5th 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

Camellia ‘Inspiration’ (Camellia reticulata x Camellia saluenensis) is just out on the castle wall. When I look it up I am even more confused with Camellia ‘Salutation’ (same cross) which I photographed a fortnight ago. I have always known this plant as ‘Inspiration’ but the reference books say that I have it the wrong way around. ‘Salutation’ is light pink and ‘Inspiration’ darker – apparently? ‘Inspiration’ was once also known as ‘Delia Williams’ (my mother). This is the weaker growing of the two hybrids anyway with sparser flowers and slightly insipid foliage.

Camellia ‘Inspiration’
Camellia ‘Inspiration’
Camellia ‘Inspiration’
Camellia ‘Inspiration’
Off to Penvergate to view the early magnolias here.
Like last year I have largely missed Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’ but there are a few decent smallish flowers left. A good tree though. I need to get to see the original at Sidbury in Devon one day.
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
This Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’ was horrid and blown away last year and I gave it a good slagging off. It is actually a rather good near white when fully open and I guess a campbellii x mollicomata hybrid. Not really a pure campbellii shape? When I look it up it is a Gresham hybrid and should be a dark red – so wrongly named.
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’
A rather surprising red hybrid of my father’s right at the end of the clearing. I need to look up its parentage. Just one 10-12ft plant has survived from what was originally a clump.
red hybrid
red hybrid
red hybrid
red hybrid
Another pink hybrid amid a clump of FJW seedlings.
pink hybrid
pink hybrid
pink hybrid
pink hybrid
Amid the rain the magnolias stand out proud. 156 visitors yesterday had responded to the TV and ‘Spring has Sprung’. Quite a few today too between the showers.
magnolias stand out proud
magnolias stand out proud
magnolias stand out proud
magnolias stand out proud
magnolias stand out proud
magnolias stand out proud
magnolias stand out proud
magnolias stand out proud
A flash of magnolia colour in Forty Acres. A visit needed if it clears up.
magnolia colour in Forty Acres
magnolia colour in Forty Acres
Another new clump of Ron Scamp’s Narcissus cyclamineus hybrids opposite the front door. These may be the best of the three batches to propagate from.
Narcissus cyclamineus hybrids
Narcissus cyclamineus hybrids

2016 – CHW
Strong north wind makes camera shots difficult so today’s pictures will be even worse than usual. Anything moving does not come into focus! It may however dry the ground out and not before time too. Plenty of snow in the Midlands.A grafted Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’ is flowering for the first time just below Hovel Cart Road. Absolutely true to the original ‘Diva’ flowers so we now have three flowering plants 10 to 20 years of age which are all true. Most of the seedlings and a few bought as ‘Diva’ (eg front lawn at Burncoose) are not divas even if they may be sprengeri.
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’
Magnolia ‘Pickards Stardust’ (a Magnolia kobus cross) is coming out. Purportedly it has a nice scent but far too windy today. I have not seen this one in flower before. Nice shape for a smaller garden.
Magnolia ‘Pickards Stardust’
Magnolia ‘Pickards Stardust’
Magnolia ‘Ruth’ is tremendous above Hovel Cart Road despite the cold wind. Is ‘Ruth’ that much different from ‘Aurora’ I wonder? Both very nice New Zealanders.
Magnolia ‘Ruth’
Magnolia ‘Ruth’
Magnolia ‘Ruth’
Magnolia ‘Ruth’
The first windblown and far too pale flowers on the young Magnolia ‘J C Williams’. We planted three together in this exposed site but only two have made it slowly.
Magnolia ‘J C Williams’
Magnolia ‘J C Williams’
A windblown Magnolia Darjeeling is just going over. This is now a bigger tree than the 1991 plant near Georges Hut and the smaller one above the veitchiis. How do you describe a colour such as this in words? Even with the voluminous RHS colour chart (which would be a painter’s delight) the descriptions are too obtuse to be meaningful to anyone but a colour ‘junkie’.
Magnolia Darjeeling
Magnolia Darjeeling
Nearby the first enkianthus are rushing into leaf far too early for Chelsea unfortunately. So we now have oak, sycamore and enkianthus (with bluebells) all in leaf absurdly early in the first days of March.
enkianthus
enkianthus
Camellia ‘Drama Girl’ is coming out at the Hovel Turning. Quite a shy flowerer but with huge flowers. May do for the show bench at Rosemoor show next weekend.
Camellia ‘Drama Girl’
Camellia ‘Drama Girl’
Camellia ‘Drama Girl’
Camellia ‘Drama Girl’
Sycoparrotia semedicidua is far from deciduous after this winter. The flowers are supposed to be out in ‘late winter’ but the black buds are still closed up tight. A large fir tree overhangs here so I do not dwell in the gale.
Sycoparrotia semedicidua
Sycoparrotia semedicidua
I notice too that Acer negundo ‘Violaceum’ has inflorescences (or tassels of drooping flowers if you prefer). These are dancing in the wind so the many pictures I took will be blurred! This is always early to show and, I suspect, right on time.
Acer negundo ‘Violaceum’
Acer negundo ‘Violaceum’
The 120 year old Camellia ‘Lady Clare’ is now full out by the front door with a little hail/wind damage. I wonder how long camellias live even in poor soil in an exposed spot like this? Japanese temples have camellias which are hundreds of years old so this is ‘nothing’ I suspect. As far as I know this plant has never been cut back to reshoot and rejuvenate itself and it is probably too old for that now anyway. A bit of dung around the roots would help.
Camellia ‘Lady Clare’
Camellia ‘Lady Clare’
Camellia ‘Lady Clare’
Camellia ‘Lady Clare’

