2023 – CHW
A few interesting things in the nursery today.
Gentiana dahurica in full flower.
Lunch with Clare Francis, the diminutive but famous sailor from the late 1970s. This is the yacht in which she first sailed solo across the Atlantic.
Our garden in Seaview really is a mess although friends have kindly cut the grass.The jasmine has fallen off the wall and blocked the doorway out into the garden.
2020 – CHW
Another one of those wonderful small bits of the history of the estate which appeared earlier in lockdown and certainly merits space in the garden diary. I had forgotten to add it earlier and had actually put it in the estate game book.
I attach an email from Graham Webb about his great uncle and grandfather with the two photographs and my reply relating to Keepers Cottage and White Stiles Cottage (as we call them today) at The Hovel (a coal hovel from when coal was transported by sea and kept well away from any other habitation because it often self-ignited). Click here for photo 1 and photo 2
From: Graham Webb
Sent: 05 May 2020 12:19
To: Caerhays Enquiries
Subject: Tom Michael photos
The article in the Daily Telegraph (4 May( about Charles Williams and Caerhays has coincided with my revisiting our family history, and I have recently found two photos of Tommy Michael, who I believe was a keeper on the estate.
Tom is the older man on the left of the photograph. My great uncle, he was married to May Moore (a laundry maid?) whose sister Jesse married my grandfather William, the younger man on the right. The other photograph is of Tom with me, in about 1952-1953.
My father was William’s son, and spoke fondly of visits to Caerhays as a young man in the late 30s.
I hope you find these interesting. I may unearth more as I continue my work!
From: Charles Williams PA
Sent: 06 May 2020 15:26
To: Graham Webb
Subject: RE: Tom MIchael photos
Thank you very much for sending the photographs to us. The one in which you feature was taken down at White Stiles Cottage and in the background you can very clearly see, what was, the keeper’s house which was occupied from about 1955 by Gilbert Anning. The door on the left of the picture goes into his dog kennels which, amusingly, today is our central computer hub.
The second picture was taken from Lower Hellens and shows the building on the right which we are about to convert into two houses but which was a piggery until the mid-1960s. I am puzzled by the hay rick, or stooks of corn, on the left as I do not think that particular field has been ploughed in living memory. Today there is an old tin shed a bit back from the hay rick. How things have changed in 70 years! Please do let us know if you find anything more of this nature as we are planning a “Caerhays through the Ages” exhibition at some point.
As this is a day of past records I enclose another wonderful email from Sally Hayward who very kindly has spent part of lockdown transcribing old handwritten garden records of plants and seeds gifted to us here and gifts which we also made to other gardening friends during Philip Tregunna’s tenure as head gardener 1956 to 1996.
From: Sally Hayward
Sent: 28 June 2020 11:56
To: Charles Williams PA
Subject: Transcription of Philip Tregunna’s listing of Plant Gifts 1957-1995
I hope that you and all at Caerhays are keeping well and safe.
How amazing to realise that a year ago we were all beavering away at Hampton Court! It has been really strange not having any RHS events this year. I have been in total isolation since lockdown began, but quite content, enjoying my garden and the opportunity to really concentrate on research. My family ‘bubble’ being some 300 miles away seems unreachable for the time being, but we are in constant touch.
I have now been able to complete the transcription of Philip Tregunna’s Plant Gifts list, a really interesting and enjoyable project. Thank you so much for entrusting it to me. I split the work into two listings – the plants gifts sent out from Caerhays and then the gifts received. Both lists made really interesting reading and are certainly a snapshot of the horticultural ‘movers and shakers’ of the time! I followed up on the plants received at Caerhays, by, where possible, cross-matching them to my previous work on Philip’s and your father’s planting records to identify where and when they were planted out. I hope that this will be of use and interest to you. There are many plants that do not appear in the planting records. Is there another planting list or were plants held back for propagation do you think?
