We need rain badly now as the leafing up stalls in the garden. Drying east wind for several days and the ground is becoming rock hard. Worrying in April.
Six more deer in the larder from the weekend including a four to five year old fallow (one of ten seen).
Rhododendron ‘Johnny Johnstone’ now full out by Georges Hut. A popular double flowered plant which we need to propagate.
Michelia foggii ‘Jack Fogg’ just showing now all of a sudden.
Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Crimson Prince’ in full leaf. After uplifting nearby trees recently it now has a better chance.
The unusual combination of Rhododendron ‘Yellow Hammer’ and Michelia laevifolia.
Exochorda tianschanica is, I think, turning out to be a nicer flowered plant than the other more commonly grown species and varieties. Vigorous grower.
In their second year the Camassia leichtinii ‘Superba’ are finally performing in Tin Garden despite their young leaves being nibbled by deer and pheasants.
Tilia amurensis from Chollipo in Korea coming into leaf in Tin Garden.
Ilex x altaclarensis ‘Sunny Foster’ living up to its name with no new growth visible yet.
Acer campestre ‘Red Shire’ early into leaf.
Prunus ‘Hally Jolivette’ and Prunus ‘Hokusai’ – together in the sun.
2021 – CHW
Still a howling (warm) easterly wind.
A carpet of mainly large white flowered wild violets above Crinodendron Hedge in and above the new planting where the soil was exposed after our tree felling. As we saw they are predominantly purple and smaller flowered on Sinogrande Walk.
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Woodsman’ x Magnolia ‘Pink Surprise’ which is now called ‘LADY WOODSMAN’ or so I read in the Eisenhut book.
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Woodsman’ x Magnolia ‘Patriot’ with its extraordinary blue flowers.
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Black Beauty’ at its very best.
Michelia ‘Fairy Lime’ with pink tips to its petals.
Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Garnettii’ with a lovely contrast between variegated leaf and purple-black flowers.
Another superb Rhododendron niveum full out above Orchid House Nursery.
Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’ just in leaf with Rhododendron niveum.
One of Dad’s hybrids (unnamed) Rhododendron ‘Elizabeth’ x Rhododendron ‘Charles Michael’. This one (in a group of three) very nearly ‘Charles Michael’ which had died out on us but still hangs in there at Burncoose.
Then a real find hidden away above Crinodendron Hedge. Two Chaenomeles of which I had only ever seen one in flower. Both very old indeed. This one a tall multi stemmed shrub with single white flowers tinged pink. You can see the quinces beginning to form where the flowers have now largely finished. Nasty prickles! This is more or less certainly the true species – Chaenomeles cathayensis.
The second one is a small spreading shrub with single orange flowers. Very probably the true species; Chaenomeles japonica or Cydonia japonica.
I watched a Plant Heritage webinar on the National Collection of Chaenomeles earlier last week. The collection holder, David Ford, has 109 varieties in Surrey and all are grown in pots in his garden.
Japanese quinces may be Pyrus, or they may be Cydonia. No one is really sure of their origins. Chaenomeles are recorded as being on sale in a Bristol nursery in 1870 but were introduced to the UK 100 years earlier by Joseph Banks. Of the four species only forms of C. superba and C. x speciosa varieties are generally available to gardeners today as these have the largest and most saleable flowers.
The original Caerhays collection which still exists today is therefore:
C. speciosa ‘Umbilicata’ – Slip Rail (deep salmon-pink and very early into flower with last year’s quinces still on the tree)
C. japonica – Crinodendron Hedge
C. cathayensis – Crinodendron Hedge (biggest fruits and biggest thorns)
Perhaps over 100 years old and certainly nearly centenarians.
The best modern or new varieties of flowering and fruiting Chaenomeles seen in the lecture were as listed below. Well worth obtaining for the next Burncoose catalogue if we can. In the USA there are 450 varieties of Chaenomeles in cultivation apparently.
C. speciosa ‘Mango Storm’ – has second flowering and rounded yellow fruits
C. speciosa ‘Madame Butterfly’ – pink/bicolour
C. speciosa ‘Salmon Horizon’
C. speciosa ‘Orange Storm’
C. x superba ‘Apple Blossom’ – pink and white – variegated
C. x superba ‘Issari White’ – tiny flowers in profusion
C. x superba ‘Pink Trail’ – white flowers age to pink
2020 – CHW
While President Trump attempts to pretend he was being ‘frivolous’ when he appeared to be telling people to drink bleach, or inject themselves, or at least ‘try it out’, we are now getting to the real crunch. Business leaders reckon we have all been ‘on holiday’ for quite long enough to fuck up the economy and force us to pay back what the government has so efficiently paid us as businesses, employees, and the self-employed. Not much thanks for that of course and still plenty of aggrieved bleaters who have fallen through the net (Branson of all people!) which of course they have and will.
