11th March

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

The first Rosemoor Show is a disaster. The tent erected collapses so the classes are stuck in various rooms. We stage the magnolias on Friday night and they have flopped badly in the heat by the time of judging. No cup this year (first time for five years!). This is what they originally looked like! A confused show with a few nice things which were new:

magnolias on Friday night
magnolias on Friday night
magnolias on Friday night
magnolias on Friday night
magnolias on Friday night
magnolias on Friday night
magnolias on Friday night
magnolias on Friday night
magnolias on Friday night
magnolias on Friday night
Acacia potaczeki was attractive and new to me.
Acacia potaczeki
Acacia potaczeki
Acacia potaczeki
Acacia potaczeki
Pieris formosa var forrestii ‘Rowallane Spike’ – flowers as its name implies.
Pieris formosa var forrestii ‘Rowallane Spike’
Pieris formosa var forrestii ‘Rowallane Spike’
Illicium simonsii won a cup (Trewithen). The flowers are rather hidden in the foliage.
Illicium simonsii
Illicium simonsii
Illicium simonsii
Illicium simonsii
Grevillea williamsonii – not my namesake but nice enough.
Grevillea williamsonii
Grevillea williamsonii
Grevillea williamsonii
Grevillea williamsonii
Then on into the Rosemoor garden which looks better every year. More work, more planting and even better labelling. Mulching is the key and the new beds are nicely planted with the rare and the common for all types of gardener.
A few things to consider obtaining for the 2018 Burncoose catalogue:Leucothoe fontanesiana Whitewater ‘Howw’ – large flowers, tall growing and an attractive habit. The best flowering leucothoe I have seen albeit with variegated foliage.
Leucothoe fontanesiana Whitewater ‘Howw’
Leucothoe fontanesiana Whitewater ‘Howw’
Leucothoe fontanesiana Whitewater ‘Howw’
Leucothoe fontanesiana Whitewater ‘Howw’
Leucothoe fontanesiana Whitewater ‘Howw’
Leucothoe fontanesiana Whitewater ‘Howw’
Prunus laurocerasus ‘Castlewellan’ – a great deal better than our erratic ‘Marbled White’.
Prunus laurocerasus ‘Castlewellan’
Prunus laurocerasus ‘Castlewellan’
Prunus laurocerasus ‘Castlewellan’
Prunus laurocerasus ‘Castlewellan’
Pittosporum dallii
Pittosporum dallii
Schefflera delavayi growing well with a little leaf yellowing over winter.
Schefflera delavayi
Schefflera delavayi
Schefflera delavayi
Schefflera delavayi
Pittosporum dallii – looks more like a pseudopanax.
Pittosporum dallii
Pittosporum dallii
Pittosporum dallii
Pittosporum dallii
Pittosporum dallii
Pittosporum dallii
Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue Giant’ would make an easy spring bulb pot sale with little effort.
Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue Giant’
Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue Giant’
Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue Giant’
Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue Giant’
Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue Giant’
Chionodoxa forbesii ‘Blue Giant’
Rhododendron Nimrod Group was very fine. A Rhododendron barbatum cross?
Rhododendron Nimrod Group
Rhododendron Nimrod Group
Forsystia x intermedia ‘Goldrush’ – huge flowers on this excellent form which was also for sale in their garden centre. I saw this last year too.
Forsystia x intermedia ‘Goldrush’
Forsystia x intermedia ‘Goldrush’
Forsystia x intermedia ‘Goldrush’
Forsystia x intermedia ‘Goldrush’
Forsystia x intermedia ‘Goldrush’
Forsystia x intermedia ‘Goldrush’
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ – a superb and rare tree but could you ever grow it into a saleable state in a pot? (Recently reclassified as xanthocyparis rather than chamaecyparis.)
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’
Aucuba japonica ‘Dentata’ – for shape and density as a large evergreen this was quite a surprise even if you do not like aucuba!
Aucuba japonica ‘Dentata’
Aucuba japonica ‘Dentata’
Aucuba japonica ‘Dentata’
Aucuba japonica ‘Dentata’
Aucuba japonica ‘Dentata’
Aucuba japonica ‘Dentata’
Chionodoca ‘Pink Giant’ – a good light pink form too which appeared to self sow itself.
Chionodoca ‘Pink Giant’
Chionodoca ‘Pink Giant’
Chionodoca ‘Pink Giant’
Chionodoca ‘Pink Giant’
Chionodoca ‘Pink Giant’
Chionodoca ‘Pink Giant’

And a few more novelties in the show itself when the judges eventually finished (late!).Magnolia (Michelia) maudiae – much larger flowers than I have ever seen before from Tregye.

