9th 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

2018 – CHW
A filthy day with persistent rain. Jaimie and Michael are off to the Rosemoor Show with a few, mainly evergreen, exhibits and a vase or two of magnolias cut before the cold and hidden in the cellar with the buds wrapped in loo paper. That will surprise everyone!

Here are the pictures of the exhibits {from J & M).

Camellia 'Mark Allen' Second Prize
Camellia ‘Mark Allen’ Second Prize
Magnolia 'Bishop Peter' wins the Brother Vincent Cup
Magnolia ‘Bishop Peter’ wins the Brother Vincent Cup
Mike collects the Brother Vincent Cup
Mike collects the Brother Vincent Cup
Magnolia 'Bishop Peter' wins the Lamellen Cup
Magnolia ‘Bishop Peter’ wins the Lamellen Cup
Jaimie collects the Lamellen Cup
Jaimie collects the Lamellen Cup
Pieris japonica 'Valley Valentine' First Prize
Pieris japonica ‘Valley Valentine’ First Prize
Camelia 'Pink Icicle'
Camelia ‘Pink Icicle’
Podocarpus x 'Orangeade'
Podocarpus x ‘Orangeade’
Magnolia sargentiana robusta x sprengeri 'Diva' Second Prize
Magnolia sargentiana robusta x sprengeri ‘Diva’ Second Prize
Pieris japonica 'Forrest Flame', Erica arborea & Azara microphylla
Pieris japonica ‘Forrest Flame’, Erica arborea & Azara microphylla
Camellia 'Brigadoon' First Prize
Camellia ‘Brigadoon’ First Prize
While cutting for the show Jaimie spotted Mahonia aquifolium just coming out.
Mahonia aquifolium
Mahonia aquifolium
Mahonia aquifolium
Mahonia aquifolium
The Cornwall Red Squirrel Project fundraising dinner at Newquay in the evening. We raised £18k from 100 attendees addressed by Lord Gardiner, a Defra Minister with strong support for culling grey squirrels to facilitate a reintroduction in Cornwall . We have red squirrels on the ground at Trelowarren in enclosures ready to, hopefully, begin a release in the next 12 – 18 months. 2616 greys have been culled on the Lizard by 3 trappers in the last 4 years. I replied in a ‘robust’ manner to the Minister’s speech and was in danger of political incorrectness on the subject of pine martins. A subject which I discussed with the late Duke of Westminster some 2 years ago and then we had the armed response to us all getting stuck in the lift!

2017 – CHW

A rather sad trip to Less & Co (wholesale) nursery in Lymington who are closing down with planning permission to build on the site. Ten acres of polytunnels but half the covers have blown away and the remaining stock in them is poorish. Plenty of excellent acers though and we acquire 350 at £15-25 each less a big discount. Burncoose have dealt with Lees & Co for the past 35 years. We will miss them!

The nursery all looks rather sad and untended. Just a few staff left.

nursery all looks rather sad and untended
nursery all looks rather sad and untended
nursery all looks rather sad and untended
nursery all looks rather sad and untended
nursery all looks rather sad and untended
nursery all looks rather sad and untended
A nice Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ with catkins which I do not remember ever photographing before.
Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’
Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’
Trellis trained Ribes speciosum which was unusual but effective. I did not buy any!
Ribes speciosum
Ribes speciosum
A newly potted batch of Cycas revoluta were looking good and I bought 15 for £15 each.
Cycas revoluta
Cycas revoluta
Cycas revoluta
Cycas revoluta
Cycas revoluta
Cycas revoluta
Also a huge batch of Fascicularia bicolor with no colour showing yet but good plants. I bought 50 at £4 each as our stockplant in the old Burncoose conservatory was demolished in the recent building works.
Fascicularia bicolor
Fascicularia bicolor
These are our 14 specimen acers for our stand at Chelsea. We normally sell them off at the end of the show and hence the need to replace them again each year. These cost £65 to £175 each plus VAT and no discount here!
specimen acers
specimen acers
Here are some of the acers which we bought for stock or, rather, to save having to import as many of them from New Zealand again this summer.
acers which we bought
acers which we bought
acers which we bought
acers which we bought

