2020 – CHW
A delivery to Burncoose Nurseries from Italy. Only plants which cannot host Xyella of course so a much reduced consignment this year as in recent years. Italian wholesale nurseries must be suffering badly with their export orders. This lot came from northern Italy so there is an added risk of coronavirus if anyone had shaken hands with the driver. It turns out he was Romanian and only picked up the container from a Channel port. Makes you think though does it not on both fronts of the reality of viruses in our everyday lives.
A visit to Stone Lane Garden near Chagford in Devon. It is only five minutes off the A30 and a real gem. Once the home of Kenneth Ashburner the renowned birch expert it is now the home of one of the national collections of Betula as well as a national collection of Alnus. Today it is run as a charity but needs more visitors!The only flower we saw was a hellebore and a clump Rhododendron mucronulatum around a pond.
A breathtaking display of birch bark with different species planted in clumps for greatest effect. My favourite was Betula utilis and the named clone Betula ‘Greyswood Ghost’ was also superb.
The bark of 24 species was photographed and a few named clones or hybrids. The collection has 40+ species out of the 47 which exist worldwide. Some of the mountain top low growing species do not survive our climate. If you do not find this all too dull click here to see the true beauty of so many of them.
Betula ermanii from South Korea
Betula ermanii from Mount Zao, Japan – an extraordinary combination of colours and we were given a plant of this
ALSO Betula ermanii from South Korea
Betula albosinensis var. septemtrionalis
Betula utilis ssp. jacquemontii
Betula var. commutata
Betula pendula ssp. populifolis
Betula x caerulea
Betula pendula ssp. szechuanica
Betula utilis ssp. utilis
Betula ‘Greyswood Hill’ (a Betula ermanii clone)
Betula ‘Greyswood Ghost’ (a Betula jacquemontii hybrid)
Betula ashburneri – again we were given a plant
2018 – CHW
To Burncoose to check on the snow/cold damage there. Two tunnels split and a great many burst pipes now mended. With some exceptions the plants all look to have survived pretty well in the nursery with blankets of snow for protection. The herbaceous beds seem to have even enjoyed the cold burst and are showing signs of breaking dormancy already. Reasons to be cheerful especially as February was another record month for mail order orders. The best since our records started. 1160 orders in all!
Enca carnea ‘Winter Snow’ full out and undamaged. How appropriate!
Then a lengthy presentation from an excellent business consultant hired to find a few improvements to our catalogue and website. He does and all are pleased!Back at Caerhays with a group from Holland and two Canadians who hope to bring a smart tour group to the Great Gardens of Cornwall next spring. No magnolias to show them today of course but they seem excited none the less. We create a tour plan but can they rustle up the necessary customers?
2017 – CHW
Showers and brief sunny periods.
Rhododendron Golden Orieole var ‘Talavera’ is a Caerhays hybrid between Rhododendron moupinense and Rhododendron lutescens. Short lived and not hugely floriferous but it has lovely smooth bark.
Off to Forty Acres wood to check the American magnolia collection.I can see from the drive that it has been blown and frosted away much like last year but worse. It is a pity it is so far away with so much to catch up with much nearer in the main garden.Magnolia ‘Pickards Opal’ has a few flowers of no great note.
The varied wild forms of daffodil and some that may well have crossed naturally with more cultivated species are at their best allover the place towards the Four in Hand among a crop of primroses that are just emerging.
2015 – CHW
The best magnolia in the garden today is a Magnolia mollicomata seedling above Crinodendron Hedge. Although hidden from the main visitor route it is probably today more impressive than the record Magnolia campbellii. Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ in the Auklandii garden coming out. A good rich colour this year with no wind or frost damage.
1955 – CW
No colour on any Magnolia. A few early buds of Campbellii show Feb 20 all gone. Camellias coming again including a few Reticulata large double white and hybrid pink below Tin Garden good flowers. About 6 labelled daffodils coming out – very few Rhodo’s, some reds and Sutchuenense hybrids coming out.1950 – CW
Magnolia campbellii out and flowers on stellata, Diva, White campbellii and a young Robusta almost show colour. Camellia hybrids past best, reticulata species very good. Rho moupinense hybrids good. A lot out in wood and Tin Garden. Big Michelia a lot coming out, say 100 buds.
1910 – JCW
We have a bud of Mag halleana (stellata) open, all Caerhays, Irving, Tenby etc since long, Rho argenteum and ciliatum are both good. R praecox has opened heaths very nice. Prunus triloba good, one Cam reticulata.
1903 – JCW
The same as the above, but I see no Emperor but plenty of Princep Mary, Victoria, Sir Watkin etc, it is a very early year so far and we have had hundreds of inferior seedlings open.
1897 – JCW
Most of one batch of Sir Watkin out, all N Horsfieldii, some G Spur and H irving. First Emperor shows colour, Italian trumpet out.