2023 – CHW
The Chelsea stand takes shape.
2022 – CHW
Many more dead flowers to pick off on the iris which is looking worse than ever today. The good news is that we present to the judges (up to 150 and 200 RHS committee members and plant trials judges) with pictures of the plant rather than the plant itself tomorrow. The pictures are better than the reality in the pot. We are allowed to swop the chosen plant for a better one but think we will do this tomorrow first thing when it goes on public display with the 20 other finalists (thankfully) next door to the Burncoose stand.
The best plant on our stand is Cornus ‘Venus’ with gigantic bracts. Can we get enough plants to supply the impending rush of orders? Only by the autumn.
2021 – CHW
Susyn Andrews and Brian Schrire are finally able to get here to sort out the final identification of the holly collection. In a long but happy afternoon we catalogue every holly in the garden and await a few more formal confirmations of identity once Susyn gets back to her notes and files some of which may still be at Kew. Then my holly article will finally be ready for publication.
We start with the puzzle that has plagued us for decades and caused endless confusion. Four of the five ancient ilex are confirmed as Ilex dipyrena and the fifth as Ilex kingiana. Here is the trunk of one of the Ilex dipyrena.
We locate four other Ilex kingiana of varying ages, but mostly 60 to 80 years old, in Area 03 together with evidence of others on old plans which have since died.
These are pictures of the two elderly and gnarled Ilex dipyrena above the greenhouse which only have any leaves at great height.
We then move on to look at other plants and self-sown seedlings in the garden which turn out to have more or less characteristics of both I. dipyrena and I. kingiana to a greater or lesser extent. I. kingiana seeds heavily as here but we did find green berries under a younger plant of I. dipyrena thus demonstrating that cross pollination can and has taken place.This pictures shows Ilex kingiana in berry with a strong influence of I. dipyrena in the leaf shape.
The other major name change is that our second supposed Ilex cornuta is in fact Ilex cornuta ‘Burfordii’.Ilex opaca (we have two upon finding a second one below Hovel Cart Road) had its identity confirmed.
In the Rookery we find a variable big leafed ilex which is clearly a natural hybrid between Ilex perado subsp. platyphylla and an Ilex x altaclerensis variety. This needs further examination of the specimens collected.This is a homegrown seedling of Ilex kingiana in Penvergate which also has traces of Ilex dipyrena and merits further research.
2020 – CHW
It is interesting how the authorities are responding to the most mild attempts to release us from lockdown and to prevent the normal economy of the countryside from moving forward.
Our holiday lets manager has had attempts to make spoof holiday lets bookings on our website to see if we would accept them. Also more formal calls from trading standards asking what our holiday letting policy is? If a family can get into a car and drive where they like (behaving responsibly) why should they not end up in a holiday let or a caravan site? Naturally we will not accept holiday let visitors until we properly can.
The beach café, which is open only for takeaways with lots of new rules, risk assessments and compliance with the specific government form which must be displayed to the staff and customers alike, has been reported to the authorities by a competitor café. A taste of the ‘new’ Britain which had been expected. The inspector and the police who turned up to investigate found it difficult to fault the new arrangements but we will see what develops.
Has the complainant not been visiting their local village shop for groceries during lockdown? What is the difference between takeaway food at a beach café and a village shop?
Still the government will not respond to the National Trust, Historic Houses Association and Kew Gardens who wrote earlier this week asking for a limited and controlled opening of their gardens. As Chelsea week comes to an end this looks increasingly bizarre especially with parks and parklands now open. The problem is that government rules ban ‘ticketed events’ and garden visitors generally buy entry tickets. By the end of next week I can see no point in opening the garden here with only a fortnight to go before we would have closed anyway. It is an early flowering season and the garden is nearly over.
We have become a ‘cannot do’ society.
A farm tour to look at the spring lambs and a video filming session today.
