2023 – CHW
Jaimie discovered a nest in the field beside his house containing both pheasant and partridge eggs.
2022 – CHW
I thought I heard a cuckoo earlier this week but I definitely did in Old Park last night at the top of the wood undeterred by a post banger erecting the new pen above Kitchen Garden.
x Sorbonaria fallax ‘Likjornaja’ in bud still (Sorbus x Aronia). A peculiar bi-generic hybrid but not as dull or uninteresting as you might think in flower in a week or two. Bi-generic hybrids are scarce and unusual in nature.
Cold drying east winds – rain desperate but none in the next week’s forecast.The pure white sport on Azalea ‘Greenway’ which Asia has propagated well in the greenhouse.
2020 – CHW
I started writing these diary commends about COVID-19 as a personal way of trying to see and think through the reality of what was actually happening to the country and why. While I have read some newspapers and listened to the BBC bleating I have not paid any heed online to the conspiracy theorists or those who have more medical knowledge and knowledge of how the NHS and the mainstream media actually works.
One or two of those who have read my diary have put me in touch with Iain Davis’ paper on the “Coronavirus Lockdown and What You Are Not Being Told”.
Everyone who thinks about the collapse of our economy and why this has come about should read his two part article. You can do so here. Certainly it has elements of ‘conspiracy theory’ but is it really all ‘fake’ news? Decide for yourself!
Basically we have taken a political decision to shut down the country which was driven by the mainstream media acting in support of dubious science. The chief government scientific advisor, Professor Ferguson, is also in the pay of the pharmaceutical companies and the World Health Organisation which is half funded by Big Pharma. All have dubious track records with previous disease outbreaks.
The tidal wave of media demands for every country to lock down to save lives / the NHS etc was impossible for any democratic government not to accede to, despite Boris’ reluctance. Panic led fear as I have said often enough here (Sweden the exception).
But the NHS is NOT in crisis or even faintly overstretched. Far less people are actually dying of corona (rather than something else) than the figures purport to show. Death rates are about the same as a bad case of flu as the Spectator article surmised a month ago. They were right!
So why does the lockdown stay in place? Mainstream media hysteria has enabled the government to maintain lockdown unchallenged without any awkward ‘facts’ getting in the way.
We have dictatorship by default and a clear pathway for serious socialism when the economic disaster becomes the government’s fault (either way of course).
So who benefits from this surge to wreck our economy on the basis of false science? China? Big Pharma? Certainly not democracy and the British way of life as the BBC gleefully engage in its dismemberment.
Reading The Spectator and Private Eye this week even they dare not try to tell the objective truth because, presumably, they too are part of the mainstream media and dare not jump the fence.
An azalea in Rookery ‘sporting’ two very different colours. This is one of the still few left in the Rookery of the Wilson 50 collection. No idea of the name.
Here are a couple of discoveries by Sally about gifts of cuttings by Caerhays in the 1960s to Japan and America. These would be absolutely prohibited today.From: Sally Hayward
Sent: 22 April 2020 12:16
To: Charles Williams PA
Subject: An update on my transcription work
Yesterday I reached the year 1965. Two adjacent entries in particular were so interesting that I thought I would share them with you. On 25 August 1965 3 cuttings each of Rhododendron calophytum, R. sutchuenense, R. orbiculare, R. falconeri and R. arboreum (white) were sent to ‘Milton Walker USA’. This small entry in the book led me on to the story of Dr Milton Walker, who I am sure you already know was one of the founding fathers of the Rhododendron Species Foundation in America. Their aim was to locate and acquire superior forms of rhododendron species available at that time with the goal of preserving the best of the species, and to this end, Dr Walker visited several English and Scottish gardens, presumably Caerhays amongst them. The collection was originally grown on at his estate in Pleasant Hill, Oregon. This aspiration so fits in with our current drive to locate all of our three genera growing in the UK today, to try to locate the rare and unusual for conservation. I intend to follow up with Steve Hootman to find out if there are any records of these cuttings arriving in the US and, indeed, if plants from them still grow on at the current location of the Rhododendron Species Foundation in Federal Way, Washington.
