Pleasant day for a garden tour. Weather not as bad as forecast. Serena and Peter and nine dogs.
Magnolia ‘Mr Julian’ with a few half decent flowers emerging lower down.
A red form of Rhododendron arboreum that has not been this good before.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Mona Jury’ on the Main Ride.
Camellia reticulata ‘Dream Castle’ now full out.
First colour showing on Magnolia ‘Caerhays Surprise’. No frost damage!
Camellia ‘Ivory Chalice’ is a good new white variety from France.
Magnolia kobus ‘Octopus’ is just out too.
Camellia ‘Dream Boat’ is another new (to us) French import.
Camellia reticulata ‘Miss Tulare’ likewise.
Hidden behind other things below Donkey Shoe I find a long forgotten clump of 50ish year old rhodos in what was once a nursery bed. Are they Rhododendron venator or perhaps Rhododendron floccigerum? The indumentum is white-ish at this time of the year so perhaps neither. This will need rather more investigation but one of those discoveries which makes the day.
Rhododendron ‘Assaye’ (Caerhays bred) is just coming out above Crinodendron Hedge. An elderly clump with some good new layers in place.
Magnolia dawsoniana from above. Another decent tree magnolia in this year of misery for magnolias.
2017 – CHW
Another private tour party and quite a long one also.
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Snow Drift’ – very few tepals in this one compared to all the others. Pretty in its own way and worth its place on the drive by the fernery. Nicer than ‘Merrill’?
First flowers out on Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ on the drive. This one has rather stunted growth and yesterday’s rain has led most flowers to pop open.
Magnolia ‘Alixeed’ has a pleasant pink tinge as it opens but this quickly fades. I have planted too big a tree too near the drive and pruning soon.
Magnolia x proctoriana is now a big tree; 25 plus years old. A mass of flower before the leaves emerge this year which is not always the case.
Magnolia stellata ‘Royal Star’ has been damaged by wind. I wonder why stellata forms flower so much later here than the true species?
Magnolia ‘George Henry Kern’ is a lilliflora crossed with stellata. Larger flowers than usual I think.
The label has vanished here since last year but this is the second flowering of Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x ‘Black Tulip’.
After all last week’s excitement over the Cephalotaxus fortunei I thought I would have a look at the related species. This is Torreya nuncifera on Hovel Cart Road. A dullish ‘yew-like’ tree perhaps but it has defied earlier deer damage to grow away. No duller than Pseudotaxus chienii seen a few weeks ago anyway.
Nearby is Torreya taxifolia which clearly has sets of flowers which are about to produce pollen. Known as the ‘Stinking Cedar’ I gather but no idea why (yet!)? Very rare in the wild but this plant is doing well. Not exactly a showstopper either.
Magnolia nitida full out with the most marvellous scent. The stripe on the petals is not visible until the flower is fully out. Last year none were low enough down the tree to see properly but a good crop this season all over. Rain prevents more pictures today.
Went to see if the young Quercus rhysophylla ‘Maya’ in the Rookery needs a stake and it does! No sign of the wonderful new growth yet.
2016 – CHW
Rhododendron moupinense by the cashpoint has emerged unexpectedly from an overpowering podocarpus. You cannot say it is flowering early and no earlier than the Rhododendron ‘Golden Oriole var Talavera’ shown on Monday.
Nearby is an elderly surviving clump of Sarcocca hookeriana var dignya. This is the sole survivor from my pre 1992 planting when the cashpoint and car park area as it is now was a vegetable garden for the house (known as Georges (as in George Blandford who was my childhood mentor) Garden and around which I once had aviaries for 15 plus breeds of ornamental pheasants). Today it looks as though it has always been tarmac with a few plants around it. Times change! The first public opening of the garden was in 1992.
Another plant which is arguably late into flower in this early season is, surprisingly, Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood’ on the bank by the gents’ loo. Of the three plants here only one is ‘Lynwood’ which I planted 40 years or so ago. This is the one pictured. The others have smaller flowers and are not showing at all yet.