Magnolia (Michelia) maudiae
Magnolia (Michelia) maudiae
Magnolia (Michelia) maudiae
Magnolia (Michelia) maudiae
Rhododendron vialii – almost a vireya but what a red!
Rhododendron vialii
Rhododendron vialii
Rhododendron vialii
Rhododendron vialii
Our Camellia ‘Lipstick’ is well worth propagating – no prize for this though.
Camellia ‘Lipstick’
Camellia ‘Lipstick’
Camellia ‘Sweet Jane’ a new Camellia transnokoensis hybrid so probably very tender. Better just opening than full out as you can see.
Camellia ‘Sweet Jane’
Camellia ‘Sweet Jane’

2016 – CHW
Berries linger in profusion on a sorbus tree (one of three in a row) above The Hovel. I think this was a Werrington plant from 40 plus years ago and the name may come to me. The original is in the Chinese Garden at Werrington. I have watched these berries since November and the pheasants as well as other birds have ignored them completely. On balance I do not think I will taste one.
sorbus tree berries
sorbus tree berries
The newish unnamed magnolia nearby (photographed last Sunday) is now full out and, despite being in the teeth of Wednesday’s northerly gales, there are still some good flowers. It is nice but my confirmed view is that it is not worth naming and registering as I had suspected previously. It may of course improve with age and it has been partly blown open early.
unnamed magnolia
unnamed magnolia
unnamed magnolia
unnamed magnolia
Evergreen Azalea ‘Shin-sekai’ with its white ‘hose-in-hose’ flowers is out very early by Red Linney. The last survivor of a once large clump.
Azalea ‘Shin-sekai’
Azalea ‘Shin-sekai’
Azalea ‘Shin-sekai’
Azalea ‘Shin-sekai’
The last few flowers on Rhododendron ‘Winter Intruder’ hang on in the sun. It must be nearly two months since I first pictured this group of young plants coming out below the drive.
Rhododendron ‘Winter Intruder’
Rhododendron ‘Winter Intruder’
Azalea ‘Greenway’ has a few rogue flowers out two months early. I saw this too on a plant near Trewithen House in early February and at Burncoose.
Azalea ‘Greenway’
Azalea ‘Greenway’
Magnolia ‘Pickards Garnet’ (possibly ‘Pickards Ruby’) has taken a heavy wind battering. The inside of the tepals will be white when fully open as are the tips now.
Magnolia ‘Pickards Garnet’
Magnolia ‘Pickards Garnet’
Magnolia denudata ‘Forrests Pink’ has also been more or less blasted away. Interesting to remember that we saw secondary (and darker) flowers on the same tree only last October.
Magnolia denudata ‘Forrests Pink’
Magnolia denudata ‘Forrests Pink’
The Meliosma flexuosa up Hovel Cart Road has still got most of last year’s leaves on the small tree. Bizarre! So we will not easily see the wonderful orange downing on the new leaf buds as they open soon which are one of the best features of this new and rare tree which we have yet to see flower.
Meliosma flexuosa
Meliosma flexuosa
The tangled mess that was the Higher Quarry Nursery bed can now be inspected in safety. The huge beech tree has pulverised everything including the rare Lyonia ovalifolia in the middle of the nursery. I guess this may well reshoot if cut back to near the base. That is about all that is left of it anyway. I see that my three Rhododendron calophytum have only been hit by twigs so those at least can now be moved as planned to a newly cleared site for them above the veitchii. It will take four men at least three days to carefully clear this mess and save whatever small rhododendrons that have not been crushed. The nursery bed fence will need to be completely rebuilt and quite where to have the bonfire is not obvious as yet without doing even more damage. We cannot have a fire in the nursery and expect to carry on using it for this purpose since the fire will sterilise the soil for decades. The only positive which comes from this disaster is that the nursery will, in future, have much more daylight and plants will grow better in it.
tangled mess that was the Higher Quarry Nursery bed
tangled mess that was the Higher Quarry Nursery bed
tangled mess that was the Higher Quarry Nursery bed
tangled mess that was the Higher Quarry Nursery bed
Above Higher Quarry Nursery and the mess are two rather delicate semi evergreen azaleas: one pink and one mauve. I have now idea of their names so need to consult the planting records again. Planted pre 1997 anyway.
Pink azalea
Pink azalea
Mauve azalea
Mauve azalea

