2022 – CHW
The grand tour of Cornish gardens with the 31 RHS Fellows continues.
Illicium philippinense (CWJ 12466) in flower in the Rookery.
My quest for ‘Delia Williams’ is now bearing fruit! From the material that was brought in to the Rosemoor Show, not just from Caerhays, but also from Mount Edgcumbe and by Pat and Peter Bucknell, we were able to clearly identify the marked differences between the many petalled ‘Citation’ and the much neater plant ‘Delia Williams’. Even the foliage shows a marked difference between the two – ‘Citation’ being more rounded, whilst ‘Delia Williams’ leaves are longer and narrower. The ‘Delia Williams’ flowers exactly matched the 1964 photograph – see attached.
I am more determined than ever to get the record set straight in the International Camellia Register. Jim Stevens is actually planning to get involved with UK camellia registrations and is prepared to help me with this so that the plant can be correctly and individually identified in its own right as ‘Delia Williams’ together with the credited RHS Award of Merit given in 1964. There are no records at Trewithen regarding where the plant came from, but we do have the background story to add to the Register. The plant registered as ‘Citation’ by Charles Puddle at Bodnant is somewhat obscure too, but there are no leads to link ‘Citation’ from Bodnant to Trewithen so it seems a mystery as to how the two became linked. Ned Lomax, ex Glendurgan, has now taken up the position of Head Gardener at Bodnant. He has already contacted me to say that he is on the case to see what he can sleuth out at that end!
Finally, our long-planned trip here with Nick Lock to view some of the dull and rare plants in the following families – Schinus, Foresteria, Shepherdia and Melicytus. Nick had sent me pictures of his Schinus latifolius (attached here) which came from Burncoose many moons ago. We looked at what I think may be our Schinus polygamus or Schinus mole which had lost most of its leaves in the cold below Tin Garden. Neither of us are sure if it is correctly identified as either. We expected Melicytus crassifolius to have yellow flowers but ours has pinkish ones. The plant of M. crassifolius which Nick kindly gave us did have white rounded berries. I have never seen any berries on our plant. It may be another species of Melicytus or it may not but we do have another plant with smaller darker leaves which looks more true to name.
Not much further on with these dull plant puzzles.
Nick left the following plants with us:
Coprosma ‘Autumn Orange’
2020 – CHW
The Prime Minister announces at 8.30pm last night that ‘we all have to stay at home’. Lockdown finally so I rush down to Burncoose with Michael Gove’s announcement this morning that building sites could stay open (with social distancing). KPK have already decided to close completely and we ‘furlough’ our 13 fulltime staff and lay off a similar number of subcontractors who will have to fend for themselves with a government handout. All the builders merchants are shut so work on sites cannot continue and our customers on sites have asked us to leave. Not what I had expected from meetings only last Thursday.
Burncoose Nurseries is now shut to the public as of this morning. However mail order orders continue to arrive on the internet faster than we have ever experienced before. Some have gone home but most staff remain picking and packing orders. The couriers are adamant that home deliveries will carry on so we carry on for as long as we can to fulfil them. Internet mail order businesses are having a bonanza which will no doubt engender a public backlash soon. If we do have to shut down totally we will still have four staff doing the watering who live on site with Andrew supervising and Steve manning a phone from home if need be.
The end of ‘freedom’ but have we ended up with fascism or communism? Not much difference perhaps but state control is state control. Boris would argue he has, so far, avoided anything other than pleading with us to ‘obey’. The Chinese saw it rather differently with armed authority and the Italians are showing that dictatorial powers are alive and well in a former fascist state. Will ‘normality’ as we have known it ever completely return?
A few fleeting plants on show to nobody in the nursery sales point.
Prunus incisa ‘The Bride’
This Magnolia ‘Shirraz’ is perfect today while the other two big ones were destroyed by last week’s hailstorms.
2019 – CHW
Some nice things along Sinogrande Walk.
Acer x conspicuum ‘Red Flamingo’ with its new leaves emerging.
A garden tour with shooting friends and clients in the rain. The gator for the 89 year old who very much enjoyed it and had a proper Cornish accent! The cold damage which we saw is now sadly far more evident.Leaf drop from frost damage on the evergreen Hoheria populnea ‘Variegata’. The tree is almost completely defoliated although it looked fine 10 days ago. I had feared the worst for these variegated Hoherias.
2017 – CHW
A Burncoose day to decide how to cope with a 34% increase in internet order numbers over last March and to prepare emergency measures if the packing sheds do get swamped. Still time for a few more new website pictures though.
The purchases (mainly acers) from the Lees & Co closing down sale have arrived in good order.
One of the finest things in the garden today after a mild winter is the very tender Rhododendron stenaulum (now renamed Rhododendron moulmainense) from Moulmein in Burma. The plant with its very attractive peeling bark is about 15-20ft tall. We used to have a white form above the wall which once got Dr Davidian, the great rhodo expert and author from The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, into a huge state of excitement. We have grown this ourselves from seed but never from cuttings as yet.
2015 – CHW
Off to Monica Dance’s funeral in Camborne with a bad hangover. Monica’s husband, Arnold Dance, ran Burncoose Gardens for 42 years until his retirement in about 2002. Monica’s son, Steve Dance, was born at Burncoose Lodge and currently runs the Burncoose office.
Her coffin was covered with a huge spray of Camellia x williamsii ‘Monica Dance’ which Arnold bred at Burncoose.
1993 – FJW
Very little rain for 8 weeks – garden very early – most of the Magnolias are over. Visited Marwood Hill.
1980 – FJW
Flower still out on Lanarth seedling above crino hedge.
1979 – FJW
First flower spotted on Magnolia ‘Mr Garden’.
1978 – FJW
Still wet and windy Caerhays Belle excellent – best new USA Camellia Kramer’s Supreme. Poor flowers on Lanarth seedlings above crino hedge.
1976 – FJW
F/M Monygomery died. Frost knocked out Magnolias except in Rookery; the Diva, – Rogers Quarry – all above frosted.
1962 – FJW
Killed Moorhen marked by Copenhagen Zoo.
1960 – FJW
The east wind stopped after a week. The Diva at its best as is the Robusta above E.R’s Quarry. Calophytum sutchuenense hybrids best rhodo in the garden.
1952 – CW
Old Magnolia robusta no buds – 3 out of 5 young out, one fully (Donkey Shoe), Campbellii at best. Also old Mollicomata ¼ out, rest not including ten young with buds. Salicifolia one good. Diva a few flowers. Reticulatas and St Ewe at best. Saluenensis past best. Daffodils mid stream. Barbatum at best.
1941 – CW
Magnolia sargenteana fully out – Mollicomata beginning – Campbellii been out some days. Salicifolia below Engine House good. Denudata not ¼ out. Rhodo Blood Reds at their best also Sutchuenense hybrids, Daffs nearly at their best. Barbatum perfect – Cam reticulata species at their best – Reticulata not out.
1914 – JCW
Blackthorn well out under the drive, picked 3 buds of seedling Poet.