5th August

FJ Williams Profile Picture
FJW 1955-2007
CH Williams Profile Picture
CHW 2015-
JC Williams Profile Picture
JCW 1897-1939
C Williams Profile Picture
CW 1940-1955

2018 – CHW

A trip to view staphylea seeds which, as you will see, was timely in this drought. It is not possible to identify some staphylea species just by their leaves and flowers. At least three species have single leaves with (usually) five pinnate leaflets and the flowers are not that easy to separate out either. However the seed pods make identification very much simpler.

Staphylea colchica has large seed pods (here) 2½-3in long which are in pairs of attached pods with a pronounced ‘tail’ or point at the end of each pod. Those have yet to turn pale brown, as they will when ripe, but there are already red autumn tints on the leaves.

Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica

Either the drought or a squirrel has caused most of the seeds to drop prematurely to the ground well before ripening. The seeds photographed above are in pairs or small clusters. What has dropped were in much larger clusters from old flower spikes at the top of the plant. Drought telling the plant to jettison the effort of setting seed I expect although some signs of nibbling on the main stems on the ground.Staphylea pinnata also has pairs of rounded seed pods with only a tiny point at the bottom. They are only 1-1½in long and easily identified as different to S. colchica. They are however also all in two celled capsules which are joined together. Not a huge crop and none on the ground yet but clear signs of early autumn leaf colouring.

Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea x elegans (S. colchica x S. pinnata) is known to be very variable. Our plant of this naturally occurring hybrid between these two species does however have rather larger seed pods than on the pure S. pinnata although there are no real S. colchica points at the bottom of the pod. The seeds are in pairs as you would expect and about 2in long.
Staphylea x elegans
Staphylea x elegans
Staphylea x elegans
Staphylea x elegans
Just a couple of seed pods today on Staphylea trifolia. This species can be identified by its three leaflets (although other species can have some leaves with three leaflets too) and, especially, by its seed pods. The seed pods have three capsules (not two) as you can see in one of the photographs here (one of the three pods has shrivelled in the other picture). If it had seeded more copiously this would be more obvious today. In the spring we thought we had identified only one plant of S. trifolia and this is now demonstrably correct. The three attached capsules point away from each other and have a ‘tail’ which is longer than S. pinnata but not as long as S. colchica.
Staphylea trifolia
Staphylea trifolia
Staphylea trifolia
Staphylea trifolia

No seed pods on any of our three plants of Staphylea holocarpa this year. Need to check the Burncoose plant. The seed pods are pink rather than brown or yellow-brown when ripe as in colchica and pinnata.Our plant, labelled Staphylea bolanderi, has a single tiny seed pod this year which I doubt will now swell properly. It is perhaps the largest plant we have of any species but identification is still unclear and I suspect it is actually S. pinnata.

Staphylea bolanderi
Staphylea bolanderi
The bark is very distinct though.
bark
bark
bark
bark
The plant labelled Staphylea bumalda has no seed pods either this year although we suspect that it is already too large in height to be this species and may well also be S. pinnata judging by its bark and multi-stemmed habit.

2017 – CHW
More from Ventnor Botanics.A Cordyline australis seed head larger than the leaves on the plant.

Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Clerodendron bungei suckers now full out.
Clerodendron bungei
Clerodendron bungei
Clerodendron bungei
Clerodendron bungei
Eucomis autumnalis with white flowers. Not autumn either!
Eucomis autumnalis
Eucomis autumnalis
Eucomis autumnalis
Eucomis autumnalis
Seed on Pittosporum crassifolium – not seen before.
Pittosporum crassifolium
Pittosporum crassifolium
Sophora microphylla. 12-15ft tall here.
Sophora microphylla
Sophora microphylla
Pseudopanax crassifolius as a 10-12ft small tree.
Pseudopanax crassifolius
Pseudopanax crassifolius
Pseudopanax crassifolius
Pseudopanax crassifolius
Pseudopanax laetus 12-15ft in height.
Pseudopanax laetus
Pseudopanax laetus
Pseudopanax laetus
Pseudopanax laetus
The disease killing mature clumps of Cordyline australis which we see a lot of in Falmouth has reached Ventnor.
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Pseudopanax ferox leaves on a small plant.
Pseudopanax ferox
Pseudopanax ferox
Huge pea like seed pods on Phormium tenax.
Phormium tenax
Phormium tenax
Phormium tenax
Phormium tenax
Colletia hystrix 12ftx10ft.
Colletia hystrix
Colletia hystrix
Colletia hystrix
Colletia hystrix
Catalpa bignonoides full out rather earlier than usual.
Catalpa bignonoides
Catalpa bignonoides
Catalpa bignonoides
Catalpa bignonoides
Cordyline australis ‘Purpurea’ with huge seed heads.
Cordyline australis ‘Purpurea’
Cordyline australis ‘Purpurea’
Cordyline australis ‘Purpurea’
Cordyline australis ‘Purpurea’
Cordyline australis ‘Purpurea’
Cordyline australis ‘Purpurea’
A Cordyline australis tree or two alive and well here.
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis
Cordyline australis

2016 – CHW
How good it is to be back and enjoy the Cornish air and absolute quiet! The hydrangeas on the drive are now a real show and the newer, more interesting varieties, are showing up as well as those which have been here for at least 70 to 80 years. This has all added a whole new dimension to the ‘summer flowering garden’ and the Hydrangea paniculatas are still only just starting to come out.More on these soon.
hydrangeas on the drive
hydrangeas on the drive
hydrangeas on the drive
hydrangeas on the drive
hydrangeas on the drive
hydrangeas on the drive

2015 – CHW
Already huge seed pods on the Magnolia sargentiana robusta hybrid/seedling on the mound outside the Back Yard. What energy this must take out of the tree and over seeding inevitably reduces the amount of flower next March.

huge seed pods on the Magnolia sargentiana robusta
huge seed pods on the Magnolia sargentiana robusta
I have not yet stopped to photograph the Chinese native Magnolia delavayi hedge below the lawn which protects the pointing in the wall so well. It has had flowers for six weeks or so already and many more to come between now and perhaps November. The flowers last only a day or two in full sun and the best scent is in the evenings with petals shattered on the ground. These plants are cut back from the top of the wall every 10 years or so which keeps the plants rejuvenating and full of flower. Cold east wind in February can strip the leaves occasionally but they soon reshoot with a little die back. The seed pods look impressive but, in our climate, no seed ever sets. This species is very difficult from cuttings.
Magnolia delavayi
Magnolia delavayi
Magnolia delavayi
Magnolia delavayi
Magnolia delavayi
Magnolia delavayi
Further along the wall towards the Tower is Magnolia grandiflora from the USA doing exactly the same job with even more enormous and short lived flowers. Again evening scent to attract moths and night time insects. Again easy to cut back and no setting seeds. There used to be individual plants of Magnolia grandiflora ‘Maryland’ and ‘Goliath’ interspersed but these seem to have died out since I last looked closely which was probably years ago.
Magnolia grandiflora
Magnolia grandiflora
Magnolia grandiflora
Magnolia grandiflora
The last two times I have gone to look for the rare Mexican Magnolia dealbata its intermittent flowers were either not out or over. Just about the only species not featured/photographed this year.

1989 – FJW
Harvest all in – very very dry – spring barley poor, winter barley good.

1950 – CW
First lapageria out 2 days ago. Eucryphia pinnatifolia at its best only odd flowers on Nymansensis, a few cyclamen. A lot of Auriculatum hybrids still good and some not out. An odd Mag parviflora. Lots of both Grandiflora. A lot of rain for some weeks after a very dry spell.

1917 – JCW
Went round the garden with Harrow of Edinburgh, we found some flowers on Adenogynum, Idoneum[?], 10311, Rupicolum, Flavidum, Hippophaeoides, Keysii, Decorum, Fortunei, Auriculatum, Fasitigiatum, Intricatum.

1913 – JCW
Roses in the beds are very nice. White everlasting peas good. R magnifica fair, it is very dry. Gros au Felity very nice and so the Romneya. The Tin Garden work has finished.

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