18th 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

2017 – CHW

The cut stuff for the Chelsea stand has been assembled at Burncoose on trolleys to go to London later today.

cut stuff for the Chelsea stand
cut stuff for the Chelsea stand
We have cut a huge branch of embothrium but it is shedding flowers and may have to be cut down more to rescue a few of the less open flowers for the stand. All depends on the weather in the next three days!
branch of embothrium
branch of embothrium
The foxgloves have just made it into flower and will now be loaded onto the last lorry.
foxgloves
foxgloves
Another trolley load of nice looking stuff for Chelsea.
Another trolley load of nice looking stuff for Chelsea
Another trolley load of nice looking stuff for Chelsea
Gerry makes the final final selection of what will go from the herbaceous plants put aside for Chelsea.
Gerry makes the final final selection
Gerry makes the final final selection

Last minute dash to find more cut stuff for the last lorry for Chelsea leaving here at 12.00!

Azalea ‘White Throat’ too far out – again a disappointment.

Azalea ‘White Throat’
Azalea ‘White Throat’
Azalea ‘White Throat’
Azalea ‘White Throat’
Enkianthus hirtinervus is the last of the enkianthus to flower by four to five weeks and perfect for cutting.
Enkianthus hirtinervus
Enkianthus hirtinervus
Magnolia officinalis ‘Biloba’ (pink form) is too tight in bud to cut.
Magnolia officinalis ‘Biloba’
Magnolia officinalis ‘Biloba’
The game larder is filling up with stuff to go. Rhododendron ‘Lems Monarch’ is looking perfect in the foreground.
game larder
game larder
Rhododendron ‘Tally Ho’ x elliottii is probably too far out to use.
Rhododendron ‘Tally Ho’ x elliottii
Rhododendron ‘Tally Ho’ x elliottii
Jaimie with a huge cut echium spike. One of three we cut, having cut one last week to prove it will last the course in water.
echium spike
echium spike
Van and mule full after the last trip. Now into buckets for loading.
Van and mule full
Van and mule full
Van and mule full
Van and mule full
Two echium spikes. We will have to cut them down to fit them onto the lorry. Too tall at present.
echium spike
echium spike
Is this Cotoneaster frigidus or is it a Cotoneaster x walteri hybrid? It is not an evergreen and it is near two other plants which may be Cotoneaster x walteri or Cotoneaster salicifolius forms. All three came from Windsor in 1991. Apparently Cotoneaster frigidus is rare in cultivation but this specimen does have ‘broad elliptic leaves’ as it should. No way this is going to hold in water for Chelsea so, as usual, we have been distracted by a plant from the main objective of today.
Cotoneaster frigidus
Cotoneaster frigidus
Finally the lorry is rather overloaded and on its way up to Chelsea.
lorry
lorry

2016 – CHW

This year I vowed to supervise and participate in getting the cut stuff for Chelsea so it arrives fresh and not squashed. Primarily I am trying to avoid flowers being cut which are already too far out and, like last year, fit only for the skip on arrival at Chelsea. We have ended up with the attached list of cut stuff – around 30 items (plus 20 from Burncoose) which are mainly rhododendrons in keeping with the theme of the stand this year. It took four of us a good four hours to cut, transport, bundle and put it all in buckets on trolleys. The public who gaze at Chelsea stands have no idea of the amount of time and effort involved. With such an early year for us we would be seriously struggling without the cut stuff and its presentation on the stand will determine what medal we get.

During the morning we have been laughing about the difference between Rhododendron ‘Fragrantissimum’ and Rhododendron ‘Lady Alice Fitzwilliam’. The latter has a yellow centre in the trumpet and the flowers are a little larger than ’Fragrantissimum’ which has a dab of green on the outside of the trumpet. Frankly you can hardly tell the difference and they are both Rhododendron edgeworthii x Rhododendron formosum crosses. Hugely scented and in perfect condition today. However everything we cut turned out to be Lady Alice!
Rhododendron ‘Lady Alice Fitzwilliam’
Rhododendron ‘Lady Alice Fitzwilliam’
The Fuchsia exorticatica growing beside the front door Lady Alice is flowering more profusely than I have ever seen it. There were flowers here in February which I pictured then.
Fuchsia exorticatica
Fuchsia exorticatica
Fuchsia exorticatica
Fuchsia exorticatica
We cut the rather unusual Syringa pinnatifolia for Chelsea but it may well shed by the time we arrive.
Syringa pinnatifolia
Syringa pinnatifolia
Syringa pinnatifolia
Syringa pinnatifolia
Our old plants of Rhododendron neeriflorum died out years ago. Good to see a new one flowering nicely here and several up on the main ride too. I remember them flowering much earlier in the year.
Rhododendron neeriflorum
Rhododendron neeriflorum
Rhododendron neeriflorum
Rhododendron neeriflorum
In the rockery Azalea ‘Black Hawk’ was sadly too far out to cut.
Azalea ‘Black Hawk’
Azalea ‘Black Hawk’
Azalea ‘Black Hawk’
Azalea ‘Black Hawk’
I have no idea what this dwarf rhododendron is. It likes its hot dry bank (which most do not) and I have never seen it in flower before. Perhaps Rhododendron pemakoense but the leaf is not quite right? More likely to be Rhododendron dendrocharis.
dwarf rhododendron
dwarf rhododendron
This oddity is labelled Rhododendron ‘Barnaby’ but no time now for any research. Chelsea packing next. A Rhododendron triflorum hybrid perhaps?
Rhododendron ‘Barnaby’
Rhododendron ‘Barnaby’
Camellia mathotiana ‘Alba’ still has plenty of flower. Surprising how many japonica camellias still have a good show but none of them would cut for Chelsea this year. In the past we have displayed the odd camellia there.
Camellia mathotiana ‘Alba’
Camellia mathotiana ‘Alba’
2015 – CHW
In at the show by 7am to check no foxes, pigeons or blackbirds have attacked the stand overnight and to await the judges who start at 8am.  They get to us at around 10am and do not take long which is a good sign although there is a lot of pointing at the Magnolia x wiesneri in full flower.  I suspect this is probably good not bad news.  The judges have of course been watching us since Saturday and the monitors who monitor the judges independently have been positive.
Burncoose Nurseries 2015 Gold Chelsea Stand
Burncoose Nurseries 2015 Gold Chelsea Stand
Chelsea stand
Burncoose Nurseries Chelsea stand 2015
Chelsea stand
Burncoose Nurseries Chelsea stand 2015
18 lupinus herbaceous 2652~2
Wonderful lupinus’The Pages’
Dick'
Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dick’
Enkianthus 'Vesta'
Enkianthus ‘Vesta’
Acer 'Red Flamingo'
Acer ‘Red Flamingo’
Chelsea stand (2)
Chelsea stand with our Ashcombe Aquasculptures’ feature

Guy Hands of Terra Firma, our sponsors, arrives at around 9am.  This is the 10th year of his sponsorship and the 17th year we have had the loan of a water feature from the Rayner family and Ashcombe Aquasculptures.   Guy is in a relaxed mood and looking to enjoy the forthcoming celebrity bunfight.   Guy is in gardening mode and we do a joint interview for Sky News.

Guy Hands Geraldine Hammond Brenda Blethyn Charles Williams at Chelsea 2015
Guy Hands, Geraldine Hammond, Brenda Blethyn & Charles Williams at Chelsea 2015
Brenda Blethyn at Chelsea 2015
Brenda Blethyn at Chelsea 2015

The Prince’s Trust, who are Terra Firma’s business charity,  have a list of celebrities who turn out for big events.   We have Brenda Blethyn – Vera in the ITV police series for those who know it which I did not.   A small, amiable, and rather cuddly lady exactly as she is cast in ‘Vera’.   She knows nothing of Chelsea or plants and we know nothing about her so we all get on well. The press assemble in large numbers for Vera/Brenda and the usual scrum and shouting develops.   Karol gets a super shot of Brenda’s bum.   The press try to pinch our drinks and few scuffles break out.   The Terra Firma Italian wine has supercharged corks which go flying as does the pink fizz.   The TV cameras roll.

Chelsea plant of the year 2015
Chelsea plant of the year 2015, Viburnum plicatum ‘Kilimanjaro Sunrise’
Charles Williams & Chris Campbell of Javado, Plant of the Year Award
Charles Williams & Chris Campbell of Javado, Plant of the Year Award

Then we do our own PR pictures capably guided by Shelley and settle down for the morning party to which several of our friends, co-exhibitors, and clients rock up as usual for free drinks.   Several are soon pissed, some on arrival.  One of these is the famous (for his vegetables) Medwyn hot from the RHS Committees (90 people) judging of Plant of the Year.   Medwyn tells us we have WON!  We do not believe him at first then get confirmation and so we have to get the press back and yet more drinks.   12.15 by now.  A huge amount of totally free publicity for Burncoose which we have done nothing to earn but such is life.   Some you win and some you do not (TB).

Some of our staff (me included) are rather more than pissed by now so away go the drinks and we start the long wait for the Queen.   She eventually arrives at 5.30pm to visit the Thailand stand beside ours which is quite something if you like kitsch.   The owner, rumoured to be a billionaire to match Guy, asks me to take the pictures of him and the Thai ambassador meeting the Queen.   I think of declining this kind request but eventually stuff a discreet camera up her Majesty’s nose like everyone else under the glare of the bulging armpits.

2004 – FJW
A magnificent flowering season for nearly everything. A cool but dry season. Today the Garden splendid and Charles’ planting and new plants making their presence felt and hopefully will puzzle many.

1931 – JCW
Of the Magnolia, Brozzoni is the best, Speciosa the next. Some Nicholsoniana, some Wilsoni opening. Sargentiana is over. A few good flowers on the hybrid speciosa yet they were in flower on January 4th.

1930 – JCW
Have caught up and are much as in 1925. The small Nicholosiana has 4 wonderful flowers about 6 in across, the big plant Nicholsiana just opening, it looks well. The big Parviflora never looked better. R aureum is very good, the early Magnolia wilsoni has many flowers open, the others are later. M brozzoni has been ladened with flowers. Mag veitchii had 18 flowers between the two plants, some of the blooms were very large.

1925 – JCW
Azaleas just starting. Zealanicums very fine. Triflorum series not quite their best. Some Augustinii over. Many Davidsonianums to open. The two late back yard Azaleas very good. Pink Kurume bed is over. Bluebells full blast and Recurvas good. Auklandii half open.

1921 – JCW
Azaleas are going over in the sun. Ovatum is nice. Decorum good. Oreotrephes, Occidentalis very good.

1918 – JCW
The azaleas are at their best, most of the good rhodo’s are over. Ovatum is nice. Decorum (the young lot) were very good, Anthony’s seedling rhodo’s are just opening. Delavay’s Yunnanense good yet. Occidentalis lot at their best.

1915 – JCW
Auklandii’s on the wane. Zealanicum hybrids are very good. Yunnanense x Roylei mostly open. Augustinii gone. White and Pink Pearl good as far as they know how. Coombe Royal hybrids very good. Azaleas are very good.

1901 – JCW
About five days behind the above. Auklandii’s just on the turn.

1900 – JCW
Edgeworthi shows colour, Fortunei at its best. Very dry.

Leave a Reply

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

*