11th 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

2020 – CHW

Boris produced an excellent address to the nation last night. Well argued, careful, thoughtful and entirely right in the circumstances. ‘Health’ was, however, still the priority over the return to normality.

Starmer, the unions and the Sturgeon express themselves ‘confused’ at this ‘mixed’ message. Having been part of the inner government COBRA discussions on the end to lockdown it is a bit rich to criticise what you participated in and implicitly agreed. Nevertheless they betray their true colours as regards the economy which they are happy to continue to bankrupt in the interests of safety and the lack of PPE in workplaces. So much for working together to get out of this mess.

One of the most telling revelations over the weekend was that the teaching unions are actually preventing teachers from conducting online classes for children in lockdown because ‘they do not have to’. No thought of their service to the public to educate children of course. Enjoy your ‘holiday’ like the kids are and soon it will be the summer holidays anyway. Why not go camping now and start the summer early.

So what does Boris’ announcement mean for us? The car park will have to reopen on Wednesday. There is no way that we can decently or fairly charge for this initially. We have received the government grants and there is no way that we could collect the money in a socially distanced and safe way for our staff.

Shops to reopen (perhaps) on 1st June but not restaurants. Can we sort out social distancing for takeaway service at the beach café by then or before? Better not be seen to be rushing into this until we know what others are going to do or be allowed to do.

How do you reopen the garden entirely safely unless it is free with no facilities but lots of costs for us in disinfecting loos and providing safety cover for emergencies? I suspect we stick with our previous decision not to reopen this year.

Holiday lets open from 1st June? Better wait and see what the 50 pages of government guidelines say today.

Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’ in bud.

Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’ making a good show.
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’
Rhododendron ‘Gwilt King’ just out. Normally a certainty for the Chelsea stand but I suppose we are only about a week away.
Rhododendron ‘Gwilt King’
Rhododendron ‘Gwilt King’
The bark is peeling nicely on the largest Acer griseum.
Acer griseum
Acer griseum
Magnolia ‘Coral Pink’ – sparse flowering and only just opening now is a really peculiar magnolia. It is not listed in Eisenhut’s new book which does mention ‘Coral Charm’ but with no real description.
Magnolia ‘Coral Pink’
Magnolia ‘Coral Pink’
Magnolia ‘Coral Pink’
Magnolia ‘Coral Pink’
Merillopanax alpinus just coming into leaf. Will it survive with us?
Merillopanax alpinus
Merillopanax alpinus
Merillopanax alpinus
Merillopanax alpinus
Rhododendron ‘Winsome’ as splendid as ever.
Rhododendron ‘Winsome’
Rhododendron ‘Winsome’
Rhododendron ‘Lemon Meringue’
Rhododendron ‘Lemon Meringue’
Rhododendron ‘Lemon Meringue’
Rhododendron ‘Lemon Meringue’
Rhododendron ‘Lemon Meringue’
Rhododendron ‘Lem’s Cameo’
Rhododendron ‘Lem’s Cameo’
Rhododendron ‘Lem’s Cameo’
Rhododendron cinnarbarinum Concatenans Group
Rhododendron cinnarbarinum Concatenans Group
Rhododendron cinnarbarinum Concatenans Group
Rhododendron vaseyi was exceptionally good in shade.
Rhododendron vaseyi
Rhododendron vaseyi
Rhododendron vaseyi
Rhododendron vaseyi
Rhododendron vaseyi
Rhododendron vaseyi
Cornus ‘Venus’ still not fully out but a huge bract!
Cornus ‘Venus’
Cornus ‘Venus’
Cornus ‘Venus’
Cornus ‘Venus’
Cornus ‘Venus’
Cornus ‘Venus’
Fagus grandiflora var. mexicana looks tenderish and has dieback.
Fagus grandiflora var. mexicana
Fagus grandiflora var. mexicana
Crataegus wattiana now in full flower.
Crataegus wattiana
Crataegus wattiana
Crataegus wattiana
Crataegus wattiana
Crataegus coombei (?) with flower.
Crataegus coombei
Crataegus coombei
Crataegus coombei
Crataegus coombei
Two pictures of Meliosma alba (formerly Meliosma beaniana) kindly sent from Borde Hill. They hope to send us seed later. Our plant, as we saw recently, is too ancient to have produced any seed for years.
Meliosma alba
Meliosma alba
Meliosma alba
Meliosma alba
Cestrum fasciculatum ‘Newellii’
Cestrum fasciculatum ‘Newellii’
Cestrum fasciculatum ‘Newellii’
Magnolia sieboldii ‘Jersey Belle’
Magnolia sieboldii ‘Jersey Belle’
Magnolia sieboldii ‘Jersey Belle’
Another Azalea ‘Caerhays Lavender’ still in new growth in full shade.
Azalea ‘Caerhays Lavender’
Azalea ‘Caerhays Lavender’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Black Swan’ leaves a week on.
Fagus sylvatica ‘Black Swan’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Black Swan’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Black Swan’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Black Swan’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’ just out.
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
A young Magnolia nitida getting going.
Magnolia nitida
Magnolia nitida
Michelia x foggii ‘Allspice’ perfect today. The others now nearly all over.
Michelia x foggii ‘Allspice’
Michelia x foggii ‘Allspice’

