2020 – CHW
I finally got around to viewing a four minute (and in English) trailer for the new David Attenborough type series of plant programmes which is about to be broadcast on Chinese prime time national TV. What could be more topical!
The Chinese film crew were here about a year ago. Too late for the magnolias. They also visited Exbury, interviewed Roy Lancaster, and visited us again at Chelsea. We were all a bit wary of what the theme of the programme might be. Was it to be the theft of thousands of species of plants by the intrepid English plant hunters or a genuinely historic and or pictorial / ‘planty’ approach without this slant. We still do not really know but, having seen the trailer, where I have a bit to say in the Billiard Room, and there are clips of Exbury with Marie-Louise Agius combined with rhododendrons in the mountains of Yunnan, I suspect the propaganda element is linked more to ‘continuing friendship’ and ‘plants across the oceans’ than the historic theft (by nasty capitalists) of 60-70% of the garden plants growing in western European gardens today. We will see.
It certainly looks like a big budget production and is going out on the main (government) channel. Perhaps the BBC or ITV will buy the rights and show it here? We have been trying to interest independent TV producers in the concept of a series about the history of Cornish gardens. So far no real takers. Even a great gardens of Britain series once day perhaps filmed over a whole season. Probably considered far too upmarket and right wing for the BBC. Channel 5 did a good series on Repton gardens (including Belvoir) with Alan Titchmarsh but it was fairly low budget. I think we should try again with a Great Gardens of Cornwall theme for the next spring season.
First flower almost out on Magnolia officinalis var. biloba. The individual flowers last only about 48 hours.
Embothrium lanceolatum against a blue sky.
Tilia endochrysea (Kennel Close and above Rogers Quarry)Tilia tuan var. chemoui (Kennel Close)Tilia kiusiana (Slip Rail)
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
And one or two other more recent plantings.
On arrival at 12.00 on the Friday still much on the stand to do. However the fountain is operational or was until we got a series of power failures.
Today we reveal the other startling new entry from Burncoose Nurseries to the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year competition 2018. Large plants will also be seen on our stand from Monday 21st May. Until now it has remained a closely guarded secret between us and its breeder from the Netherlands – Mr Jan-Willem van der Poel.Acer palmatum ‘Metamorphosa’This new plant will be available to pre-order in three sizes exclusively on the Burncoose Nurseries mail order website from Sunday.
2017 – CHW
The cut stuff for the Chelsea stand has been assembled at Burncoose on trolleys to go to London later today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.