A rare trip to Burncoose in the height of the shooting season.
The magnolia tunnel all tidy and relabelled.
Larger camellias all restocked with smart new colour labels.
The climber tunnel beautifully tidy – briefly!
Unusual autumn colours on Kadsura japonica which I had not seen before.
The nastiest job of the year for the potting team – hundreds of bare root roses.
Flowers on Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’ which are to be expected even if the leaves are still on the plant.
Interesting to contrast the growth habit of Strobilanthes flexicaulis and Strobilanthes wallichii.
Another new plant I have never heard of and need to look up – Canarina canariensis.
Phormium ‘Envy’ and Phormium ‘Joker’ look great together.
A Malus ‘Jelly King’ in the packing shed but still covered in fruits.
Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Dawn’ – leafless and further on than ‘Charles Lamont’.
An international mining prize won by Cornish Lithium which we were shown by the chairman at a meeting in Burncoose House.
2022 – CHW
Still flowers persist on Rhododendron cinnabarinum subsp. xanthocodon Concatenans Group. They have been out for at least 6 weeks. About as long as the silly name for what used to be just Rhododendron concatenans.
After the much earlier errant single flower Camellia x williamsii ‘Jovey Carlyon’ now has a few decent blooms here and there and a mass of swelling buds.
A young Embothrium lanceolatum carries all its leaves through the winter.
While a 30 year old Embothrium tree beside it is virtually leafless now.
Atherosperma moschatum still not quite out into flower.
The Magnolia campbellii ‘Alba’ seedling with the largest flowers still has plenty of green leaf.
Magnolia ‘Daphne’ nearby is already leafless.
2021 – CHW
Late flowers still on Hypericum lancasteri. This has been in flower now for three months at last.
Leaves still on Peter Borlaise’s Magnolia ‘Albatross’ by George’s Hut which he bred at Lanhydrock. Peter’s funeral was at Lanhydrock church a fortnight or so ago but I was unable to attend. A wonderful head gardener and friend who helped Burncoose with the Chelsea monument stand about 25 years ago. Several of his own magnolia hybrids live on and will impress for many decades to come.
Good colour on an Embothrium lanceolatum which seems to want to defoliate entirely this winter. Normally semi-evergreen.
First flowers high up on a Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’.
Glyptostrobus pensilis ‘Wooly Mammoth’ with its peculiar winter colours.
Last yellow leaves holding on on Styrax japonicus ‘Pendulus’. Not as good a show as last year.
2020 – CHW
The ancient pale form of Camellia saluenensis is now full out.
Zantedeschia aethiopica untouched by the frost.
Surprisingly still a few flowers on nearly all of the ancient Camellia sasanqua.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Carolyn Williams’ now a good show.
One of the two ancient white Camellia sasanquas is nearly over.
The darker form of Camellia saluenensis is still not full out.
Both plants have been enjoying a feed from a thick mulch of well-rotted dung.
2019 – CHW
Jaimie has been felling more of his hated leylandii in Kennel Close.
A secondary flowering on Drimys winteri or is it an early spring showing?
2018 – CHW
Jaimie has cut down the pittosporum next to the dead Magnolia sieboldii. With the stumps gone this will make a sheltered planting plot and, more importantly, allow our largest Michelia ‘Touch of Pink’ to expand into the space.
Another of our aerial layers on a branch which has died. Probably too low down the Michelia and in too much shade to have taken properly.
Mahonia oiwakensis with its flowers nearly over. A very upright habit and extremely glossy and spiny leaves. Quite a show on a drab day.
2017 – CHW
Planting the Isla Rose Plantation
After a weekend of torrential rain and snow up country it was not perhaps the ideal day to start the Isla Rose planting project. However the only spare date in the diary before Christmas necessitated action on a bitterly cold but sunny morning. Autumn planting is always desirable when planting trees as their roots can take hold over winter and produce better new growth in the spring more quickly.
The plants assembled have come from three main sources. Burncoose Nurseries have supplied the majority of the original planting plan leaving aside, for the moment, the more tender subjects which will go in in the spring. Over the last year we have been assembling here from gifts, purchases and our own propagation a number of very rare and choice plants to enhance the overall themes of the planting plan and especially to give colour and interest right through the year. A combination of colour, fruiting trees and shrubs and new plants for the Caerhays collection. Finally we recently had delivered a special order from Crug Farm nurseries of some of their new and unique wild collected species from Asia.
The Isla Rose Plantation will be viewed from the bank and path above as well as coming up the drive from Porthluney Beach and from the front door of the castle. Big imposing new magnolias, new cherries and malus for impact from a distance are one theme. Another is for the fruiting blueberries, raspberries, currants and crab apples to provide scope for Isla Rose herself to develop an interest in gardening and the fun of it all. The hope is that she and visitors will move on to enjoy some of the less floriferous but extremely rare plants in the two acre clearing which is today being replanted.
The first load of plants from Burncoose arrives on site. A small pile as yet for a huge area.
We firstly position six rare new conifers to break up the easterly wind which will make the site cold in the early spring. Here a Prince Albert’s Yew (Saxegothaea conspicua) to give shelter one day from the east.
The reinforcements to the windbreak above the path are now in place. A row of Quercus ilex which will have copper beech planted alternately between them in due course.
The second load of magnolias and other varieties arrives from the greenhouse.
We then make a start by selecting the best magnolias for the most prominent and visible planting spots.
Then we separate the two loads out into specific piles of different plants and start placing out at the top end of the site.