The next entry in Philip’s book shows that, on the same day, 4 cuttings each of R. wilsonae, R. championae, R. stamineum and R. stenaulum were dispatched to Koichiro Wada, Japan! Another great name in the nursery world. I wonder how successful they were at raising them and whether there are plants surviving in Japan today.
[…]From: Sally Hayward
Sent: 28 April 2020 10:32
To: Charles Williams PA
Subject: An update from Steve Hootman, Rhododendron Species Foundation
I have heard back from Steve Hootman. He was very interested to hear about the entry in Philip’s book, and writes:
‘I have just checked our database and while I do see that all of those species were brought in by Walker and were accessioned into the collection, only the orbiculare (our 1965/350) and the sutchuenense (our 1965/348) are still alive and flourishing here.’
I am really pleased to have made the connection, and even more so, that two out of the four are still alive and thriving today. Do you think you still have the host plants at Caerhays, and if so, do you know their provenance?
A wet day here today, so I will be progressing further with Philip’s book.
SallyFrom: Charles Williams PA
Sent: 29 April 2020 09:42
To: ‘Sally Hayward’
Subject: RE: An update from Steve Hootman, Rhododendron Species Foundation
Rhododendron orbiculare was an original Wilson introduction from his last expedition in 1932. The old plant died about 15 years ago and the seedlings which we have raised are a rather poor substitute for the original with much smaller leaves.
The Rhododendron falconeri and arboreum (white) are still growing here but the arboreum is coming to the end of its life.
The original calophytum died years ago but we did propagate it by layering it and have several plants left.
There are quite a few original clumps of Rhododendron sutchuenense dotted about with varying colours so I guess that one is a survivor too.
The heatwave continues and the scented Rhododendrons smother the garden in their
scent.Camellia ‘Tricolor’ full out by the side door. One of the very last camellias to perform.
I need to wait a few more days to be certain.
hardly see a leaf.
in ‘Harry Tagg’ although the two are quite similar.
been perfect for Chelsea.
Last week’s heatwave while we were away in Ireland has certainly brought the rhodos rushing out but with a short flowering span in the sudden heat.Rhododendron valentinianum on Burns Bank.
Despite what the pundits were saying a month ago it has turned into a great year for the big leaf rhodos. Jaimie won the Rothschild cup at Rosemoor last Saturday for the best exhibit of six rhodo species using big leaf species only.
I think this is the most gorgeous colour of any but it is probably a seedling rather than a species. It is close to Rhododendron hodgsonii some say. Others say Rhododendron kesangiae (we exhibit as a kesangiae seedling). The jury is out but, if you like purple, this is fantastic!
2017 – CHW
Now on to Llanover Court garden.
Darmeria peltata as a large clump.
A fine mature plant of Lithocarpus henryi with similar bark and trunk to the Rosemoor plant but rather different leaves.
Quercus pontica – an elderly tree with several main stems.
Sorbus scalaris with leaves and flower forming.
Viburnum cylindricum with many berries still from last autumn. Not a species we grow but quite similar to Viburnum cinnamomifolium and Viburnum odoratissiumum in some ways.
An unknown cotoneaster full of berries too.
I think this is Chionanthus virginicus.
Koelreuteria paniculata with attractive new growth.
Quercus cadicans after a mild winter but with new growth forming.
Magnolia wilsonii early into flower in a mature tree.
Malus ‘Comtessa de Paris’ was especially fine.
An unidentified syringa species.
Wisteria ‘Pink Ice’ perhaps?
Wisteria venista ‘Shiro-kapitan’ just coming out.
Cydonia oblonga – as good a tree as I have seen with copious flower and attractive bark.
Dicentra ‘Valentine’ was tall growing and impressively dark in colour. Well worth growing.
Acer platanoides ‘Crimson King’ in full flower beside the Crawshay’s church.
Back to Llanfair Court for the grand opening of the new rockery border.
Actinidia kolomitka covering a wall.
Cutting the ribbon with Terence, Lizzie and Thomas. Big speech.
More ‘work in progress’!
Rhododendron groenlandicum in the new border.
Cercis siliquastrum about to open in what has become a huge spreading tree in 20 years.
Cercis chinensis ‘Avondale’ growing out of a holly hedge.