Adjacent I find the first pieris of the year in flower.

first pieris of the year in flower
first pieris of the year in flower
Below Donkey Shoe is another storm casualty I mentioned on Wednesday. One of three mature Pieris ‘Charles Michael’ which has already had to be cut up to clear the path for visitors.
another storm casualty
another storm casualty
Another small Magnolia ‘J C Williams’ has a slightly blasted bud but what a colour. Its colleague was pictured on Sunday but had blown open prematurely and was far too pale and pink. This one is more like it yet no colour on the original tree on the drive.
Magnolia ‘J C Williams’
Magnolia ‘J C Williams’
On the bank at Hovel Cart Road is Lindera cercidifolia (planted 2002) coming nicely into flower and growing well in full sun. According to the reference books this is now Lindera obtusiloba (seen in bud last week). To me its growth habit is quite different to Lindera obtusiloba as are its flowers. Need to check the leaves later on. I suspect there is a good botanical muddle amongst the new lindera species found fairly recently mainly in China and introduced to the UK via the USA and Crug Farm. An interesting and appealing genus of which half are evergreen and half deciduous. Lindera megaphylla has been a survivor here for 100 years as has Lindera communis which now looks sick. ‘New Trees’ again records Lindera communis as ‘new’ when it clearly is not. I lose track of how many times we can prove this. If only the authors had consulted us a bit more before publication of such a valuable reference book! So called experts disagreeing is great fun.
Lindera cercidifolia
Lindera cercidifolia
Lindera cercidifolia
Lindera cercidifolia

2015 – CHW

MAGNOLIA Bishop Peter
MAGNOLIA ‘Bishop Peter’
MAGNOLIA Bishop Michael
MAGNOLIA ‘Bishop Michael’

My father named two very early flowering Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedlings ‘Bishop Peter’ and‘Bishop Michael’ (two bishops of Truro from the 1980s). Peter is darker purple and sometimes the first magnolia to show colour in the garden by Georges Hut; but not this year although it is full out today. There has been much recent debate as to what has happened to the much paler ‘Bishop Michael’ and where he is today? Michael used to be in Rogers Quarry but was cut down 15 years ago to make room for the Magnolia campbellii Alba and a much darker but more true to type and later flowering Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling. However scions must have been sent to Eisenhut in Switzerland for propagation since there are very pale upright growing Lanarth seedlings at Caerhays and Burncoose. At Burncoose the plant is on the edge of the front lawn at 8 to 10 feet. At Caerhays the newer plant, which is undoubtedly also ‘Bishop Michael’ (although just labelled Lanarth), is 10 to 12 feet with 30 plus flowers full out. Both plants are worthy of proper naming and registration with the international Magnolia Society. The original ‘Bishop Peter’, in keeping with its parentage, is slow growing and compact but no more than 15 to 18 feet tall after 50 years. Jim Gardiner wants plants of each for Wisley.

2000 – FJW
Magnolias at their peak. Very good year indeed.

1958 – FJW
Cold continues 8-10 degrees of frost.


1931 – JCW
We had a frost last night which cleared the best lot of bloom we ever had on Rhodo’s on this day in March.1928 – JCW
A frost on Friday night (9th) cut out almost all our argenteum blooms and some others but no hope in the ground.1915 – JCW
A late daff year, a few trumpets red 32 and 197 trumpet open. The first buds of Auklandii x Arboreum opening, a bud or two Mrs Butler x Arboreum, several opening. Thomsonii x Arboreum just about there. Prunus pissardi moderate, too much bullfinch and a bad bad year for them. Some reticulatas show colour, many Lady Clares open.1912 – JCW
(see 1897 the earliest year) CJ Backhouse over, many coloured flat eyes open and Magnolia halleana (stellata) is good. The red ribes are opening, Berberis darwinii shows colour, Prunus pissardi is well over. R ciliatum good, R barbatum going back.

1909 – JCW
None of the 1905 things open, plants have been at a standstill for a long while and we have a cold north gale now.

1905 – JCW
Narcissi King A open, also early de Graaff and white Princeps.

1899 – JCW
Narcissi horsfieldii one flower open, M Mume ditto, all G Spur, many Rho praecox, Mag halleana several, Dauntlep well out, flowers of 23, all the Italian.

1897 – JCW
Some Narcissi Emperor out, CJ Backhouse, M mume, K Spurrell (nearly), all the Golden Spur and Rho praecox seedlings. Jacko out.

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