14th 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

2019 – CHW

Today an examination of Magnolia stellata and its forms growing here. Against the run of play they seem to be coming out at their normal time instead of being rather earlier than the main flush of other magnolia species. Certainly the old 1893 M. stellata planted plant on the front of the castle is later into flower than usual.

Magnolia stellata ‘Chrysanthenumiflora’ in the sun. Just coming out so you can see the vertical pink striping at its best on the outside of the tepals. This was actually labelled as Magnolia stellata ‘Kiskei’. ‘Kiskei’ is certainly pink but the striping makes it definitely ‘Chrysanthenumiflora’ I believe.

Magnolia stellata ‘Chrysanthenumiflora’
Magnolia stellata ‘Chrysanthenumiflora’
Magnolia stellata ‘Chrysanthenumiflora’
Magnolia stellata ‘Chrysanthenumiflora’
Magnolia stellata ‘Chrysanthenumiflora’
Magnolia stellata ‘Chrysanthenumiflora’
Magnolia stellata ‘Chrysanthenumiflora’
Magnolia stellata ‘Chrysanthenumiflora’
Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’ was planted in 1991 and is now about 15ft tall with a similar or wider width. An impressive show.
Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’
Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’
Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’
Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’
This is labelled Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’ (syn. stellata ‘Rosea’). It is certainly pink in bud but I do not think it is yet pink enough in flower to qualify as the true ‘Jane Platt’. We have often bought in duds like this in the nursery but perhaps I am being unfair as the plant is still small and in the teeth of the wind today. I guess it may really be Magnolia stellata ‘King Rose’ which is pink in bud fading quickly but there do not seem enough tepals.
Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’
Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’
Magnolia ‘Raspberry Fun’ was bred at the Chollipo Arboretum and is becoming a vigorous small tree. This means it is a Magnolia kobus x M. stellata (ie a x loebneri) seedling from Magnolia x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’. As I have written before this is a very good floriferous magnolia for smaller gardens.
Magnolia ‘Raspberry Fun’
Magnolia ‘Raspberry Fun’
Magnolia ‘Raspberry Fun’
Magnolia ‘Raspberry Fun’
Magnolia ‘Raspberry Fun’
Magnolia ‘Raspberry Fun’
This one is also labelled as Magnolia stellata ‘Kiskei’ but the striping is rather less pronounced and it is certainly paler. Perhaps it is!? I am now getting seriously confused.
Magnolia stellata ‘Kiskei’
Magnolia stellata ‘Kiskei’
Magnolia stellata ‘Kiskei’
Magnolia stellata ‘Kiskei’
This is supposed to be Magnolia stellata ‘Centennial’ but it is too nearly over to be certain. If there was a pink tinging in the buds, as there should have been, I have missed it.
Magnolia stellata ‘Centennial’
Magnolia stellata ‘Centennial’
Magnolia stellata ‘Centennial’
Magnolia stellata ‘Centennial’
This one is, I am pretty much sure, Magnolia stellata ‘Water Lily’ which has rather more numerous drooping tepals.
Magnolia stellata ‘Water Lily’
Magnolia stellata ‘Water Lily’
Magnolia stellata ‘Water Lily’
Magnolia stellata ‘Water Lily’
Magnolia stellata ‘Water Lily’
Magnolia stellata ‘Water Lily’
Magnolia stellata ‘Water Lily’
Magnolia stellata ‘Water Lily’
This is the 1893 planted Magnolia stellata so at least we can be sure there is no buggering about with the naming of this. There are noticeably less petals/tepals on these more simple flowers.
Magnolia stellata
Magnolia stellata
Magnolia stellata
Magnolia stellata
Magnolia stellata
Magnolia stellata
Magnolia stellata
Magnolia stellata
I have therefore managed to find almost all of the named forms of Magnolia stellata today except a decent ‘Jane Platt’. There is a decent one in the Burncoose garden.
Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’
Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’
Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’
Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’
Basically it is all about the number of tepals in each flower (although these of course vary from flower to flower on the same bush) and how the flowers present themselves when properly out. The colour bit is rather vaguer and prone to confusion.

2018 – CHW

Victoria Medal of Honour
Victoria Medal of Honour
To London (and back) in a day to receive the Victoria Medal of Honour from the RHS President, Sir Nicholas Bacon. Unusually good lunch from the RHS. Carol Klein had a burst of tears at her acceptance speech for VHM. I said one line “We are the amateurs; the plants are the professionals.” Good applause but probably because I was the last one up after an awards ceremony lasting 1½ hours.
Victoria Medal of Honour
Victoria Medal of Honour
Victoria Medal of Honour
Victoria Medal of Honour
Victoria Medal of Honour
Victoria Medal of Honour

2017 – CHW A trip to Old Park which many visitors will not yet have experienced since we cleared the debris and opened it up to the public. Today it was at its absolute best and I will let you enjoy it for yourself! Come quickly and see it too.

