4th January

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 below the Engine House.

Magnolia ‘Star Wars’ is out if you can call it that! Many flower heads blown off and rotting in the recent gales. In fact very few buds left for the main flowering season in two months or so. I guess these flowers, although poor in colour, are actually spring rather than summer or autumn ones. As such this is the first magnolia to be ‘out’ this year (2018). Sorry the picture is so poor.

Magnolia ‘Star Wars’
Magnolia ‘Star Wars’
Magnolia ‘Star Wars’
Magnolia ‘Star Wars’
A clump of seedling Eriobotrya japonica (fourth japonica in three days!) planted on an old bonfire where I thought they would never live or thrive. Massive rabbit damage year on year to the stems and trunks but still they prosper.
Eriobotrya japonica
Eriobotrya japonica
Eriobotrya japonica
Eriobotrya japonica
Eriobotrya japonica
Eriobotrya japonica
Eriobotrya japonica
Eriobotrya japonica
A rather stunted and poor Schefflera rhododendrifolia which is struggling. Not sure what has eaten the leaves. Looks more like vine weevil or tortrix moth than slugs?
Schefflera rhododendrifolia
Schefflera rhododendrifolia
Schefflera rhododendrifolia
Schefflera rhododendrifolia
Cephalotaxus harringtonia var koreana has excellent yellow needles in parts. Very slow growing with a fastigiate habit.
Cephalotaxus harringtonia var koreana
Cephalotaxus harringtonia var koreana
Cephalotaxus harringtonia var koreana
Cephalotaxus harringtonia var koreana
Cephalotaxus harringtonia var koreana
Cephalotaxus harringtonia var koreana
Very few buds either on Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’. Almost a year off.
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’
Rhododendron ‘Wine and Roses’ (a group of three) showing off the undersides of their leaves.
Rhododendron ‘Wine and Roses’
Rhododendron ‘Wine and Roses’
Rhododendron ‘Wine and Roses’
Rhododendron ‘Wine and Roses’
Not quite yet ripe seed heads on one of Tom Hudson’s wild collected Rhododendron ririei which I collect for Asia. Worth returning in case the ones I grabbed do not dry off and shed properly.
Rhododendron ririei
Rhododendron ririei

2017 – CHW
A hydrangea inspection day as a repeat of last January’s. Hydrangea ‘Joseph Banks’ still holding colour in January!  Less so than last January perhaps.
Hydrangea ‘Joseph Banks’
Hydrangea ‘Joseph Banks’
Hydrangea ‘Joseph Banks’
Hydrangea ‘Joseph Banks’
Likewise Hydrangea ‘Madame Mouilliere’ still has good white mopheads amid many other dead flowers. We have seen flowers on this clump and photographed them several times through last year in this diary starting in May I seem to remember.
Hydrangea ‘Madame Mouilliere’
Hydrangea ‘Madame Mouilliere’
Hydrangea ‘Madame Mouilliere’
Hydrangea ‘Madame Mouilliere’
A Hydrangea quercifolia clump still with a full set of green leaves in January. It is not an evergreen and yet here, in a windy site, there is still little sign of autumn colouring. Very odd!
Hydrangea quercifolia
Hydrangea quercifolia

2016 – CHW
The tiny Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ planted in 1955 opposite the Georgian Hall is, for the first time ever, plastered in bud. It has only ever twice had three to five flowers before. However now the buds are swelling and their secondary outer ‘coats’ have been shed.

Magnolia ‘Lanarth’
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’
Since we have been on a magnolia flower quest here are two more (different) Magnolia grandiflora cultivars. I think one would call these ‘late’ in this odd season but I did photograph the same plants with flowers in February and March last year so not that ‘odd’ perhaps. Magnolia ‘March till frost’ still has a flower as well as most of its leaves. However this is a poor tail end secondary flower and not a new spring one. The plant lives up to its name as we have not had a frost yet! Another youngish plant also has a flower or two below the main ride.
Magnolia grandiflora
Magnolia grandiflora
Magnolia grandiflora
Magnolia grandiflora
Magnolia ‘March till frost’
Magnolia ‘March till frost’


1972 – FJW
Cold spell started.1959 – FJW
B.N.A saw first primrose, November pink good – garden very late.1953 – FJW
There are still buds on Mag Grandiflora and Eucryphia pinatafolia has flowers. Heaths good – Early pink forms of Saluensis and Hamamelis. A few Sutchuenense hybrids. A good pink one in beech walk best. Frost has cut an odd early Rho Thompsonii but not scarlets which are beginning. Camellias taliensis and oleifera almost over. No Thompsonii x Arboreum out.

1931 – JCW
Much as in 1930 C speciosa is better and we have had nice Gardenia flowers up to 7 inches across. R venustum has supplied house flowers for two months.

1930 – JCW
Mucronulatum is very good, Camellia speciosa is opening in the wood and in the walk. The Hamamelis is very fine indeed, much of the wreckage of the storm of Dec 5th has been cleaned up in the New Planting and the men have done a fine work seeing the shooting parties and Christmas.

1928 – JCW
Much behind the above owing to 3 weeks of cold. Mucronulatum is not open but Hamamelis is.

1927 – JCW
H Mollis is very good, Thompsonii x Arboreum a fair lot, one Sutchuenense hybrid flower, but there are no buds to speak of in this section. A few irroratum are opening, mucronulatum has a lot of flower.