You will not often see daffodils, a bluebell and copious primroses all out at the same time. I repeat that bluebells in March are absurd!
Camellia ‘Noblissima’ still has plenty of flower (and the wind has blown down the horrid brown dead old ones) outside the front door. It is now a full three months since I photographed the first flower here and still a good show today. The question so frequently asked by (supposed) gardeners is ‘how long does it flower for?’. They do not need to buy a plastic one here!
The daffodils on the bank have shrunk in quantity over the last 30 to 40 years since I remember them being moved here from the Kitchen Garden. My father blamed the peacocks for spreading the eel worm which has apparently slowly been killing them (‘blind’ bulbs with no flower and yellowing tips to the leaves). In the old days daffodil bulbs were boiled in an urn to kill eel worms once a year before the days of insecticides and one of these urns still survives at Burncoose. Eel worms bore into the bulbs to lay their eggs which then emerge to devour the bulbs from within. Quite how a peacock, which would eat any sort of worm of insect, can be blamed for this I have no idea. The peacocks which existed here for 50 years have now died out or moved away anyway. Nevertheless a particularly fine show from some varieties today and no sign (yet) of yellowing leaves. I suspect weed killer and mowing off the old leaves too quickly are more likely to be the problem than any worms!
Rhododendron siderophyllum (second showing but different plant) is very fine outside the front gate. One surviving plant of three which is I fear normal for this type of rhodo.
Just as one of the two specimen monkey puzzles, planted in about 1830 at Burncoose, suddenly dies so we have a nice young one here just starting its new growth. Not yet sure if this is a male of a female. A mature plant which I believe is female is 100 yards away. I planted two here but the strimmer got one after a few years.
2015 – CHW
Ann Swithenbank from the BBC Radio 4 Gardeners Question Time rings me at Burncoose to enquire which magnolias flower for a second time in September/October. She needs to answer a tricky question. Magnolia soulangeana and Magnolia lilliflora nigra and their various hybrids exhibit this characteristic. Magnolia ‘March-till-Frost’, and Magnolia ‘Star Wars’ are perhaps the best examples but the secondary flowers are often a muddy purple and hidden by the leaves. Swithenbank does not offer a fee for this information for which she is being paid so perhaps we may get a mention sometime.
2003 – FJW
608 adults come round the garden – fine day – DRY.
1997 – FJW
2000+ around garden after too heavy publicity – DRY.
1994 – FJW
Very wet first quarter.
1986 – FJW
Very late year – pink Campbellii ‘seen’ by Easter public for first time for a long while.
1963 – FJW
David took first solo steps.
1962 – FJW
As expected magnolias poor – Salicifolia, Diva, Robusta, Campbellii and molicomata in that order of success. Reticulatas skinned of leaf. No azaleas out at all.
1945 – CW
Rob came down for the first time and saw the last flowers of Magnolia campbellii – Sargentiana, Robusta, Dawsoniana and Diva. Rho sinograndee at its best. Reds very good and the first of the Arboreum – Auklandii hybrids. Blue Tit, Yellow Hammer, scintillans and Camellia all very good. The Bullatum x Moupinense are very nice.
1933 – JCW
All the Corylopsis are very good indeed. Cherries just starting to open. Hybrid Calophytums are good and so the species. Rho fargesii is very nice.
1930 – JCW
Corylopsis pauciflora is very nice. C williamsii fair.
1920 – JCW
The double cherries are nearly at their best.
1915 – JCW
Bean left. Frost had cut all the stuff, but some Fortuneiis stood it.
1900 – JCW
Jacko just pinched out, none of the above within five days of being open.
1899 – JCW
Several G mundi, G of Leiden. Sir Watkin, Scott (1), Griflamme, all Torch. Plenty of Blackthorn in flower, a few tulips, Jacko open.