With Boris back I would hope (and have expected for some while) that we will be, at least business wise, be released from the worst of lockdown by the end of next week. Not the moment for a piss-up to celebrate but common sense, and work, and reality has to get going again before we fall into a state supported socialist slumber of entitlement, idleness, and inactivity as being the normal way of life. The more I hear ‘wittering’ in the media about mental stress, strain, and entitlement the more I fear for reality and our democracy.
It has been a ‘war’ and, so far at least, the vast majority have survived (including the NHS). There will be more casualties in the ‘war’ but, unless we start to ‘get on with it’, there will not be anything which we would have previously recognised to get on with! As it is ‘staying-in’ has probably caused more hardship, illness, and long term medical damage to people and the economy than corona.
Hindsight and historians will find all this to have been bonkers! Only the British public would have obeyed so readily. Just look at German and US protestors. China knows how to deal with them!
The new great ‘Satan’ from whom 75% of the plants which we enjoy today actually came?
A still overcast day where the scents of rhododendrons were quite overpowering. The rhododendrons are at their absolute best now. However it is a very early year and we do, now, desperately need real rain. It seems COVID-19 has kept the wet weather flows away. Perhaps the jet streams over the Atlantic have less pollution driving them. The breeze has been in the east for the last four weeks.
Michelia ‘Fairy Blush’ in the greenhouse frames. Just potted on ready to be planted out next spring. We seem to have ‘Fairy Cream’ and ‘Fairy White’ doing well but not ‘Blush’ or ‘Fairy Lime’ as yet.
Michelia ‘Fairy Lime’ may be lime green as it opens but this is how it ends up. Very pretty indeed.
Also in the frames is a first ever flower on Magnolia obovata x Magnolia fraseri. Quite an odd shaped flower with small petaloids around the stamens. Not as much creamy yellow in it as I would expect from M. fraseri? A fairly unique but dullish flower!
Michelia laevifolia ‘Gail’s Favourite’ opens out flat as a flower and is much larger than plain laevifolia. Another good thing!
Reversion in Quercus cerris ‘Argenteovariegata’ both as twigs and, in some cases, as branches. Karol filmed as I cut them out in a video. A somewhat unusual use for the kitchen steps!
Pterocarya macroptera var. insignis with its slightly coppery new growth.
Our young clump of Rhododendron williamsianum has a few flowers. Usually two flowers only in a truss which open pink and fade to light pink. The now dead old clumps were 8ftx12ft with each plant so we have clearly planted these far too close together.
Rhododendron ‘Michaels Pride’ strutting its stuff in the sun. Another rhodo which is nearly always out in mid-May and on our Chelsea stands.
Camellia cuspidata still in full flower in shade in the Rookery which is a surprise.
Magnolia ‘Judy Zuk’ now out. It is not as good as the one at Antony House. I am dubious if this is actually correctly named but need to wait to see if it gets much more yellow when full out?
First two flowers out on Rhododendron crassum. Again a month early.
Rhododendron chapmanii full out.
Rhododendron augustinii ‘Penheale Blue’
A much paler form of Rhododendron augustinii.
Magnolia ‘Raven’ now full out. One of the late John Gallagher’s hybrids I had thought but the new Magnolia Society listing says it is just a scented form of Magnolia liliiflora which I suppose it could well be. The name is not really a reflection of even the bud.
Cercis canadensis ‘Appalacian Red’ covered in flower properly for the first time. A good hot sunny place which it likes.
Meliosma veitchiorum just coming into leaf. Orange hairs on the stems of the emerging leaves.
This looks like a royalii hybrid but I do not have a name.
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Palibini’ nicely out.
2019 – CHW
A Burncoose day over, amongst budget meetings and photography we found time to prepare a pre Chelsea video which you can see here.
[for Clare for forwarding to Adrian Agley re dead New Zealand acers)Telopea ‘Shady Lady White’ now full out in all its glory.
Sorbus wardii in full flower.
Disaster with the 500 or so Acer palmatum varieties which arrived, as usual, from New Zealand last July. Quite a lot died immediately. These are the weedy ones in a pile left for the rep. to view this summer. Now a lot more are starting to leaf up but then collapsing and dying. There is a nasty rotting smell in the tunnel. The magnolias which arrived at the same time are growing on well beside the acers. The acers came from the NZ autumn straight into our summer when, in 30 previous years, they would leaf up then drop their full leaves in Dec/Jan before leafing up again in our Spring. Quite a stressful time for the plants but what arrived were much smaller than usual with roots chopped back too harshly. Hence the failures we believe.