2019 – CHW
Time to see how many Aesculus species are yet in flower?A young Carpinus rankanensis with coppery young leaves. The wonderful mature plant we saw last Sunday at Wakehurst had male and female flowers but the emerging leaves were lighter and more pinkish.
Carpinus rankanensis
Carpinus rankanensis
Carpinus rankanensis
Carpinus rankanensis
Aesculus carnea ‘Aureomarginata’ was nearly over.
Aesculus carnea ‘Aureomarginata’
Aesculus carnea ‘Aureomarginata’
Aesculus carnea ‘Aureomarginata’
Aesculus carnea ‘Aureomarginata’
Magnolia ‘Southern Belle’ is quite similar to ‘Summer Solstice’ but out a week or so before (this proved not to be correct).
Magnolia ‘Southern Belle’
Magnolia ‘Southern Belle’
Magnolia ‘Southern Belle’
Magnolia ‘Southern Belle’
Aesculus woerlitzensis with dark red flowers.
Aesculus woerlitzensis
Aesculus woerlitzensis
Aesculus woerlitzensis
Aesculus woerlitzensis
Aesculus bushii with much larger double pink flowers with a yellow blotch.
Aesculus bushii
Aesculus bushii
Aesculus bushii
Aesculus bushii
Aesculus chinensis has some individual pink flowers and some yellow ones. Hilliers say some plants sold as this species are Aesculus indica so now I am more than suspicious!
Aesculus chinensis
Aesculus chinensis
Aesculus chinensis
Aesculus chinensis
Aesculus glabra I think, the red horse chestnut.
Aesculus glabra
Aesculus glabra
Aesculus glabra
Aesculus glabra
Crataegus wattiana is thornless but colourful today.
Crataegus wattiana
Crataegus wattiana
Crataegus wattiana
Crataegus wattiana
A wild collected form of Rhododendron decorum (NN 0907) with quite small flower trusses to what we know as Rh. decorum.
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum

2018 – CHW
Finalising and checking the full list of the plants which will be used on our Chelsea stand as part of the press release and to give out to the public who ask for it as the show. A tedious job which will never be absolutely right as flowers go over and we always take more plants than we will need or use to be certain of only using the absolute best top quality ones. Anyway the RHS like us doing this. It has the added advantage of enabling Louisa and Christine, the stand designers, to prewrite the individual plant labels for each type of plant which we have to have clearly and neatly written with the correct spelling of the Latin names on everything. This is a major issue with the judges and ‘the odd mistake’ is no good and no gold medal!

More importantly, we select half a dozen new and unusual plants which are looking good in the show tunnel (today at least) to feature prominently on the website the weekend before Chelsea Flower Show opens and when the BBC Chelsea coverage also starts. We will substitute these with pictures of the same plants actually on the completed stand on Monday 21st May, the press review day. Not all the six we selected today will necessarily pass the test on the stand but at least we can start to entice new customers to new plants.