2015 – CHW

Magnolia 'Strybing White'
Magnolia ‘Strybing White’

Following a visit to Mount Congreve gardens in Eire in 2005 we were sent three scions of the yellow flowered Magnolia campbellii by their head gardener. This had been seen in the wild in Bhutan but the only known plant in cultivation was at Mount Congreve. The Caerhays plant has five buds at 8 to 10 feet tall. The outer tepals are indeed a good yellow as they open but quickly fade to pure white. The New Zealand Magnolia ‘Strybing White’ also has greenish-yellow outer tepals but these flop and droop quickly without the shape or form of Magnolia campbellii. So we have something new and different but not perhaps quite as staggeringly different or unique as myth and garden rumour would have had us believe. The Mount Congreve plant grows near the estuary and when we saw it is was in bud with yellow buds exactly as the Caerhays plant is today.

1996 – FJW
Early Magnolias frosted and slow. Tregolls Road stellata shows flower but not Nursery one here.

1968 – FJW
First flower on the Donkey Shoe Robusta – has been cold and raw but not much frost.

1961 – FJW
Donkey Shoe Robusta and Old Gent at their best. 2 perfect days.

1960 – FJW
Donkey Shoe Robusta began to flower.


1934 – JCW
Not a sign of a flower on Magnolia denudata Wilson.

1933 – JCW
Very few daffs open, R praecox very good – no Magnolias show bloom. Rho sutchuenense is in flower, Rho lutescens is quite fine, cold and all.

1932 – JCW
Five weeks of rain left cold. Rhodo’s kept going but absence of buds prevents a show. No magnolias yet. Rho praecox and Erica hybrids are very good.

1928 – JCW
A bad year for Rho praecox. Mag denudata Wilson has but one flower open. Lutescens is very good indeed.

1926 – JCW
Rho praecox nearly over. Some Sutchuenense are good, more Calophytums, Magnolia kobus one is well open, Magnolia denudata Wilson never better, Barbatums good, Rhodo red hybrids good, Sutchuenense hybrids in Beech Walk remarkable, over 70 species of Rhodo’ show flower, Fargeisii group the best of all.

1925 – JCW
Very near 1923, Rho Praecox is good for the season now, Reticulata has been open for weeks but flowers miserable also Lady Clare. No magnolias yet.

1923 – JCW
Sutchuenense turning back, Kobus not open, Daffodils well on, yellow trumpets just about their best, heaths are more or less open, Berberis fasicularis is the best thing out, Subhirtellas in the Old Park are starting.

1922 – JCW
Sutchuenense ½ open. Rho praecox ruined by the heat of last year. Wild daffodils are very good. Mag halleana (stellata) and kobus are just starting. On the whole a late season.

1914 – JCW
Blood red arboreum hybrids just at their best and so the Barbatum, Prunus pissardi and Rho praecox also Rho lutescens, Rho argenteum ⅔ open.

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