A young Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ flowering for the first time on the way to Old Park.

Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’
The magnolias beside the newly restored old hunt kennels are full out.
magnolias beside the newly restored old hunt kennels
magnolias beside the newly restored old hunt kennels
magnolias beside the newly restored old hunt kennels
magnolias beside the newly restored old hunt kennels
magnolias beside the newly restored old hunt kennels
magnolias beside the newly restored old hunt kennels
The view from the top of the hill looking into the wood.
view from the top of the hill
view from the top of the hill
A Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling with reasonable colour above the path.
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling
Another of the same below the path much improved since we have cleared the tree cover.
Another of the same
Another of the same
One of the three original plants here of the wild collected Magnolia campbellii Alba. This one has seldom been seen but is an absolutely pure white.
Magnolia campbellii Alba
Magnolia campbellii Alba
A Magnolia dawsoniana which is now thriving with more light.
Magnolia dawsoniana
Magnolia dawsoniana
Magnolia dawsoniana
Magnolia dawsoniana
A bold surviving Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’.
Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’
Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’
This is a fine Magnolia sargentiana robusta by the gunnera patch.
Magnolia sargentiana robusta
Magnolia sargentiana robusta
Magnolia sargentiana robusta
Magnolia sargentiana robusta
The pink form of Rhododendron arboreum in maturity.
Rhododendron arboreum
Rhododendron arboreum
Rhododendron arboreum
Rhododendron arboreum
Yet more magnolias along the top path – all perfect today.
more magnolias
more magnolias
more magnolias
more magnolias
more magnolias
more magnolias
more magnolias
more magnolias
Now down to the centre of the wood and still more!
centre of the wood
centre of the wood
centre of the wood
centre of the wood
centre of the wood
centre of the wood
centre of the wood
centre of the wood
centre of the wood
centre of the wood
A true Magnolia sprengeri var diva long lost and forgotten is now flowering nicely.
Magnolia sprengeri var diva
Magnolia sprengeri var diva
The second Lanarth seedling from below.
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ seedling
Looking back again at the old hunt kennels with five or six magnolias out today. You can see them all from the main drive which was the whole point of planting them here. Magnolias from afar!
Looking back again at the old hunt kennels
Looking back again at the old hunt kennels
Looking back again at the old hunt kennels
Looking back again at the old hunt kennels
I wonder how many magnolia flowers we have just experienced in Old Park? If we said 500 to 1,000 per tree (surely and underestimate for some) x 30 trees that would be say 20,000 blooms!

2016 – CHW
Fine, still and dry (again). Finally we have some spring warmth in the sun.Above the wall a ‘Caerhays Belle’ sister seedling is coming out. Pleasant enough and a good splash from the front door but nowhere near as good as the true Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’.
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’
The large Michelia doltsopa above the Auklandii Garden and Magnolia ‘Mr Julian’ look wonderful from Rookery Path above. Both are just past their best.
Michelia doltsopa and Magnolia ‘Mr Julian’
Michelia doltsopa and Magnolia ‘Mr Julian’
Sadly just above Rookery Path the newly registered Magnolia ‘Lanarth Surprise’ has been blown to smithereens so we will have to wait another year to see this again. Many more buds than last year.
Magnolia ‘Lanarth Surprise’
Magnolia ‘Lanarth Surprise’
A nice 25 year old Michelia doltsopa seedling above the foliage (japonica) camellias is flowering. Now about 20-30ft tall and looking well in a good spot.
25 year old Michelia doltsopa seedling
25 year old Michelia doltsopa seedling
25 year old Michelia doltsopa seedling
25 year old Michelia doltsopa seedling
In 2010 we planted three more Michelia doltsopas together nearby. All three are doing well but one has a very different leaf structure, size and form than the other two. We have seen this before with younger michelias where those with bigger chubbier leaves flower more quickly and much more profusely than those with smaller more upright leaves. Almost male and female forms as we have said before. However we cannot yet prove if one form sets seeds and the other does not and probably this is nonsense anyway. Does this leaf variation mean that some of the supposed Michelia floribundas (see yesterday) are actually differing forms of Michelia doltsopa as some have argued? The flowers are so different that I do not think so.
Michelia doltsopa
Michelia doltsopa
Michelia doltsopas
Michelia doltsopas
Michelia doltsopas
Michelia doltsopas
Michelia doltsopa
Michelia doltsopa
Next door is a big surprise. Rhododendron arboreum 5392 which turns out to be the Blood Red arboreum the last clump of which died in Forty Acres a while ago. I am not sure whose wild seed collection this was but I assume the RHS/RCMG seed distribution list 20 years or so ago. These three plants were put in in 2009. I should have smelt a rat as Jaimie entered a flower of this at Rosemoor and asked me if it was ‘Blood Red’ arboreum. The judges agreed and first prize in its class.
Rhododendron arboreum
Rhododendron arboreum
Rhododendron arboreum
Rhododendron arboreum
Above it the three huge original plants of Magnolia kobus var borealis are just starting to come out. Magnolia ‘Kews Surprise’ is not.
Magnolia kobus var borealis
Magnolia kobus var borealis
We always forget that there is another original old Magnolia campbellii above the cashpoint but hidden away behind the Magnolia veitchii (white form and late flowering). From the Rookery and against a blue sky the top bit of it is just coming out today. The rest of the flowers are nearly over and have been out for five weeks. Readers of the diary may remember that I photographed this tree which still had last year’s green leaves on it in January.
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
The first full out corylopsis on Rookery Path – I saw some exhibits on the show bench at Rosemoor but this is the first here. Coryolopsis willmottiae (sinensis) I assume.
corylopsis on Rookery Path
corylopsis on Rookery Path
The first flowers on the Magnolia campbellii Alba seedling in the Auklandii Garden with some early Rhododendron sutchuenense hybrids framing it off. Looking down on them is the best way to see magnolias.
Magnolia campbellii Alba
Magnolia campbellii Alba
I might now recap on the best plants seen in Rosemoor Gardens during the show which we need to add to the Burncoose catalogue for 2017. There were not that many actually as Torrington is about a month behind Caerhays in flowering time this year. There is evidence of recent frost damage and a colder winter than ours.

