2018 – CHW
The heatwave gets even worse. The big leafed rhododendrons might last another week without rain before they collapse and die but no more than that. Some rain promised for Sunday we hope!
Despite everything here is a magnolia seedling self-sown in Rookery Nursery Bed. Again it seems to have escaped the sprayer and the drought.
2017 – CHW (photos to follow)Three of our six dogs have come with us to Seaview. ‘Cubbie’, ‘Nuttie’ and ‘Nickel’ are in repose on the new carpet, in my chair, and checking on the passers by in the street. Wimbledon could not keep up with their destruction of tennis balls. Good job we have a fairly untended garden as turds on the beach are a ‘no, no’!
The yellow Labrador, Nutty, ran off on the foreshore late last night and only returned at 6.30am smelling of rosemary. Presumably he slept in someone’s bush. Very contrite and tired but a bad night all round to put it mildly.
Anyway up at 6am to start on the horrendously complex new Forestry Commission five year management grant application. After 25 years of these Europe has now torn up the rule book which used to encourage people to plant trees and produce timber. Now timber production is a dirty word and all they care about is climate change and removing invasive species (ie rhodos and bamboos). Brexit may make this work irrelevant but the latest government advice is to ‘apply as normal’. Since the hopeless RPA cannot produce the definitive woodland maps until next February and since our old maps are entirely different Forestry Commission ones I cannot get that far but I still have not completed one form after six hours and there are two other agreements to renew for Gerrans and Burncoose after that. It took an hour to read the three part rule book of 100 pages and the woodland parcel forms require you to fill in 31 separate columns for each woodland parcel. I guess no one will ever be able to fathom it which is just how those cunt bureaucrats in Brussels like it. In February we have to do it all again online!Off to Thompsons Garden Centre in search of new catalogue plants to recover in the afternoon. Very good and well-presented plants properly cared for with a big range. Again deserted of customers on a very hot day. Family run I guess. Sits alongside all the Isle of Wight veg growers and their glasshouses and also near the famous Garlic Farm. Yet more gauras which make yesterday’s lot look not quite so good:
Gaura ‘Papillon’ – pure white, not floppy and tall growing.
Gaura ‘Rosyjane’ – another pretty bicolour one, rather floppy.
Gaura ‘Freefolk Rosy’ – variegated leaves, another bicolour with a stupid name.
Coreopsis ‘Rum Punch’ – reddish with a hint of orange. A good show again for late July in a border.
Salvia ‘Icing Sugar’ is yet another ‘new’ one of these tender things but quite nice. I wonder who raised all these. Salvia ‘Royal Bumble’ may be the best?
Lysimachia punctata ‘Alexander’ for those who like variegated leaves?
Coreopsis ‘Mango Punch’ – nicer than the rum one to me? Not a lot in it perhaps in colour but the silly name will make it sell I expect.
Lobelia ‘Burgundy’ – different and very striking but just going over here.
2015 – CHW
More welcome heavy rain and wind all night and most of the day. The hydrangea flower heads have been smashed to the ground at the Four in Hand but it is a small price to pay for proper rain on the garden planting and the new Old Park rhodos in particular.
I have discovered that Mr Ivey (see Escallonia ‘Iveyi’ earlier) was the man who managed JCW’s daffodil hybridisation programme while Mr Sargeant managed the Chinese plants. Confined to the archive (Red Room) by rain I have also found out much more about JCW’s original enkianthus collection. He wrote in the Rhododendron Society notes of 1926 (reproduced here). Enkianthus deflexus was collected several times by Forrest so it is odd that this species has died out and had to be replaced while all the others still survive albeit with many name changes. The puzzles of name changes over a century make understanding the archive and what still grows here today a slow old job in which I will make (or repeat earlier) errors. Quite fun actually! In writing my article on the arrival of Chinese oaks to Caerhays I have been particularly struck by: The fact that several of Forrest’s introductions were never grown on and these species no longer (or never) existed/survived in our gardens under their original or any other name. Some have in fact been ‘rediscovered’ as new species recently (eg Quercus griffithii).
The originas of Quercus acuta are very different. The old plant towards Tin Garden which was so cut back in the 1963 cold winter has huge erect leaves. However the three original plants near Rookery Gate are quite different in leaf form. Are both Quercus acuta? The bark and the way the bark flakes off in huge ‘flakes’ is the same but the leaf form is not. Quercus acuta with larges leaves sets acorns which do not ripen; the three at the Rookery seem not to although you would need binoculars to be certain as they are so tall and enclosed by other oaks. You can read more about all this in the International Oak Society yearbook in 2016 I hope.
If I had six months with nothing else to do I suspect I could prove or find out much more about the history of the garden and the plant collectors. The tragedy was that JCW’s original garden notebooks were lost or stolen on a train to London. My father spent much of his pre Alzheimer’s time in retirement working on exactly this but, as my mother always predicted, he never consolidated years of notes (usually illegible to any reluctant typist) and research into any conclusions or scholarly work. Like me he got carried away with the minor details of actual plants and the puzzles relating to them here rather than seeing the bigger picture.I have found that JCW planted out 200 ‘Chinamen’ in the Rockery in 1921/2. Among these was Vaccinum urceolatum one of the great puzzles of identification for the last 70 years (see earlier). This was a Forrest introduction 1917-9 (and perhaps also earlier) which JCW clearly knew the name of and wrote comments in his own (not very fair) hand. The botanists cannot be blamed for any name changes on this obscure and absurdly rare plant which has grown on quietly if obtrusively and unloved at the entrance to the Rockery for nearly 100 years. Why plant it so prominently there if it was not important?
The new Garden (day) book has arrived from the printers so I need to start that again as well for posterity. If anyone wants to read more about Caerhays then JCW’s obituary (January/February 1943) written in the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society by the Rt Rev Bishop Hunkin is good reading. It is published in full on the Caerhays website.
1925 – JCW
Very very hot and dry except for one thunder shower. The fuchsias are goodish.
1922 – JCW
400 mothers to lunch. Plagianthus is the best , poor flowers as the result of last years heat. Buddleia not open. Fortunei going over.
1919 – JCW
The Plagianthus goes back, the R ungernii would be good but for the lack of rain. Buddleias very nice. Fortuneis over. Cyclamen have started. Romneya nice.
1915 – JCW
Plagianthus lyalii is at its very best though we used it at the Route March lunch 13 days ago.
1913 – JCW
Buddleias, Mitrarias, Roses etc only fair for want of rain. One Auriculatum has started. Wilson’s big Fortuneis not all started. A few cyclamen, no lapagerias. The Mag delavayi is flowering. Seed and two year old going in or gone in.
1908 – JCW
Three beds of roses are very good. Buddleias nice, a few cyclamen up. Seed all sown, ⅞ of the bulbs are planted. One R auriculatum growing, two rhodo’s yet in flower.
1907 – JCW
Had a flower of R decorum from Danbury. Pink pelargonium good, bulbs mostly moved.