We have a brand new and superb acer for the stand which will also be entered for the RHS Plant of the Year competition. So secret is it that, until 21st May, I cannot even tell you its name. A couple of (rather bad) pictures are all I can share for now. You will say you are not impressed yet – but you will be!

New acer for Chelsea
New acer for Chelsea
New acer for Chelsea
New acer for Chelsea
Christine is holding a new and rather exciting Geum ‘Flames of Passion’. Fortunately she is concentrating more on the hassle of the lead up to the show!
Geum ‘Flames of Passion’
Geum ‘Flames of Passion’
Geum ‘Flames of Passion’
Geum ‘Flames of Passion’

2017 – CHW

A breakfast meeting at the Eden Project to see the new Western Australian Garden opened by the High Commissioner. Breakfast was kangaroo sausages (vile) and a boiled egg in half an avocado (odd). Lots of time to photograph new (to me) Australian plants.

A Chorizema cordatum with flowers that we recognise but this is not a climber like the one we stock – Chorizema illicifolia.

Chorizema cordatum
Chorizema cordatum
Xanthorrhoea johnsonii – basically a huge grass with a trunk. One had a flower spike – very penile! Lots of nurseries used to sell this when we could import the trunks.
Xanthorrhoea johnsonii
Xanthorrhoea johnsonii
Xanthorrhoea johnsonii
Xanthorrhoea johnsonii
A novel Acacia glaucoptera. Acacia pravissima x10 leaf size!
Acacia glaucoptera
Acacia glaucoptera
Acacia glaucoptera
Acacia glaucoptera
An Australian dianella species with typical blue flower spikes.
Australian dianella species
Australian dianella species
Banksia menziesii
Banksia menziesii
Banksia menziesii
Everywhere you looked there were anigozanthus of every shape and colour. The ‘Kangaroo Paws’ are an acquired taste (like the sausages) which I have yet to cotton on to. Too tender for us outdoors in the main. We used to stock these but gave up despite one year of massive sales of these horrors at Hampton Court.
Anigozanthus
Anigozanthus
Anigozanthus
Anigozanthus
Anigozanthus
Anigozanthus
Banksia repens
Banksia repens
Banksia repens
Banksia occidentalis
Banksia occidentalis
Banksia occidentalis
Eucalyptus forrestiana – rather dull.
Eucalyptus forrestiana
Eucalyptus forrestiana
Chamelancium uncinatum – rather like a leptospermum in its flowers.
Chamelancium uncinatum
Chamelancium uncinatum
Callistemon ‘Kings Park Special’ – very special indeed – deado even! Always good to have a dead plant behind the speaker at a launch.
Callistemon ‘Kings Park Special’
Callistemon ‘Kings Park Special’
Acacia cyclops – good name.
Acacia cyclops
Acacia cyclops
Callistemon citrinus ‘White Anzac’ – yellow yes but white never seen before. This one living!
Callistemon citrinus ‘White Anzac’
Callistemon citrinus ‘White Anzac’
Callistemon phoeniceus – does not look like a bottle brush.
Callistemon phoeniceus
Callistemon phoeniceus
Orthrosanthus polystachus – a ‘sort of’ iris.
Orthrosanthus polystachus
Orthrosanthus polystachus
Gastrolobium celsianum – pea shaped flowers.
Gastrolobium celsianum
Gastrolobium celsianum
Dryandra praemorsa – presumably protea family.
Dryandra praemorsa
Dryandra praemorsa
A clump of Wachendorfia thyrsiflora just finishing flowering. At last a flower I recognise and we can grow but I realise I have stepped outside the Australian bit and am now in the Mediterranean plant area.
Wachendorfia thyrsiflora
Wachendorfia thyrsiflora
Wachendorfia thyrsiflora
Wachendorfia thyrsiflora
Euphorbia triangularis – I get the ‘triangular’ bit but it looks like a cactus. I have strayed into the US bit!
Euphorbia triangulari
Euphorbia triangulari
Euphorbia triangulari
Euphorbia triangulari
Leucodendron argenteum – one we stock and grow. Just about ok outside in Cornwall near the sea if you read our ‘Protea Care and Advice’ notes on the Burncoose website.
Leucodendron argenteum
Leucodendron argenteum
Leucodendron argenteum
Leucodendron argenteum
Penstemon spectabilis – Californian I believe.
Penstemon spectabilis
Penstemon spectabilis
Penstemon spectabilis
Penstemon spectabilis
Teucrium fruticans – another we sell and perfectly hardy outside.
Teucrium fruticans
Teucrium fruticans
Teucrium fruticans
Teucrium fruticans
Malva subobovata
Malva subobovata
Malva subobovata
Jacaranda mimosifolia – I have not seen this with a full woody trunk before. We stock this but I had just missed the flowers here in the Mediterranean biome. Surely it is a South American plant? (Yes – as the label admits.)
Jacaranda mimosifolia
Jacaranda mimosifolia
I thought these were lachenalia, a South African bulby thing, but the label says velthamia.
Velthamia?
Velthamia?
Velthamia?
Velthamia?
‘King Protea’; Protea cynaroides which we also sell.
Protea cynaroides
Protea cynaroides
Aeonium polyphylla with a gigantic flower stalk for a small plant.
Aeonium polyphylla
Aeonium polyphylla
Aeonium polyphylla
Aeonium polyphylla
Leucospermum cuneiforme – an attractive protea in flower.
Leucospermum cuneiforme
Leucospermum cuneiforme
This looks like baptisia?
Baptisia?
Baptisia?
Baptisia?
Baptisia?
Huge clumps of Geranium maderense in flower. Biggest I have ever seen by far.
Geranium maderense
Geranium maderense
Geranium maderense
Geranium maderense
What can one say of these horrors among the vines?
Horrors among the vines!
Horrors among the vines!
Quercus bushii? No, I am wrong, Quercus wislizeni? No label but we have one like this in Penvergate.
Quercus wislizeni
Quercus wislizeni
Quercus wislizeni
Quercus wislizeni