I found it particularly interesting that 32 Camellia sasanqua cultivars, many names that were new to me, arrived during 1959/60 from ‘Edinburgh’, presumably the RBGE, and ‘America’. It is such a pity that the actual American source is not identified. There are no records of these being planted at Caerhays within the files that you have shared with me. I believe that Caroline Bell has been in touch with you regarding the historic planting of sasanquas at Caerhays as part of her research. Would you be happy for me to share the list of these 32 cultivars with Caroline as I know that she is interested in what plants were available at this time?
Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to work on these files.
I have quite a bit of work to do to catch up with and think about what is still alive and well in the garden today from the list and what has failed/died/vanished. Continuity of such records is very important for plant identification and the garden archive going forward but I have to confess that my own gifts to others are not properly recorded. Asia is, however, meticulous about everything which we have been given (or bought) which arrives in the greenhouses so the records continue.
2019 – CHW
A visit to Southern England Farms owned by Greville Richards. 120 people in the packing and processing plant and 450 eastern Europeans working the rigs in the fields. 7,500 acres of vegetable crops in Cornwall mainly on rented ground from Land’s End to Port Eliot.
2018 – CHW
Three forms of Magnolia grandiflora with perfect flowers on, at last, a dull day:
‘D D Blanchard’
2017 – CHW
Planted only this year but here are the first flower on Philadelphus mexicanus, a tender species from Mexico and Guatemala. These flowers do not seem to have the purple blotch in the centre which the reference books mention but there is a scent.
The hydrangea Hortensia season is upon us.
The first to be full out is Hydrangea serrata ‘Bluebird’. There are two good clumps on the drive which are a decent blue in our soil.
2016 – CHW
The Game & Wildlife Trust (GWCT) shoot walk took place at Tregirls Farm above Padstow on Friday. English partridges became extinct on the farm only 10 to 12 years ago whereas, in the rest of Cornwall, it was 30 to 35 years ago. GWCT Cornwall have raised £13k to fund a reintroduction project in August with five cuvvies of grey partridges (£21 per partridge) and a part time game keeper. Tregirls is unique in having an HLS scheme designed around the corn bunting, another very rare bird. The farm has 60 acres of unharvested corn crops and 80 acres of six meter headlands which have been uncut for years. If grey partridges cannot survive in this sort of habitat it will be a surprise.
Here are some pictures of the 90 plus attendees on the shoot walk.
2015 – CHW
Getting on well with the 2016 catalogue proofing and, fortunately, the heatwave has moved on. The Phygelius in the garden has straggled up to six feet tall and needs a good chop down. One forgets that this sub shrub is capable of achieving this sort of height.
The Crinum powellii leaves have been untroubled by slugs but no flowers yet.
Alongside is a surprisingly good plant of Myrtus communis var tarentina with its very narrow leaves. This variety flowers in the autumn with pink tinges on its white flowers.
1929 – JCW
Came back from the North, Griersonianum, Eriogynum, Harrows x all very good, Mag parviflora has many flowers, M delavayi none open, the smaller Hypoleuca is good and is far the best flower of that species. Styrax wilsonii very good indeed, some discolors are good.
1921 – JCW
Very dry and hot for many weeks. The Sinograndes are frosted by the sun. Plagianthus lyallii is nice and Escallonia langleyense and some roses. R sunsnis was never so good. R moyesi is nearly over. P coulteri is very good. Some forms of Indica sinsii are to be very good near the Top Lodge.
1920 – JCW
A very nice damp growing season for the rhodo’s, some of the sinograndes have 24-26 inch leaves. Plagianthus lyallii is very nice. The Fortunei’s are nearly over, the Auriculatum hybrids about to open.
1918 – JCW
R brunonis is good. Rhodo’s lack rain very badly.
1916 – JCW
Mitraria fair. R brunosis good. R Mrs J.C Williams is nice yet , and Picatee holds on, Ingersii won’t open for a fortnight, daff seed mostly in.
1911 – JCW
Just home from London and Scotland (six weeks). R brunonis and Crimson Rambler good, not much else though Romneya is opening well. Mitraria good. Daff seed picked, say 2500.
1899 – JCW
Nigra up to 18 ft 3 in. Finished sowing daff seed, except Recurvas, from spores coming ripe.
1897 – JCW
The water lilies very well in flower.