The third load from the greenhouse has two extremely prickly climbing roses to grow up the pollarded yew tree. Jaimie has to cut himself free.
Now we have everything ready to make a start.
But there are still some huge bare root shrubs from Crug Farm to get in place. They have been heeled in for 10 days on site. The Sorbus ullungdongensis is about 12ft tall but still with a decent root system. We cannot face taking it too far – just down the hill in fact. Whether it will reshoot without a hard pruning is doubtful but will have to wait until spring.
The four varieties of flowering malus (crab apple) go together at the top end about 12 meters apart. Also one Crataegus ‘Crimson Cloud’ which is a spectacular new introduction.
Then another batch of magnolias with all the later flowering and smaller growing varieties at the bottom end nearest the path.
Then the Matsumae cherries and some clumps of three birches planted close together to get the best bark effect.
Then on to the fruiting shrubs at the bottom end of the clearing where the new plaque will go and two seats to admire the view over Porthluney Cove. Three varieties of fruiting blueberries here (vaccinum).
Just the aroma and currants to go in now with a few lotus trees which will hopefully produce edible fruit occasionally in this hot spot.
Nearest the Jacobean watch tower will be the spot for the palms, agaves and beschorneria. A bit more sheltered here.
The rest of the fruiting and clump forming shrubs will go behind the Ilex platyphylla hedge. This is a wonderful coastal windbreak which salt laden gales scarcely touch and which we already use to good effect in the Rookery nearest the sea.
More sorting and sifting of rare acers, tetracentron, styrax and two huge growing pterocarya.
After crib time the stakes, tree guards and rabbit netting surrounds arrive which all plants will need initially for rabbit and wind protection.
A bit of respacing before actual planting where we have got it wrong initially. That is why you need to place everything out on a site like this before actually planting anything. You have to think of ultimate height, colour matches, gaps for viewing the bay, speed of development, complementary species and any ‘sacrifice’ plants which will be cut down in 10 or 15 years after they have done their job in breaking down wind. You seldom get it all right on the first or second attempt and not everyone’s ideas always concur!
The birches go in in ‘threes’. These two clumps are from the best bark birches at Werrington. Quick growing and they should not mind the cold.
Starting to fill up!
The currants go in. Ribes longiracemosa and Ribes odoratum.
Getting there but still plenty of room for infilling yet. Some Rhododendron yakusimanum hybrids which will take the cold are yet to be brought up from the yard. More rhododendrons and azaleas to infill later as well between the trees.
The final touches for today are some evergreen osmanthus species planted in threes and fives to give early spring colour and break the wind up. Not exciting plants but they have a job to do if we can keep the deer off them. Roe deer particularly like this sort of evergreen.
The team insist on a final photograph. Placing out took the four of us about three hours and all the plants were in the ground by 4.30pm at close of play. It will take the team at least a couple of days to rabbit wire and stake the whole lot.
Despite thinking that we had too many plants for the area at the outset it is now pretty clear that we will have plenty more to add and infill in February/March when the weather may be more suitable for planting. No room for more trees but plenty of room for more shrubs. Since there is such a slope on the site it drained off fairly well in the sun today and planting in freshly turned over soil is quite quick and easy.
Jaimie’s picture of the plants in the ground
Michael will now finalise the numbered planting plan which has turned out (as it always does) to be a bit different from my initial sketches and thoughts. Edwina can then perhaps get it onto a proper chart so we can laminate this and put it by the plaque.
2016 – CHW
The Magnolia Society International journal has just been published and includes the registration of another two of our Caerhays hybrids.
2015 – CHW
The last Cornwall Farmers board meeting today (and audit committee) under the old regime! Countrywide bought the business for £6.05 million in September but the rump of Cornwall Farmers still owns the freehold of the stores so we will receive a good rent (monthly!) and become a property company.
I have now run 43 days shooting this season and we are, at last, past the half way mark in number of days shooting. Lizzie, Edwina and I can begin to relish the prospect of normal hours from 1st February without an early bed and a 6am rise. Such are the realities of castle life and how in the in the fuck I manage to try to entertain you with the odd flower or two defies normal stamina and liver function. I could reflect on some ‘difficult’ shooting days here with clients but that is for the (personal until I am dead) Game Book which is an entirely separate diary about a very separate way of life. No less stimulating in many ways but it is NOT flicking the pages of Country Life in bed with Mrs W for a ‘longish’ morning! ‘Fight to win’ perhaps but I just wish for a week with no staff problems or rows (three this week) which take up most of the surplus (little) time. On we go! Sorry no pictures today.
1995 – FJW
3 flowers out on pale gunroom Saluenensis, 4 or 5 on Cam J.C.W and 2 flowers ½ open on Magnolia Star Wars.
1934 – JCW
A coolish rain for 24 hours, some Camellia sasanqua in bloom. E.P.R’s quarry a few Prunus blooming. I have put 150 smallish to large tree ferns in the near big quarry.
1932 – JCW
Prunus subhirtella open but smothered in withered bloom just as in 1931 for almost everything. A violent cold east wind for about 10 days. Some fuchsias hold on.
1931 – JCW
Early Subhirtella cherry in the quarry, it has been out for 3 weeks. A few Sasanquas have flowers and now some Rho lutescens. Cotoneaster salicifolia has a fine lot of fruit. Erica hybrida in bud and quite nice.
1911 – JCW
Camellia sasanqua are all over, it has been a very early year. Clematis cirrhosa is about the only thing opening, some roses keep on.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.