Hamamelis (mollis) brevipetala

Hamamelis (mollis) brevipetala
Hamamelis (mollis) brevipetala
Hamamelis (mollis) brevipetala
Hamamelis (mollis) brevipetala

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Aphrodite’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Aphrodite’
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Aphrodite’
corylopsis on Rookery Path
corylopsis on Rookery Path

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Rubin’

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Rubin’
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Rubin’
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Rubin’
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Rubin’

Betual albosinensis ‘Kenneth Ashburner’

Betual albosinensis ‘Kenneth Ashburner’
Betual albosinensis ‘Kenneth Ashburner’
Betual albosinensis ‘Kenneth Ashburner’
Betual albosinensis ‘Kenneth Ashburner’

2015 – CHWThe three old plants of Camellia reticulata ‘Captain Rawes’ below the Engine House are on their last legs. Despite additions of well-rotted manure over the years old age has caught up with them. At least some of these reticulatas were planted in 1897. Unlike most camellias reticulatas do not reshoot when cut down so one cannot reinvigorate them this way. This plant has always proved impossible from cuttings but James Williams’ gardener at Tregullow has managed it. A young plant now thrives in the Auklandii garden although it is a bit darker in colour than our originals.

Camellia 'Captain Rawes'
Camellia ‘Captain Rawes’
A YOUNG plant now thrives
A young C. ‘Captain Rawes’

Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’ is at its absolute best on the main ride (the yellow form) and on the drive (the pink form). This was a JCW hybrid between Rhododendron lutescens and Rhododendron moupinense which received an AM in 1937. Normally out first in February; this year’s show has remained for weeks due to the continuing mild and calm weather.

RHODODENDRON Bo Peep YELLOW form
RHODODENDRON ‘Bo Peep’ Yellow form
RHODODENDRON Bo Peep PINK form
RHODODENDRON ‘Bo Peep’ Pink form

1997 – FJW
Magnolias at their best – have rushed out – mild and fairly dry.

1985 – FJW
Serena Williams arrived at 5.10pm for her first visit. Smiled on entering. Four magnolias in flower and in sight as she did so.

1963 – FJW
Mild weather – moupinense, Golden Oriole have come through well.

1958 – FJW
Bud gone from all best Magnolias, Michelia were afflicted, culling easterly wind.


1933 – JCW
Wilsons big Magnolia shows colour, daffs are near their best. Wild duck hatched.

1929 – JCW
A very late season, but two hot dry days have pushed a good few daffs open and several hybrid rhodo’s of which the best are the Thomsonii hybrids and the Sutchuenense hybrids.

1924 – JCW
Very few Rhodo’s of any kind are opening, ciliatum with cantabile in the house and Watsonii with Calophytum outside. Fargesii, lutescens and barbatum show flowers hardly any others but hippophaeoides. The berberis hedge and the E hybrida bank are good, some reticulatas open on the top of the wall. Yellow trumpets ⅙ open.

1906 – JCW
The second lot of Chinamen arrived and were planted all were very small.

One thought on “14th March

  1. Hi Charles
    Do you think the Rhododendron Register needs changing? It gives the hybridiser of ‘Bo-peep’ as L. de Rothschild, or perhaps they both did the same cross! The yellow-flowered one got an AM in 1937 and is the cultivar ‘Bo-peep’. The pink one, and subsequent crosses of those two species, would therefore be more accurately labelled as Bo-peep Group.
    Cheers, Mike

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