10th May

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

Every year we bite our nails over which plants in the garden here and at Burncoose will be in tight enough bud to cut in a week’s time for Chelsea and which will remain looking decent for the week of the show itself.

It has been a very late spring but the warm weather in the last 10 days has made everything rush out into flower rather more quickly than I had hoped.

So it is time to review the ‘usual suspects’ which are normally fit to cut for the show. Many are the same as most years but there are problems!

Magnolia sieboldii is in tight bud still and should be perfect.

Magnolia sieboldii
Magnolia sieboldii
The mature plant of Schefflera taiwaniana has plenty of branches to cut and, as yet, no new growth.
Schefflera taiwaniana
Schefflera taiwaniana
However the younger S. taiwaniana plant is already in full new growth. This will flop if we try to cut it and take it to the show so this is a nonstarter.
Schefflera taiwaniana
Schefflera taiwaniana
The Embothrium lanceolatum is still in bud but it has few flowers this year after the cold winter. Despite there being few flowers out the ground is carpeted with buds pecked in half by blue tits seeking the nectar in the flowers. I have never seen them do this to embothrium before. The branch we cut for the show will have to come from Burncoose.
Embothrium lanceolatum
Embothrium lanceolatum
Embothrium lanceolatum
Embothrium lanceolatum
Embothrium lanceolatum pecked by blue tits
Embothrium lanceolatum pecked by blue tits
Rhododendrons need to be in tight bud like Rhododendron ‘Michaels Pride’ to cut successfully. Not full out with some buds like Rhododendron ‘Fragrantissimum’. Full out flowers get bruised and damaged in transit.
Rhododendron ‘Michaels Pride’
Rhododendron ‘Michaels Pride’
Rhododendron ‘Fragrantissimum’
Rhododendron ‘Fragrantissimum’
Trochodendron araliodes nicely in flower but the new growth is again too tender to cut.
Trochodendron araliodes
Trochodendron araliodes
Sadly all the enkianthus varieties are already too far out to cut except for Enkianthus hirtinervus which will be fine like last year. The third year running they have performed a week too soon!
Enkianthus
Enkianthus

2017 – CHW

A good picture of Echium fastuosum sent to us by a friend whose garden adjoins the sea in Seaview on the Isle of Wight. The best display of this I have ever seen.

Echium fastuosum
Echium fastuosum
We discovered some long forgotten rhododendron layers which had grown erratically in full shade behind a laurel fence. The laurel has long gone and the plants have recovered and started to flower. They are the true Rhododendron griffithianum which was one of the parents of all the Gill hybrids of old. These magnificent trees with creamy or red flowers still grace the top of the garden here but many were lost in the 1990 hurricane. The original old clump of Rhododendron griffithianum with its marvellous peeling bark was destroyed by a freak whirlwind in 1976 in the Auklandii Garden.
So time to get going with some new crosses. These are what Jaimie and Michael attempted using griffithianum as the seed parent and a variety of different pollen parents as shown.
R.GRIFFITHIANUM x glendoick em velvet cross
R.GRIFFITHIANUM x glendoick em velvet cross
R.GRIFFITHIANUM x purple splendour cross
R.GRIFFITHIANUM x purple splendour cross
R.GRIFFITHIANUM x JC Williams cross
R.GRIFFITHIANUM x JC Williams cross
R.GRIFFITHIANUM x arboreum sub delavayii cross
R.GRIFFITHIANUM x arboreum sub delavayii cross
R.GRIFFITHIANUM x cetewayo cross
R.GRIFFITHIANUM x cetewayo cross

2016 – CHW
A tour with Mike and Annabelle Lloyd from Hillersdon House in Devon and seven dogs.Berberis insignis var insignis is performing increasingly well below Slip Rail – a clump of three. I detest the ‘municipality’ of most berberis but this is different.
Berberis insignis var insignis
Berberis insignis var insignis
Berberis insignis var insignis
Berberis insignis var insignis
Michelia platypetala was full out at the top of the garden and has the makings of a huge tree. The deep scent is familiar but I cannot quite place it.
Michelia platypetala
Michelia platypetala
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Hollandia’ is the best in the collection today above Hovel Cart Road. ‘Venus’ looks very pale this year and is nearly over. Enkianthus deflexus still in tight bud.
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Hollandia’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Hollandia’
Azalea ‘Babeuff’ outside the back yard is full out and early. Seldom propagated or seen in the nursery trade today.
Azalea ‘Babeuff’
Azalea ‘Babeuff’
Azalea ‘Babeuff’
Azalea ‘Babeuff’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’ is splendid but only four or the 16 plants have survived from those first planted in 2004! Scented rhodos have short lives and die off quickly not least from over flowering.
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Prunus jo-nioi planted alongside in 2006 has made a splendid tree at the entrance to the garden. Is this a matsumae variety? No idea but it came from Thornhayes nursery.
Prunus jo-nioi
Prunus jo-nioi
Prunus jo-nioi
Prunus jo-nioi
A plant in the sales point of Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’ is good for a first flowering. It is the yellowish sister to ‘Black Tulip’ but I doubt will sell as well.
Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’ is, I think, rather better than Magnolia ‘Peachy’. Quite like Magnolia ‘Yuchelia’ as I have said before but without such a pale inside to the tepals. Yuchelia is nearly over. Daybreak only just out but further comparison is merited.
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Rhododendron ‘Halfdan Lem’ is just coming out. What a red!
Rhododendron ‘Halfdan Lem’
Rhododendron ‘Halfdan Lem’
Rhododendron ‘Halfdan Lem’
Rhododendron ‘Halfdan Lem’
2015 – CHW
A final pre-Chelsea quest for yellow(ish) magnolias which I had not seen yet or which were new to us.Magnolia ‘Hot Flash’ is a now 15 years old and not a bad yellow alongside ‘Sundance’ which has been over for a fortnight.  I guess it is normally out in Chelsea week and hence why I have not seen it before.