2016 – CHW
Very wet night moves on to a howling northerly gale all day. The magnolias for the Rosemoor show are blown to buggery and trees down at Herreswater, Gerrans etc. Tractor and Ross plus Jamie and Michael flat out coping with reopening the roads/lanes. Tiresome.

trees down at Herreswater
trees down at Herreswater
trees down at Herreswater
trees down at Herreswater
The old Pieris ‘Charles Michael’ below Donkey Shoe has gone over and, worse still, a huge beech has smashed into all our young lined out rhododendron seedlings planted last summer in Higher Quarry Nursery. One hell of a mess as you can see! Big losses of rare plants some of which we planned to plant out next week.
trees down
trees down

Quite rightly Jaimie shut the garden to the public (pm) which pissed off one family who had ‘travelled for an hour’ to get to us. Around the castle it was not too bad and on the Main Ride you would hardly know that the wind was blowing. However above the Hovel the trees were swaying and snapping alarmingly. Force seven at least facing north.I had a party of Ed Clarke’s Prudential investors to take around at 3pm and had to take evasive action taking them down above Burns Bank to avoid the danger areas. They were impressed but had little plant knowledge.

On the way to cheer (me anyway) up I managed a nice picture of:Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’ (one of two just coming out) – what a colour – one in Auklandii Garden, one below Slip Rail (first flowering here two years after planting).

Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Shirraz’ on Burns Bank is now full out having started a month ago. A few new leaves have emerged beside the flowers already but are now wind scorched. A colour not dissimilar to ‘Black Tulip’ really. Both are six weeks earlier than normal / ever before. I always thought ‘Shirraz’ was a ‘muddy’ reddish-purple at Burncoose in the garden but this is nice. Some years at Burncoose the petals have had a slight white rim at the tip of the tepal but not here today. I now think this is an underrated magnolia.
Magnolia ‘Shirraz’
Magnolia ‘Shirraz’
The wind abates at dusk and the front door is no longer rattled by ‘flying’ magnolia leaves. Much greenery stripped from michelias and evergreen oaks by Georges Hut and the michelia flowers smashed up.

2015 – CHW

LEUCOJUM vernum
LEUCOJUM vernum

Leucojum vernum – Spring Snowflake – this attractive and more unusual snowdrop which enjoys shade was once prolific on the lawn but was mown and strimmed to extinction. Delighted therefore to find a large clump thriving but hidden away in the Rookery.

1991 – FJW
Picked first Magnolia (Diva x Tin Garden)

1958 – FJW
Very bad snow and frost. Bloom slashed off plants. Damage expected to be very bad. Aggravating as Magnolias were to have bloomed well.


1933 – JCW
I saw the first Kobus bloom showing colour today, the only one.1931 – JCW
One of the worst frosts for some while, it cut all the bloom and there was a fine lot of it.

1929 – JCW
The following species Rhodo’ in flower – barbatum, moupinense, scabrifolium, sulfureum, dahuricum x semperivens, dahuricum, lutescens, keiskii, a form of wardii, floccigerum forms and neriiflorum.

1922 – JCW
A hardish frost. Some Sutchuenense seedlings are nice. Prunus conradinae very good, scarlet hybrids very good. Yellow daffs well on and some good reds.

1920 – JCW
Been away nearly three weeks at 21 Belmont St. The daffodils are far on, some poets opening, yellow trumpets and early reds are far advanced, several camellias open, Rho racemosum on the wane and so is fargesii, primulinum, oreodoxa, sutchuenense. Calophytum is well out and the heaths with the Berberis hedges are very fine, there are say 50 Rhodo species open and showing flower, a very early year.

1917 – JCW
The white Camellia at the Engine House, no other open, moupinense has been lovely but cut out by the frost. No daffs but cyclamineus. Thomsonii x Arboreum have started.

1914 – JCW
The first reticulata open at the back of the Library, 272 and some of the best trumpets opening. P Mary out quite, most of 32 are crossed. P pissardi are very good.

1911 – JCW
The first C reticulata open, on a standard plant.

1905 – JCW
Southern Star and Artemis open.

1900 – JCW
Some Golden Spur and Italian Trumpet. All the standard things commonly open now are very far off.

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