Then on to the Sugar Loaf Mountain where the Chenevix-Trenches have started a garden sunk deep in a gorge. The trees were planted 30 years ago by Rosemary Verey. Now rhododendrons are the name of the game.
Prunus serrula with tiny white flowers with the foliage. I had not seen this in flower before and will not be rushing!
A 30 year old clump of Picea omorika.
The summer house surrounded by young Japanese acers.
Picea breweriana doing well.
Rhododendron ‘Boddaertianum’ pinkish in bud, opening pale mauve-white.
The house from across the valley.
A fine clump of Euphorbia ‘Fireglow’ by the house.
As much flower as you could possibly get on the usually rather dull culinary bay tree (Laurus nobilis).
2016 – CHW
Sophora japonica ‘Sun King’ is full out at the greenhouse. We planted out three of these by the playhouse four to five years ago and all three are now dead from cold although one lasted a couple of years more than the others. No point really in planting this one out.
I trip around the garden with Asia to help identify the scented rhododendrons currently in flower from which cuttings will need to be taken in four to six weeks when still soft (fragrantissimum, formosum, Princess Alice, Lady Alice Fitzwilliam, Berts Own, HarryTagg, Anne Teese, ciliicalyx, Countess of Haddington, Michaels Pride etc).
Outside the backyard on the bank are two rather different evergreen azaleas, ‘Tebotan’ and ‘Blushing Bride’. The latter resulted from one of those Christmas time potted azaleas unusually proving to be a half decent garden plant. Tebotan, as I remember it years ago, was a smaller bush with more delicate flowers so I may yet stand corrected on the naming of this.
Good to see some of our tissue culture grown plants of long standing old favourites doing well. Rhododendron broughtonii has a spreading creeping habit and has sat happily and unnoticed towards Green Gate for decades. Now thanks to the work at Rosemoor by Ros Smith we have saved this hybrid for posterity and have several new clumps getting going.On our travels we bump into three more rather new and startling magnolias in full flower; two for the very first time.
Magnolia ‘Swedish Star’ looks from a distance to be a ‘Yellow Bird’ but, on closer inspection, it is a really good new addition to the yellows collection. Time, yet again, to check the reference books. It is greenish yellow with a good shape, opening flattish.
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Pink Surprise’ (unnamed hybrid). This horror is a surprise alright and gets my vote as the most insipid and revolting ‘new’ magnolia colour yet. You would not inflict it even on your mother-in-law. Clearly an American product presumably as seed via the Magnolia Society International.
Magnolia ‘Green Bee’ is another Belgian from Philippe de Spoelberch which is good but not perhaps quite as good as ‘Lois’ or ‘Daphne’. The latter is not even showing colour here yet but Lois will merit the camera in a couple of days. ‘Green Bee’ does get into the current top 10 yellows but not quite the top 5. However it may yet improve like ‘Yellow Lantern’.
1984 – FJW
HRH came and a happy day was had by all.
1982 – FJW
CHW married Emma Richey at Woodstock – Mag nitida in evidence.
1973 – FJW
Big leafed Rhodo’s very bad – only 4 Sinogrande flowered – decorum x ‘Humming Bird’ flowering at 4 years (1968 cross) – 4 out of 18 plants – interesting to see them next year.
1945 – CW
1934 – JCW
Fairly free from frost or storms so far. No sign of a maddeni hybrid anywhere. I saw Mag mollicomata flowering for the first time. It is not quite open.
1928 – JCW
Truro Show. Much has been broken by wind and frost. A fair show but being well arranged it seemed very good to most there. Have had no Maddeni’s since about Christmas. Auklandii now opening.
1913 – JCW
The Cherries in the shooting ride at about their best (additional note: all but one died in 1925 and the same sort of thing in the Drive). The Auklandii x Arboreum going back, the Broughtonii are good, particularly in the Beech Walk. Primroses wild very good.
1908 – JCW
Heavy snow. Marvels are good, and a hard frost which cut the Auklandiis a good bit.
1907 – JCW
Altaclarence seedling opening. Tropaoleum tricolor is well out. One R auklandii opening.
1899 – JCW
Found Tropaoelum tricolor open.
1898 – JCW
Saw the first Azalea altaclarence open.