MAGNOLIA 'Hot Flash' 03
MAGNOLIA ‘Hot Flash’
MAGNOLIA 'Hot Flash' 02
MAGNOLIA ‘Hot Flash’
MAGNOLIA 'Hot Flash'
MAGNOLIA ‘Hot Flash’
MAGNOLIA 'Woodsman' x 'Patriot'
MAGNOLIA
‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
MAGNOLIA 'Woodsman' x 'Patriot' 02
MAGNOLIA
‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’

Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’ – only a couple of flowers last year but now something good (unlike its neighbour of similar parentage).  Almost blue in bud opening as you see.

MAGNOLIA unknown 02
MAGNOLIA ‘Coral Pink’
MAGNOLIA unknown
MAGNOLIA ‘Coral Pink’

Magnolia unknown – a chubby triangular habit to this first time flowerer but the label has vanished.  Just 3 buds which are an odd shape and quite small opening with a tinge of pink.

Update on 15th May, this one has been identified as Magnolia ‘Coral Pink’

MICHELIA yunnanense 'Summer Snowflake'
MICHELIA yunnanense ‘Summer Snowflake’

Michelia yunnanense ‘Summer Snowflake’ – a nice clone flowering for the first time which is now properly Magnolia laevifolia.  Flowers are larger and open flatter with whitish insides than pure laevifolia.  Nice but not that special really.

MAGNOLIA 'Genie' 02
MAGNOLIA ‘Genie’
MAGNOLIA 'Genie'
MAGNOLIA ‘Genie’

Magnolia Genie still has buds and flowers weeks after it first came out.  Although there are now leaves as well this is another major attribute.

MAGNOLIA 'Daphne' 02
MAGNOLIA ‘Daphne’
MAGNOLIA 'Daphne'
MAGNOLIA ‘Daphne’

Magnolia ‘Daphne’ – one of three plants now full out.  Absolutely the best yellow so far without question.

1932 – JCW
The hybrid Magnolias are at their best. Sargentiana has passed. Cherries are going but were excellent, Rhodo’s are late compared to 1928.1928 – JCW
Martin and I agreed that we never saw so many Auklandii in bloom here as two nights ago. Zealanicum hybrids, haematodes, chasmanthum, and chartophyllums are all very good. M parviflora shows but several. The Wilsonii are in flower, some very nice Azaleas about. Kingsbridge hybrids good. Things belonging to rhodo’s are on the wane.

1926 – JCW
Auklandii and Arboreum hybrids are all over. Decorum are and have been good. I cleared two nice pink ones today, one of Wilsons and one of Forrest’s enkianthus at their best – Zealanicum hybrids good, no Harrow hybrids yet but some Cornish Loderi.

1925 – JCW
Cherries over. Auklandii very few flowers, one of Davidsonianum good. The rubiginosum hybrid Auklandii x Campylocarpum are very nice. Zealanicum x Auklandii just starting. Helodoxa primulas V.G.

1924 – JCW
Cherries over. Auklandii at their best. Davidsonianum’s good. No Insigne. Recurvas all open.

1917 – JCW
Cherries nearly at their best. Fortunei x Arboreum good, white hybrid Auklandii’s very good. Davidsonianums started to wane, Auklandii fair but frosted, the first Rosa hugonis shows. Some yellow trumpets remain and the May 11th pheasant eye is opening. A mad year as regards the mixing of seasons.

1915 – JCW
Tubergen Iris, c reticulata, all early rhodo’s have gone over. Rockery Augustinii at their best, the outside ones are over. Orbiculare going back, Sappho hybrids open, and Devonshire Recurvas good. Standishii, C montana rubra good, also Auklandii above frost line and some white Broughtonii x’s.

1908 – JCW
The Tubergen Iris have been splendid, 50 or more blooms. Daffs have started the rot, nothing much left. 90 late Poets look well in the hall, recurvas nearly at their best, going over incomps the last time. C reticulata over, Auklandii hit by frost of April 24th, since few opening.

1907 – JCW
The last and latest Recurvas opened, we have had very heavy rain. I. pavonia is open, a few.

2 thoughts on “10th May

  1. Hi,
    Love your blog as I’m a rhodo nut. I saw griffithianum in the wild in Arunachal Pradesh in 2005. You mention “They are the true Rhododendron griffithianum which was one of the parents of all the Gill hybrids of old. These magnificent trees with creamy or red flowers still grace the top of the garden here but many were lost in the 1990 hurricane. ” Were you referring to the Gill hybrids being creamy or red as opposed to griff. which is white? Asking because there are several red hybrids such as Jean Marie de Montague which list griff as an ancestor. More interesting than the color but possibly related is that there are more than a few polyploids in that family tree. J.M. produces unreduced gametes.

    1. Dear Mr Rabideau

      Thank you for your comment and apologies for the late reply!

      Yes, I was referring to the Gill hybrids being red as opposed to white.

      I will try and get some pictures to you or into the diary.

      Best wishes

      Charles Williams

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