about our newly planted Chinese rhododendrons in Old Park especially where there is little shade. Still no rain forecast. It will arrive at Chelsea I expect but what to do with Chelsea plants in the coldstore? This week’s problem to devise a plan!
1941 – CW
Camellia speciosa still has nice flowers and its hybrids. Auklandii and Mrs Butler Rho hybrids at their best. Also Blue Tit and Yellow Hammer, reticulata past its best. Daffs nearly over. Some nice whites and poets left. Some cherries now very good. Mag veitchii opening well. Denudata – Sargentianum – Kobus – and Mollicomata over. Michelia becoming nice.
1925 – JCW
Near 1919. The Corylopsis are going back but remain the best thing in good light. No Auklandii starting indeed there may be no buds.
1919 – JCW
Reticulata nice yet. New Magnolia denudata very good and so Calophytum. Also Oleifolium. Cerasus subhirtella very nice. Big Japanese not open yet.
1908 – JCW
Very much as in 1900 perhaps the daffs are rather later. Primroses at their very best – short of rain after a long spell of dry northerly wind.
1906 – JCW
Came back from Horticultural Hall and Dinton, most of our daffs have passed over. Reticulata good now, Auklandii not yet open. Clematis indivisa not at its very best yet.
1903 – JCW
We are far ahead of the above.
1898 – JCW
Wild primroses at their best, a good few roses open, waterlilies throwing leaves in most cases. Beacon began to open, no 12 just out, all the named Engelhearts out except a few Poeticus. Montana has some flowers open.
(Hand written note, dated 1932, attached to Garden Book page of April 20th)
‘I find in the Garden Book that Camellia speciosa can flower between and on the dates of January 7th and April 21st and then come the pink hybrids from it.’