2016 – CHW (photos to follow)
A morning with KPK inspecting various medium sized building work jobs on the estate over the next year. The worst problem was the delivery van driver who clonked into the arch at the Top Lodge damaging his van roof quite substantially and considerably moving one coping stone. On closer inspection the cracking and movement of the stones extends all across the arch. A structural engineer inspects tomorrow. It is not going to fall down tomorrow but it presents a risk to the public one day if ignored and will probably cost £10k to dismantle and re-embed in place in the correct alignment. Whether the white van company will pay up or their insurers remains to be seen. Quite a row to come I expect and a pity we do not have a picture of the wrecked roof.Welcome warm rain this afternoon as the leaf on the trees fills out.Karol’s picture of the leaf stipules (scars on the leaf petioles) on our three ‘different’ ancient michelias are looking good. On Michelia floribunda the scars/stipules extend half way up the petiole (or so the reference books say) but on Michelia doltsopa only one fifth of the way up the petiole according to Magnolias of China, the newish Chinese reference book. I will share these pictures with you shortly and do not feel we have proved whether we do have a M floribunda or not. The paper which I have written on michelia naming and identification is coming on nicely.Below is a list of new styracacae varieties which arrived today from Mark Bulk’s nursery in Holland to add to our growing collection. Pterostyrax psilophyllus is particularly rare and has an odd leaf with three points at the end of it. I saw this at Windsor on Monday and had coveted it then but forgotten it was on order anyway since I had never seen it before.Pterocarya pterocarpaPterocarya rehderianaPterostyrax leveilleiPterostyrax psilophyllusStyrax jap ColumnarStyrax jap HymeStyrax jap SnowconeStyrax jap Jippei-Kawamure

2015 – CHW
Tom Hudson visits to view our growing enkianthus collection and to ponder the correct naming of some.  We hear the first cuckoo of the year at 4.30pm in Old Park.