Merrilliopanax alpinus has been dormant over winter. Look at its extraordinary new leaves with dark brown upsides initially.
Berberidopsis beckleri is the second Berberidopsis species but virtually unknown. It clearly wants to become a climber as well and we await the flowers soon I hope.
A young Rubus acuminatus is producing a flower cluster.
2018 – CHW
The rhododendrons in the garden are at their absolute peak. Better than anything we saw last week in Ireland. Enjoy! The ‘May’ flowering well on the cliff edges and the first batch of house martins building their nests. Not a full complement here yet.A Rhododendron williamsianum hybrid called Rhododendron ‘Bow Bells’ AGM is just showing. A dwarf variety with huge flowers.
Rhododendron xichangense is a rare new introduction. Tiny plant but not a bad flower.
Rhododendron ‘Damaris’ is always one of the very best yellows. The plants used to grow by the podocarpus clump. These are 40 years on replacements.
A Rhododendron arboreum variety or hybrid with distinct spotting in the trumpets. One survivor from a large clump planted here 20 years ago.
Enkianthus serrulatus now full out.
Primroses have seeded into the decaying base and trunk of an elderly magnolia.
Rhododendron ‘Duke of Cornwall’ at its finest.
This might be Rhododendron semnoides or it might just be a rather good big leafed seedling. Not as pink at first by any means as our ‘Lord Rudolf’ which is a pink form of Rhododendron sinogrande.
First showing here of Rhododendron ‘Turnstone’ with its split coloured flowers. A rather drab habit but what a performance!
I had feared for Podocarpus elongatus ‘Blue Chip’ in the cold. As you can see a little scorching lower down but otherwise fine which is one of the few wins amongst our most tender plants.
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Hattie Carthan’ is just coming out.
Our old favourite Rhododendron ‘Blue Tit’ in a good new clump. One of several replacing JCW’s original clump which used to grow on the main ride where Magnolia ‘Star Wars’ now is.
A fine Rhododendron ‘Elizabeth’ with branches weighed down by the weight of its flowers.
This sort of day is really what woodland gardening is all about. Scent and colour everywhere.
2017 – CHW
Slight frost last night but nothing serious. Gloves needed in the sun and still no rain at all. A few more rhododendrons to catch up with.
Another berberis on the drive. This one is Berberis hookeri planted in 1999. Had not really noticed it before. Greenish yellow flowers.
Rhododendron rubiginosum in ririei opening. Nothing like as impressive as Rhododendron desquamatum.
Slight frost damage on the record Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’ clump.
Rhododendron wilsonae (now latoucheae) with a few tail end flowers. Different from the one shown at Savill last week.
Caragana arborescens ‘Walker’ just out as a top grafted plant by Georges Hut. 1997 planted and still only 4ft.
Three plants of supposedly Rhododendron ‘Mrs J C Williams’ but no pink blotch? Very unlike the old plant on the main ride.
The new Rhododendron williamsianum clump full out and clearly planted too close together. Should we move some in the autumn?
Rhododendron williamsianum x campylogynum doing well as replacements for the huge clump which once grew opposite here.
Rhododendron ‘Moonstone’ is also making a fine clump.
Magnolia ‘Tranquility’ – nothing much to excite here – tranquil or otherwise!
Yellowish new growth on the Cephalotaxus fortunei we saw so much of in flower six weeks ago. This is a fine conifer indeed.
A young plant of Rhododendron decorum (white form).
Rhododendron ‘Lady Montagu Group’ (Exbury) is quite nice but not a ‘Mrs Butler’ special.
Rhododendron ‘Lems Cameo’ just coming out. Five years from planting.
Rhododendron ‘Cinnabarinum Group’ – replacements for the rust diseased plants of old which do not look too healthy either.
2016 – CHW
Mother always raved about a daffodil called ‘Green Howard’ which used to grow by the front gate. A poor spot and it only flowered occasionally. The flowers eventually had light pink centres despite its name. From Trewithn I seem to remember. It was a bit like this lot in a clay pot in the yard with smaller pink trumpets.
The huge Magnolia x veitchii ‘Isca’ (white) by the sales point is only now coming out while the pink M x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’ (pink/white) is nearly over further up the garden. Odd.
Prunus ‘Beni-Yutaka’ is the best cherry for flower below the tower. These cherries came from Thornhayes nursery who have a very odd trade discount system and do not like Burncoose much.
Magnolia ‘Limelight’ with its broad spreading habit is just coming out. Really green in bud, opening pale yellow and quickly fading to cream.
Metasequoia glyptostroboides ‘Gold Rush’ is exquisite as it comes into leaf. What a delicate leaf formation.
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’ is a good pink colour this year. Sometimes it can be more white/pale.
The unnamed white magnolia on Bond Street is still quite a show a fortnight or so on from first viewing. Possibly as good a show today as anywhere in the garden.
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Vesta’ is sadly full out already above Red Linney. No chance of this lasting for Chelsea this year.
Magnolia ‘Pink Kobus’ is not really a pink form of M kobus. It only really has a hint of pink in bud and you have to strain your eyes to see the pink in the tepals after that.
Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’ is quite special outside the front gate and well worth its place and name.
This Zantedeschia aethiopica has featured in the diary this year several times already. Now it really is full out and still it is only April. Could we cut from here for Chelsea?
I rather like the cultivated pink bluebells which I first planted here under my fuchsia collection 45 or so years ago!
2015 – CHW
A brief wander into the Upper and Lower Rockeries shows successes and failures:Only one small clump of Rhododendron russatum survives from what was a double tiered clump 30 years ago. We have tried three times elsewhere to re-establish a clump but without success. Seems to like poor soil and dry conditions.
Another ancient plant of Azalea ‘Tebotan’ which looks much more like the plant I remember growing by the original Camellia reticulatas than the one featured last week. In the rhododendron pocket guide this is billed as a species; Rhododendron yedoense which is apparently a garden cultivated azalea that grows wild in Korea. Well worth propagating anyway.
A newish plant of Berberis amurensis ‘Latifolia’ (ex Crug) flowering nicely for the first time.
Magnolia ‘Limelight’ has an extraordinary spreading habit which shows off the flowers properly. A better coloured yellow than ‘Yellow Lantern’?
The five new plants of Magnolia Caerhays Splendour planted in pride of place in the old paeony beds where we dug out various (poor) cherries are coming into leaf. What a sight behind the castle this might be in 30 years’ time!
1997 – FJW
(See entry on March 26, 1997)
First two days of rain since about March 3rd. Least good this year have been the Camellias.
1953 – CW
Brought nice bunches of daffodils from Kennel Close. Still poets in Tin Garden.
1917 – JCW
The following species of rhodo’ in flower: fastigiatum +,intricatum + , Williamsianum +, campylocarpum, thomsoni +x, lutescens +, fargesii + -,caucasicum (2 forms of yellow) +, sinovirgatum +, neriiflorum +, argenteum + -, Sir C Lemon +, arboreum + – , barbatum + – , campanulatum +, keysii +, rubiginosum +, cuneatum ( for the 1st time) +, racemosum + – , irroratum + – , afghanicum, davidsonianum +, pachytrichum +, sutchuenense + – , oreodoxa + – , augustini +i, ciliatum + – , calophytum + – , hookeri + – , faberi, trillianum, scabrifolium + – , searsiae +, barbatum +, maculiferum +.
+ all open on March 20, 1926
– going over.
1916 – JCW
Auklandii not quite open, a very bad year for flower, few buds and many cut by frost. Cherries very good. R ciliatum open, one very good Augustinii. Fastigiatums are splendid at Werrington.
1912 – JCW
Berberis stenophylla very good. Auklandii at their best. Clematis montana nice but the flower is small. Maples very good. The Augustinii are the best things now, though R orbiculare is very good.
1910 – JCW
No recurvas yet. Dalhousii breaks bud. Auklandii’s open. Maples good. Azaleas starting. Berberis stenophylla at its best and also Clematis montana rubra.
1903 – JCW
Dalhousii breaking bud, sent off two recurvas yesterday, marvel just open, a few seedlings to come, several Auklandii and Azaleas open, a few carmine pillar open. Thomsonii over. Maples are good.
1900 – JCW
Came back from the Drill Hall and Appleshaw, Triandrus hybrids at the former and Lulworth seedlings at the latter impressed me most of all, a bad year for colour, afterwards bought the Lulworth seedlings.
1898 – JCW
The first P recurvas just open. The early Auklandii has one bloom, Countess of Haddington half open.
1897 – JCW
Poeticus recurvas nearly all open. Azalea altaclarence half open, various mollis open. Maples looking well. Auklandii’s out. Edgeworthi opens. Countess of Haddington open. Gentians very good.