2020 – CHW
The true Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’ looking very fine today.
This is Michelia macclurei flowering for only the second time at Burncoose. Owen Johnson from the Tree Register recorded it as a record sized tree for the UK and Cornwall in 2016 but called it Michelia maudiae.
Certainly the leaf is very different to the maudiae I photographed here a few days ago. I have asked Tom Hudson for his opinion and Tom replied:
i havent knowingly seen a true M. macclurei or the so called var. subleana.
What I was growing as that species didnt key properly in FOC or Magnolia book and mine wasnt a known wild source plant.
What was the origin of your plant I wonder?
Maybe it will still be flowering this weekend?
There shouldnt be any difficulty with M. maudiae as it is very distinctive blue/green foliage and glabrous in all parts.
Good to have Michelia floribunda underway, really builds up flowering effect with age and the trees here are now worth looking at.
I think the M. floribunda var. tonkinensis (a Dandy name) is just a synonym of M. floribunda and should be dropped, hangover from looking at Herbarium sheets from Vietnam!
So what conclusions and excitements can we glean from the magnolia season so far?
1. It has been, and can be proven to be from this garden diary, the earliest main magnolia season on record. No wind or frost and warm mild weather in February created it. I have never seen the older campbelliis better (‘Darjeeling’, ‘Sidbury’, Alba Group).
2. Several New Zealand bred magnolias which normally come into their own later in the magnolia season are now earlier than the mollicomatas and sargentiana robustas. Notably ‘Ians Red’, ‘Shirraz’, ‘Red Lion’ and ‘Plum Pudding’.
3. The ‘Lanarth’ magnolia seedlings flowered sparsely probably disliking the last very dry summer. In the main they were out at the same time as the main flush of the other Chinese species rather than earlier as in 2018.
4. Burncoose and Tregullow were 10 days or so behind Caerhays probably because they got heavy snow on 31st January whereas Caerhays did not
5. The hybridisation work of Philppe de Spoelberg in crossing ‘Black Tulip’ and ‘Pickards Ruby’ with Caerhays bred hybrids (JCW, FJW) and the New Zealanders is producing a wonderful new crop of magnolias with smallish but very dark red flowers. ‘Venus’ (Tulip x Ruby) is an exceptional plant with great commercial potential. Others, which are flowering for the first time here, may well surpass Venus in the years to come. This is the next great leap forward in magnolia breeding which will give magnolia lovers much to admire in the next decade. JCW and FJW may be larger ‘shows’ but these new hybrids will be more suitable for smaller gardens.
6. The sprengeris which are normally so early and often battered were superb. ‘Lanhydrock’, ‘Marwood Hill’, ‘Lamellyn’ and ‘Westonbirt’ were fantastic but still not as good as ‘Diva’. However the new dark coloured sprengeri which was wild collected and given to us by Jim Gardiner may be even better in time.
7. Magnolia ‘Todds Fortyniner’ was yet again the first magnolia properly in flower by Christmas and still a reasonable show by 1st March albeit with some leaves already present by then
8. ‘Genie’ is better than ‘Black Tulip’. ‘Caerhays Belle’ is better than ‘Susannah van Veen’.
2018 – CHW
A fine and sunny day at last and we have managed to break the back of this year’s new planting. The more tender plants for the Isla Rose Plantation have gone in ahead of the formal opening on Saturday. In addition the rhododendrons from the frames are nearly all out. A couple of loads to Kennel Close and a load of very rare new things around George’s Hut in odd gaps. Still another day is needed to finish oddments.I have never seen a cone on Cunninghamia lancolata before. Jamie found this blown off from the tree in Old Park. An odd shaped seed cone which hangs down from the new growth.
Again let us let the magnolias on the drive do the talking albeit in a north west wind ‘Magnolia Mania’ is upon us.This is a Magnolia veitchii seedling planted in 2008 on Bond Street. Its second flowering and an odd musty colour in bud. This shows up poorly in this picture.
I am starting the photography to accompany an article I hope to write in the summer about michelias and manglietias. Here is the full article (Michelia Puzzles), it was published in the Cornwall Garden Society journal. A good day for photography but much of the subject matter has blown away!The largest Michelia ‘Touch of Pink’ is not out yet but becoming a very fine tree.
2015 – CHW
Narcissus ‘Mr Julian’ in full flower on the top bank above the Smoking Room window. The clump is expanding. This was a Narcissus cyclamineus hybrid bred by Ron Scamp and named after my father. Narcissus cyclamineus used to grow outside the side door (killed by dog urine on shoot days) and still does a little in the Auklandii garden. A small seedling plant of Magnolia mollicomata ‘Lanarth’ full open but with only five flowers on the bank opposite Georgian Hall. This slow growing and stunted plant is exactly as it should be as a pure wild collected seed form of ‘Lanarth’. The original six plants from China still grow in Lanarth garden on the Lizard peninsula and have an identical habit and are sparse flowerers. However this plant has only flowered twice since it was planted in 1955 (admittedly in poor soil on a hot bank). A shy flowerer indeed!
1998 – FJW
Some rain, Magnolias excellent and Camellias have never flowered better. Another mild winter.
1969 – FJW
Cold east wind gone – slight colour on ‘Mr Garden’ and campbellii – none on Donkey Shoe robusta. Saluenensis past best and williamsii nearing theirs. Wild reticulatas excellent.
1964 – FJW
East wind has gone. Colour on Magnolias for 14 days but no movement. Mag ‘Mr Garden’ and Donkey Shoe robusta very near over.
1961 – FJW
Young ducks on the pond.
1930 – JCW
No Magnolias of any kind or Reticulatas or Calophytum or Fargesii. Young ducks hatched on the pond.
1927 – JCW
Much as in 1921 excepting for the absence of most of the flower bud. Lutescens and the scarlet hybrids are good.
1921 – JCW
A great lot of Rhodo’s open, Sutchuenense at their best, Mrs Butler x coming on well, Impeditum set good, some other but forms. E darleyense remains good.
1910 – JCW
Many reticulatas, Prunus pissardi going over and has been very good, 50 bullfinches killed, Ciliatums going over.
1909 – JCW
Much as in 1901 only later.
1907 – JCW
One Camellia reticulata open, frost at night, but there is some little movement going on.
1901 – JCW
Back from Lanarth, he has one incomp open, Queen Bep, I have none. Cernuus is hardly open, H Irving well, Maximus mostly, Caerhays a good many.