The four ‘V’s bred at or selected seedlings from Esvelt Nurseries in Holland are strutting their stuff but there is little doubt that ‘Vesta’ is the best today.
Enkianthus ‘Vesta’ has long racemens of bell-shaped red flowers.  The four plants we looked at were laden to the brim with flowers and fully visible from a long way off.

ENKIANTHUS 'Vesta' 02
ENKIANTHUS ‘Vesta’
ENKIANTHUS 'Vesta'
ENKIANTHUS ‘Vesta’
ENKIANTHUS 'Venus'
ENKIANTHUS ‘Venus’

E ‘Venus’ was out first and its much paler striped and tinged pink flowers show in circular clusters.  They show up better as the plant comes into leaf and are half hidden when eventually the leaf is full out.

ENKIANTHUS 'Victoria'
ENKIANTHUS ‘Victoria’

Enkianthus ‘Victoria’ – is again quite a sight.  Its reddish striped bells are more elongated and not quite as far out as ‘Vesta’.  Today is the second best of the four but might well take the top prize in a week.

ENKIANTHUS 'Virgo'
ENKIANTHUS ‘Virgo’

Enkianthus ‘Virgo’ this is a much newer introduction to Caerhays flowering here (but not Burncoose) for the first time.  Paler and more greenish than ’Venus’ but still plastered in flower at a young age.My vote had previously always gone to the earlier flowering ‘Venus’ but not this year or not today anyway.  Venus is too far gone for Chelsea but ‘Victoria’ may well make a splash on the stand.  All the enkianthus should go onto the lorry tomorrow or Wednesday for the trip.  Last year they were shedding flowers and did not look that special on the stand.

ENKIANTHUS deflexus
ENKIANTHUS deflexus

One Enkianthys deflexus (which I could not find last year although I know we have at least three other mature-ish plants somewhere) is in the group of four different plants on the drive.  It is still in tight bud but you can see the tinge of purple at the base of the bells.  It looks true to name and Tom confirms the leaves have the correct hairy edges.

1994 – FJW
Still cool – one fine day out of 3 – flowers hanging on.

1989 – FJW
10 days of dry hot weather due to end. New maples starting to grow.

1960 – FJW
First rain since April 17th.

1947 – CW
Picked good bunch of Tower, Triandrus, Jonquil 455, Green eye 308, a Poet 435. Flowered and good Rho auklandii x Eriogynum. X Auklandii, Augustinii and Davidsonium at their best.

1929 – JCW
Much later than 1929. Magnolia nicholsoniana shows colour, several Wilsonii flowers open. Double crimsons not yet open.

1927 – JCW
Roylii cinnabarinum are open and so Auklandii but [?] forms are over. Aureum is very good. Recurvas and daffs is all open. Iris germanica are open, R aureum is at its best and so Haematodes.

1914 – JCW
Daffs are all over – Auklandii’s nearly over. Hybrid Iris over, Yunnanense hybrids are right. Standish Devonshire seedlings right – Roylei and Cinnabar. are opening.

1904 – JCW
I picked three nice Recurvas seedlings not quite expanded. No roses except on the walls. I pavonia, R fortunei both open. Auklandii’s at their best. Recurvas all open.

1902 – JCW
Picked the first Fortunei yesterday, very few other roses, cold, picked I pavonia and one Lorteti.

1899 – JCW
R fortunei open. A good few roses.

2 thoughts on “11th May

  1. I enjoy reading the garden diary as a keen horticulturalist and have found it to be informative on many an occasion. However, it has been ruined in recent times by its use as a conduit for political rant, none of which has anything to do with the garden and some of which will no doubt offend readers who have logged in to read about the garden not your political views. Perhaps you could start a separate diary for politics and keep the garden diary separate? Clearly, like many, you have lost out during this pandemic which is extremely unfortunate for you but sadly universal. I have been to Caerhays several times, bought Magnolias from there and am looking out of my window now at an Oxydendrum bought from Burncoose. However, on principle I will not be reading the diary again, nor purchasing or visiting as I have found some of your comments inappropriate, offensive, misguided and blatantly incorrect. This has not helped your business cause, at least from my end, and I am sure others would agree. Pity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*