10th February

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 with Jaimie to refine our planting plants for when it finally dries up later this month. Lots of good rhododendron to find places for from the frames.

First blown open flower on Magnolia ‘Bishop Peter’. As early as usual!

Magnolia ‘Bishop Peter’
Magnolia ‘Bishop Peter’
Loads of flower to come soon on Sophora microphylla ‘Sun King’ which we planted out last spring in a very sheltered spot at the top of the garden.
Sophora microphylla ‘Sun King’
Sophora microphylla ‘Sun King’
Sophora microphylla ‘Sun King’
Sophora microphylla ‘Sun King’
A few more frosted flowers on Magnolia campbellii ‘Strybing White’. ‘Dog shit on sticks’ says Jaimie and he is not far out although I am not sure if he coined this phrase for this magnolia himself.
Magnolia campbellii ‘Strybing White’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Strybing White’
New growth emerging on one of the non evergreen embothriums.
Some self sown seedlings of Rhododendron grande which we collected years ago by the greenhouse are a mixture of colours as they flower for the first time. Planted out three years ago by Georges Hut. The old plants are still going and dropped seeds into the cold frames below. They still do! Either of these worth a name? Probably not but worth watching as they come out properly in February. That is really the point as no other big leafed rhododendron species flowers this early.

2017 – CHW
A large commotion outside the front gate with crows mobbing something. It turns out to be a buzzard with a dead pheasant it is eating half way up the Magnolia dawsoniana. Only the wings and breastbone are left.
dead pheasant
dead pheasant
Last year we had bluebells out by the end of February. They are certainly coming on quickly again now amid the magnolia skeleton leaves on the ground. These are mainly Spanish bluebells with some natives in between.
Spanish bluebells
Spanish bluebells
Spanish bluebells
Spanish bluebells

2016 – CHW

Today saw the official arrival of spring in Cornwall. Read more details here about how Magnolias were delivered to 10 Downing Street.

‘Spring comes to Cornwall’ (or England) as the Great Gardens announce that six record Magnolia campbellii trees in six Great Gardens (Caerhays, Tregothnan, Heligan, Trengwainton, Trebah and Trewithen) all have 50 or more blooms out already. A month earlier than last year’s announcement of ‘spring’ and an all time record early year.Last year the launch involved decorating a carriage on a Great Western train to Paddington with magnolias. This year’s launch sees a Great Gardens delegation with magnolia flowers arriving at 10 Downing Street to present them to the PM with six Cornish MPs in attendance (including Sarah Newton); ‘Cornwall is open for business, come and see our gardens now’ is the cry. Toby Ashworth of The Nare hotel is sponsoring this PR extravaganza with my brother and Jonathan Jones from Tregothnan also present as part of the presentation team.I manage a turgid interview with Radio Cornwall who introduce me as ‘the head gardener’ although the interviewer lady came to my office in the castle on arrival. Also Westcountry TV at Heligan with Tim Smit’s son joining in the interview. So all the fun of the fair on the media front. It remains to be seen tonight what coverage we get on national and local TV and if the newspapers pick up on it.

Red faces all round if it snows in the next 10 days and all the magnolia flowers perish!

2015 – CHW

Second year of flowering of two now evergreen species of Polyspora (ex Crug Farm Nursery) white camellia like flowers. Renamed as previously Gordonia. A welcome addition to the garden and well worth propagating. Tregrehan have grown these plants for 20 years with no difficulty with cold.


1998 – FJW
Jamie picked first Magnolia flower ( Tin Garden pale Campbellii)

1994 – FJW
First hard frost since November

1991 – FJW
More snow after very cold 5 days – garden looks sad.

1967 – FJW
Saluenensis past their best. Williamsii at peak. Macabeanum open above Rogers Quarry. Indecently early year.

1925 – JCW
Argenteum ¼ open. Barbatum a few, some Lutescens, Flavidum none, Sutchuenensis a few, hybrids of Sut’ se several, a few blood red Arboreums, E darleyensis is the best thing.

1916 – JCW
A few daffs open, quite ½ the ciliatum, Moupinense over, pink Arboreums show colour, best red hybrids wane, also Barbatum, R flavidum is very nice, Rendles scarlets moving, Argenteum ½ out, Sutchuenense some open, P pissardi injured by the gales. R praecox going over, Prunus conradinae over.

1908 – JCW
Only one seedling trumpet open. Some N cyc and hybrids found, no crossed daffs, R praecox shows colour, C coum very good, a few roses yet, Clematis balearica useful, heaths starting.

1906 – JCW
Some Caerhays and Lent Lily just open, P pissardi well open. Made my first cross mon x min.

1902 – JCW
Heavy snow three inches everywhere.

1897 – JCW
Forsythia is out, snowdrops going back, several Caerhays single opening.

2 thoughts on “10th February

  1. Hello Charles, I used to help your Nanny look after you and David when you were very little people. Your Nanny was Marilyn and Gill Prance looked after David. We used to take you along Cliff Path to Portholland and spend the day on the beach there. My Auntie was cook for the Castle, Mrs Gordon Trudgeon, (MrsGore) and Uncle Gordon was one of the gardeners. I seem to recall a young man called Philip working in the Estates Office too. What very happy memories. Hope you are keeping well. Kindest regards, Lesley Hands

    1. Dear Lesley

      Delighted to hear from you.

      Philip Tregunna was the head gardener here for 40 plus years. He died about eight years ago.

      I well remember Mr & Mrs Gore. What characters!

      Best wishes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *