26th 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

2020 – CHW

A big excitement today as Jaimie’s new magnolia hybrid opens its first of just two flowers. For a first time ever flowering this is quite a large flower and will probably improve in size in subsequent years. The cross was Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii (ie our original plants in both cases – pink campbelli). The cross was made in 2005 and the seedling was planted in 2009 so has taken 14 years from seed to first flowering. It sits on the site of an old Arundinaria nitida (bamboo) hedge which flowered, seeded and died in 2006-7 before being dug out. The tree is around 15-18ft tall today so growth has been alarmingly quick. This was perhaps to be expected from the campbellii side of its parentage.

Jaimie's hybrid - Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Jaimie’s hybrid – Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Jaimie's hybrid - Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Jaimie’s hybrid – Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Jaimie's hybrid - Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Jaimie’s hybrid – Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii

The flowers are quite close in colour to Magnolia campbellii ‘Betty Jessel’ I thought when Jaimie appeared triumphant in the Dining Room with the first flower. I also thought that the inside of the tepals/petals was paler than ‘Betty Jessel’. I photographed Betty yesterday.So off Jaimie went with his cut flower to compare the two flowers side by side. If I am right we have produced something very good indeed but perhaps not sufficiently different to be worthy of registering and naming in a year or two. If I am wrong then we do indeed have a startling new hybrid worthy of naming.

Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii and "Betty Jessel"
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii and “Betty Jessel”
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii and "Betty Jessel"
Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ x Magnolia campbellii and “Betty Jessel”

Either way I await the result as we are interrupted by a Forestry Commission inspection looking for diseased sweet chestnuts. I do not actually think Jaimie will care much either way about his new creation.Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ is itself a cross between Magnolia sargentiana var. robusta and Magnolia campbellii subsp. mollicomata ‘Lanarth’. I therefore believe, based on the colours seen here, that M. campbellii ‘Betty Jessel’ is therefore actually a chance or deliberate cross and not simply a form of campbellii grown from a seedling. The same applies to Magnolia campbellii ‘Darjeeling’ which I read is from the same set of seed as ‘Betty Jessel’.

Basically what we are seeing here and with the new cross is Lanarth’s purple being crossed (via M. ‘F J Williams’) with a pure pink to produce something with reddish/crimson flowers.

Yesterday’s wind had predictably damaged the flowers on the oldest Magnolia ‘Betty Jessel’ so Jaimie’s comparison pictures make the new plant the clear winner.

I attach again my pictures from yesterday from a different ‘Betty Jessel’ so that you can make your own comparison.

Magnolia campbellii ‘Betty Jessel’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Betty Jessel’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Betty Jessel’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Betty Jessel’
I am pleased to say that I was wrong and Jaimie’s new creation is worthy of registration perhaps next spring.

2019 – CHW
To Tregullow to look at large new planting areas with James Williams and then on to the nursery to select the wish list to fill some of the big gaps.A lovely Rhododendron ‘Ostara’ full out at Tregullow. Sadly no magnolias at all out here unlike Caerhays.
Rhododendron ‘Ostara’
Rhododendron ‘Ostara’
Rhododendron ‘Ostara’
Rhododendron ‘Ostara’
Rhododendron ‘Ostara’
Rhododendron ‘Ostara’
Jaimie has spied a hazel coming into leaf. Is this an all-time record for February?
hazel
hazel
In the nursery Daphne bholua ‘Mary Rose’ is full out. Super grafted plants at ‘only’ £50. About 3ft tall and (I say again) the best named form of D. bholua that I have ever seen. Flowers in clusters and individual flowers all up the stem. Knockout scent!
Daphne bholua ‘Mary Rose’
Daphne bholua ‘Mary Rose’
Daphne bholua ‘Mary Rose’
Daphne bholua ‘Mary Rose’

2018 – CHW Off to Heligan for TV interviews about ‘spring has sprung’. Quite ridiculous really as the east wind makes it the coldest day of the year. The cameras turn up to film a shire horse dressed in magnolias with Maddie from Tregothnan riding it. Shambles ensues and I never do the interview at all. A wasted two hours. The presenter decides that the pleating of the horse is the story and Heligan’s magnolias all blown away so we have to cut ours and take them over. I predicted this last Friday and told them to cut then but they did not.While I waste time I photograph:

Us pissing about, thankfully by the fire, in the Heligan tearooms waiting to do the filming.

waiting to do the filming
waiting to do the filming
waiting to do the filming
waiting to do the filming
A rather pretty bicoloured vinca (which I do not have a name for) at the Heligan garden entrance.
bicoloured vinca
bicoloured vinca
Then a full out Hardenbergia violacea outside their tearooms. Very fine for February.
Hardenbergia violacea
Hardenbergia violacea
Hardenbergia violacea
Hardenbergia violacea
Our ‘relief’ Caerhays magnolia flowers.
Our ‘relief’ Caerhays magnolia flowers
Our ‘relief’ Caerhays magnolia flowers
Early buds forming on a large Echium fastuosum.
Echium fastuosum
Echium fastuosum
Echium fastuosum
Echium fastuosum
Hebe ‘Wiri Charm’ full out.
Hebe ‘Wiri Charm’
Hebe ‘Wiri Charm’
Hebe diosmifolia also full out and a new one to me. Compact habit and seemingly impervious to the extreme cold.
Hebe diosmifolia
Hebe diosmifolia
Hebe diosmifolia
Hebe diosmifolia
Hebe diosmifolia
Hebe diosmifolia
Terrible news that Jonny Cann’s son Gareth has been killed in a car crash. KPK Builders in total shock. This is the next, and rather more real, drama for the day to contend with.

2017 – CHW
Drizzly and poor light but the magnolia above the wall is now a picture from the front door.
magnolia above the wall
magnolia above the wall
Magnolia ‘Delia Williams’ is just breaking out on the lawn. Small flowers as yet and slightly windblown.
The Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ sister is now full out but these pictures are not much better than last week’s.
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’
I photographed this same branch of Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’ breaking into flower in November or early December. It is fully out now at least three months later. How is that for good value although not all this huge tree rhodo is showing yet.
Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’
Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’
Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’
Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’
The Bond Street sister seedling to ‘Caerhays Belle’ is also full out and virtually identical in flower size and shape to the other one.
Bond Street sister seedling to ‘Caerhays Belle’
Bond Street sister seedling to ‘Caerhays Belle’
A second magnolia, unnamed but of a similar age, with darker but similarly shaped flowers is now out beside it.
A second magnolia
A second magnolia
Camellia japonica ‘Elegans’ just out. This ought to be grown more widely. Again quite early for a japonica.
Camellia japonica ‘Elegans’
Camellia japonica ‘Elegans’
I said in this blog in September that this clump of Rhododendron royalii hybrids had over flowered, were over seeding and would probably die from the effort. Now the seeds have split asunder you can see that sadly I was right. Hardly a leaf left. The plant knew it was its last chance to procreate before dying. Asia needs to grab some of the remaining seed.
Rhododendron royalii hybrids
Rhododendron royalii hybrids
The view through the arch from the front door remains superb. What a way to start the day!
view through the arch
view through the arch
view through the arch
view through the arch
2016 – CHW
The invitation from Christie’s has arrived for our own ‘Garden of the Year’ party in April. I am copying it here for posterity since I know my great grandfather would have refused such an accolade and I suspect my father might well have too at least until the early 1980s when I returned from London to Cornwall and before visitor numbers and visitor business was important. Today we are selling Burncoose Nurseries via Caerhays visitors.26 Feb 16 – HHA_Christie’s InvitationA truly filthy wet day with a rising east wind which bodes ill for the magnolias. Not a day to venture outside but in the Burncoose cash point I find a nice plant of Magnolia ‘Cleopatra’, one of Vance Hooper’s New Zealand creations. It is very nice indeed. We have a plant or two at Caerhays and have seen the odd flower but nothing as fine as this. The same stable and vintage as Magnolia ‘Genie’.
Magnolia ‘Cleopatra’
Magnolia ‘Cleopatra’

2015 – CHW

ACACIA dealbata
ACACIA dealbata

Acacia dealbata above the playhouse nearly out and around 15 to 18 feet tall. Unlike its former compatriot which was planted in a more windswept location and died of cold in March 2013 this plant has prospered. There used to be a huge tree among the Magnolia delavayi below the castle wall but this died in the 1963 winter.


2004 – FJW
First sharp frost – some snow.1966 – FJW
Picked 2 flowers of Mr Garden – no Campbellii – much as ‘61 but no Giganteum. All Hamamellis over – very speedily.1961 – FJW
Donkey Shoe Robusta is ½ out. Some flowers collected for R.H.S. Giganteum, Hookerii, Grande, Mary J, Rosemary W, J Pickthorn, J.C.W.. Mag campbelli and robusta, and Golden Oriole, Crinodendron, Rho hybs and Snow Bunting.

1950 – CW
Returned from Torquay election. Been very wet and stormy. Mag campbellii a few out, one lapageria left – Camellias good – also Rho moupinense and hybrids – some daffodils out – began to sell a week ago from K.G. Blood red good but few flowering. Hamamelis well over. Very many Reticulata species beyond their best.

1933 – JCW
The clump of Narcissus cyclamineus by the side door makes nearly 50 flowers.

1931 – JCW
(Typed receipt attached to Garden Book page)

From Sokoliana Nursery: for
10 Magnolia longifolia 18
10 Prunus Hizakura 3
20 Quercus acuta 14
Total Yen 35

Packing and shipping 3.50
Freight prepaid to London 13.16
Total Yen 51.66

1924 – JCW
Cold NE wind for a fortnight about. Daffs move a bit, Rhodo’s cut, Erica hybrida is wonderful, a Camellia or two just open. Daphne mezereum open.

1918 – JCW
Rhodo’s coming on well, all the early scarlet hybrids, Barbatum, Fargesii, Lutescens, Calophytum, Sutchuenense, Arboreums etc.

1916 – JCW
Frost and snow smashed in most of the Rhodo’s bloom, but ¼ inch of ice on the tank in D.G.

1911 – JCW
Dauntcep open, Caerhays well out, Maximus half open, Heaths good, one incomp open, several nice Camellias open. Snow on the mountain out. Garden after tea with D.

1908 – JCW
Caerhays daffodil very few open or indeed any of the above. C coum is the best thing. Camellia Japonica partly out, a few Arboreum and Barbatum in bud.

1897 – JCW
Caerhays daffodil at its best, Bredos, Horsfieldi and Sir Watkin open. Pink Argenteum is open.

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