25th 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

2017 – CHW
A westerly gale and a large beech tree down beside the Rookery nursery which thankfully narrowly missed the young rhododendrons in the nursery bed. A big mess to clear but we had our eye on clearing out the laurels here and felling the four to six over mature beech trees here later this year anyway.

beech tree down beside the Rookery nursery
beech tree down beside the Rookery nursery
beech tree down beside the Rookery nursery
beech tree down beside the Rookery nursery
After a drab, drizzy week we finally managed to get the Great Gardens ‘Spring has Sprung’ publicity pictures taken in the sunlight on the beach before the weather turned. The idea was to show magnolias on the beach which is quite a good way of portraying the Cornish spring to potential visitors.Here are various pictures with magnolias in the sea, on the rocks and generally looking rather odd as the publicity gurus like them for the media.

magnolias in the sea
magnolias in the sea
magnolia in vase
magnolia in vase
magnolias in the sea
magnolias in the sea
magnolias by the sea
magnolias by the sea
magnolias by the sea
magnolias by the sea
magnolias in the sea
magnolias in the sea
magnolias in the sea
magnolias in the sea
The two vases used on the beach all ended up in one superb vase of flowers in the hall. What a vase of magnolias! What would any RHS show give for this.
vase of flowers in the hall
vase of flowers in the hall
2016 – CHW
Despite a few ‘crispy’ mornings this week the magnolias remain unfrosted. Visitor numbers tremendous for February so our publicity campaigns and media coverage seems to have worked for now anyway. Eighty visitors on Monday (the first day of spring which was drizzly), 160 Tuesday (fine), 150 Wednesday (fine) and 50ish today (bit overcast). Nearly as many in four days as the whole of the three weeks or so we were open in February last year. Queues at the tearooms in February. Whatever next!A busy day at the biannual farm cropping meeting where Arthur Broom, our longstanding and outstanding farm manager, is about to handover to Hamish Ross. In theory he does not know about the farewell party planned for Good Friday. Arthur is going to continue to work with his machinery and tractors on the farm in retirement while Hamish manages the livestock. Not too much change in reality we hope and no real ‘farewell’.
Just time to catch a little sunlight late afternoon to bring you (again) the record tree 1913 planted Magnolia campbellii which is now full out and just starting to drop its petals (tepals). About a fortnight ago there were 100 or so flowers out, now there are thousands. If ever a plant could inspire a passion for gardening and magnolias this is surely ‘it’. What other tree could conceivably produce a 100 foot tall display with a huge flower at the end of every twig a good four to six weeks before it has produced any leaves? Some have argued about jacarandas in South Africa or Argentina where they are often spectacular roadside urban trees but I think this is better.
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii

What a pity the American RHS magnolia photographer who struggled in the rain all week last week is not here today.To cap off the breath taking view of the Magnolia campbellii behind me is Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’ coming slowly out five days on from the last time I photographed it. It is thankfully coming out slowly (and before its siblings the best of which is on the drive) but what a fantastic and unique colour.

Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’
Long may this rare bout of still and sunny weather continue so that we can all enjoy the best things pillaged from China 100 years ago!

2015 – CHW

CAMELLIA 'Mary Williams'
CAMELLIA ‘Mary Williams’

Camellia reticulata clump below Donkey Shoe almost over. Camellia reticulata came to Caerhays as a Forrest introduction in 1924. In 1928 eight were planted out and a further batch in 1932. They are now in their prime and the best one, Mary Williams (AM1942), was probably a wild collected seedling rather than a deliberate hybrid.

2004 – FJW
First flower on Stellata.

1963 – FJW
Picked first Saluensis flower.


1940 – CW
Three or four yellow incomps open in the Tin Garden, one with colour. Hybrid Camellias very good. Moupinense at its best, Moupinense x Lutescens fully open, a good deal of Barbatum and some reds, also Ririei. Hamamellis just over. Peonies moving in Tin Garden.

1933 – JCW
A late year and cold east wind for say 3 weeks. A very few daffs are open, snowdrops over. Heath very good indeed. Forrest’s Camellia speciosa has had hundreds of blooms on it untouched by the cold. It is the pink white form.1906 – JCW
Came back from Lanarth, their things a week ahead of us, snowdrops over, Caerhays nearly all open, many, most of the Arboreums open, heaths at their best, quite 20 seedling incomps open. Several Maximus open.

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