2020 – CHW
I have never felt so on top of the management of the estate; but then there is little to manage! Nevertheless very tough decisions on staff for the future. Meanwhile the 2021 Burncoose Nurseries catalogue proofing continues apace. With no interruptions I hope to finish this incredibly concentrated but boring job by the end of this week. Proofing involves checking every invoice for the last year to see that we do actually have (in theory) everything which we claim to, and a review of our prices against the competition. So one has to dream up a ‘policy’ for pricing the total unknown of next year as a business in a country in full recession. The policy is ‘no price increases’ (unless the size of the plant offered has changed) from year to year. Will the minimum wage rates continue to increase by 6.2% per annum while inflation is less than 2%? I doubt it. Will inflation stay at 2% for the 18 months in which the catalogue will be out there? I doubt it. Will employee national insurance and pension costs rise? Certainly! So the theme is to broadcast a price ‘freeze’ and take a hit on our margins while the whole horticultural industry, and garden centres in particular, are in crisis. It is a ‘no brainer’ really but the work still has to be done properly and the 200+ ‘new’ plants added to the catalogue/website and care articles (already done!) takes time. There is plenty of that!
Rhododendron rubiginosum ‘Ted Millais’ flowering well for the first time as a young plant. Quite a different shape to the older Rh. rubiginosums here.
2019 – CHW
RHS and Rhododendron, Camellia & Magnolia Group main rhododendron show at Rosemoor today. Strong NW winds but generally fine. Spent three hours with Karol photographing together in Rosemoor garden.
Four cups and the (expected) RCMG outstanding garden award for magnolias at Caerhays.
CHW receives the RHS Jim Gardiner Magnolia Cup for our contribution to magnolias from Jim Gardiner (letter from the president attached).
Our four magnolia spray entries were:Magnolia ‘Limelight’ (third)
The six rhododendron species class selected and arranged by Michael with trophy.The best in show hybrid rhodo truss plus trophy – Jaimie’s (Mrs Lionel de Rothschild).
The RHS will not let you take the cups home so you are left with only a photograph of the moment. At least they pay for the engraving I suppose and the insurance! Jim Gardiner said we could take his cup home if we first filled and drank it. Sadly Rosemoor do not sell alcohol so we had to wait until the evening to celebrate.
Rosemoor is now, I think and Jim almost agrees, a better garden than Wisley with more plants in more landscape contexts. It is growing and improving all the time. I wonder how many gardeners and labellers it all takes? Karol and I took over 1,000 pictures during the day and our ‘this goes nicely with this’ picture file has grown apace.
For those who want to see other nice things from the show bench please click here:
2018 – CHW
Showery but mainly pleasant and, fortunately, cool for the flowering rhododendrons.
A young Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’ with three flowers. A bit of pink on the bud but opening a nice pale yellow. We need more photos for the Burncoose website.
Two good new offerings at the sales point up from Burncoose yesterday.Kalmia polifolia ‘Newfoundland’ has a dwarfish spreading shape and many delicate rose-pink flowers. A welcome new addition to the kalmia offering and early flowering for a kalmia.
To Hook Norton brewery for the AGM and board meeting at our revamped £1m pub, ‘The Fox’, in Chipping Norton. Lizzie’s mum, Alice, aged nearly 92 is coming with Elke, her nurse, who also looked after my mother.Last night I saw three pigeons incapable of flight and frumped up under hedges. One was in a similar state near the front door. Perhaps they had eaten dressed seed corn or perhaps the effects of a combative and competitive mating season or perhaps just the effects of overeating emerging beech leaves as pigeons have been doing in the garden all this week. Possibly just a coincidence but I wonder what the truth is?The first pheasant chicks will hatch tomorrow; a week later than last year. Philip says the eggs are generally larger this year than last which may bode well for fertility rates in what has been, so far, quite a cold year for laying. Certainly the cold north wind in the rearing field was unpleasant yesterday and hardly conclusive to high fertility rates. Philip is hoping for a good summer rearing season and the keepers have shot four roe bucks this week. One of them was in Kennel Close where his horn marks on young trees bear witness to what damage these newish garden pests have been doing. The does are not yet in season but we hope to cull more over the summer.2015 – CHW
Yet more ‘yellowish’ magnolias appear in a double garden tour day which exhausts the dogs.
Magnolia ‘Hattie Carthan’ is an acquired taste but rather better in maturity than it appears flowering in pots in the nursery. Not much different from ‘Eva Maria’?
Magnolia nitida – this old and record tree which is clearly nearing the end of its life has just two flowers very high up. Pity it will not cross with anything as the scent is exquisite. We have found it hard to get new young plants away and going but there are two other trees neither of which are in particularly sheltered locations which are doing fine.
Although the Michelia doltsopas are going over there are plenty of new ones breaking bud. ‘Touch of Pink’ is now magnificent and the three Magnolia laevifolias portend much for future years in maturity. These came first as Magnolia crassipes and Magnolia yunnanense but the botanists now reclassify them as laevifolia. I think I now agree although in immaturity the leaf shape, habit and flowering time were different. The key problem is I assumed, quite incorrectly, they would only be dwarfish shrubs and planted them without nearly enough space to grow. So nearby plants are soon for the chop although the third and fourth have plenty of room.
Passing by the Rhododendron niveum which won the cup on Saturday hidden away is a good clump of Rhododendron oreotrephes and, nearby, Rhododendron ‘May Day’ (griersonianum x haematodes) which was one of only a very few of my grandfather’s hybrids at Werrington.A single surviving plant (of five) of Rhododendron ‘Martha Wright’ is now excellent and beautifully scented. The others were squashed by a fir cone laden branch last August. Not as yellow as our ‘Michaels Pride’ which is not out yet but more scented.
1986 – FJW
Very late year. Mag’s still show. Rhodo’s and Camellias poor. Serena rode a horse!!! (not here).
1981 – FJW
A great blizzard in north and central U.K felt as far south as Dartmoor.
1926 – JCW
The first Rhododendron Society’s Show in London. Werrington batch of species was the outstanding thing apart from what has been ever seen before.
1920 – JCW
There are 70-80 species of Rhodo’n in flower, but the best of the hybrids are going back.
1907 – JCW
Mrs W saw the first swift.
1904 – JCW
Returned from Dinton and Birmingham, I bought two poets at D.
1902 – JCW
Most of the Auklandii are open – Thomsonii over – Countess of Haddington open. Finished crossing except Marvel. A few roses show colour. Ferns opening.
1901 – JCW
Finished crossing and went to Appleshaw, all except a few late poets are open. There has been a terrible sun. Auklandii some of them show colour.
1900 – JCW
Came back from Appleshaw last night but sun has finished the daffs in the south of England. The Triandrus hybrids at the Drill Hall are the best things that I have seen yet. I saw a very splendid Lulworth seedling at A. Tulips all open here. Auklandii shows colour.
1899 – JCW
Altaclarence just opening. No recurvas yet.