A good bit of layering on Rhododendron ‘Lem’s Monarch’ which we turned into a 10 minute topical tips film for the Burncoose website. Then a vlog of five rhodos for the Caerhays (would be) visitors to see on the small screen.
The incubators hatched just under 80% of the 12,000 eggs earlier this week to give us 9,562 live chicks. A good performance for a large incubator with 36,000 eggs in it. The final setting of eggs for this year on Friday or Saturday. Then the laying hens will be sold elsewhere as we never want to see this stock again in our future breeding programme.
A fledgling blackbird makes an unsteady appearance in a Mahonia.
Mrs Williams and Mrs Clarke hiding (exhausted) in the shade outside the exhibitors ‘tent’.
2018 – CHW
While I have been away at Chelsea, Jaimie has been busy keeping up to date in the garden here. Enkianthus ‘Wallaby’ has proven to be rather a shy flowerer but I fear we have it planted in too much shade.
Judging started at 7.30 but they only get to us at 9.45. Not a long session and a quick vote without much fuss which is hopeful.Then the media frenzy with our celebrity, Gemma Arterton, and her sister who is even prettier. Gemma is perhaps best known as the Bond girl in ‘Quantum of Solace’. At least 50 press photographers and camera crews assemble half an hour before the photo call at 10.45.The bar is opened by our sponsor, Guy Hands, a little before this with a flurry of pink champagne. Gemma stays for nearly an hour and the press go mad. So does the drinks party and I have to retire under a tree to recover before the Queen arrives and the gala evening with yet more champagne.
Alan Titchmarsh visited The Great Gardens stand at Chelsea to promote their new book ‘The Great Gardens of Cornwall – The People & Their Plants’.In the picture are, from left to right: Lorna Tremayne (Heligan), Alan Titchmarsh, Lucinda Rimmington (Caerhays), Tim Hubbard (the author), Charles Williams (Caerhays) and Jonathon Jones (Tregothnan)
We do a stand group photo before Rob and Louisa depart with the lorry. Justin is erecting a model spitfire on the Tregothnan stand which looks about as ridiculous as the orient express. Apparently it came from the roundabout in Truro.
We get rid of the last plants and are effectively finished more or less by midday although we do not leave until evening.The night before we all went to the Blue Lagoon restaurant in the old fire station in Kings Road where we observed innumerable bright young things strutting their stuff. Highlight was the arrival of some film star (who Gerry was able to identify) in a private room with glass frontage which enabled us to look up the ladies’ very very short skirts – that shut even Justin up.
Wolfgang Bopp arrives to inspect the stand not realising that I already know he is the head of our judging panel as he has been for the past five years. He is surprisingly complimentary and asks about new plants – this is a good sign.
So back to normal and the first real foray around the garden for eight days. It is staggering how much new growth has appeared in a week. The grass and trash which was ankle high is now knee high in places so it must have rained a bit. Staggering too how much has gone over in a week especially the wisterias.Bees swarming the front door which Jaimie is trying to catch as they vanish through the vent and are now buzzing under our bedroom. Big (paying) wedding on the lawn tomorrow so we do not want them in the bridal veil.Above all peace and quiet after London. The dogs are happy even if it is only a photography trip. Pure enjoyment all round and how we have missed it.
Our original and true to name Enkianthus cernuus rubens is now dead but, unknown to me, there are two further plants just below it. These correctly have the anthers and stamens protruding below the rim of the bells. The only species to do this. These two plants have flowers which are not nearly so dark a red as the deceased one.
A clump of three Rhododendron didymum x ? hybrids by the Magnolia veitchii are covered in flower. Never seen these as good.
Nearby is a very erect enkianthus with quite the largest flowers of any seen this year at Caerhays. Presumably a form of Enkianthus campanulatus but no label. Propagate this! Much larger flowers than the wonderful cut branches from Burncoose on the Chelsea stand.
Syringa yunnanense bought this year from Glendoick is quite nice. It is recorded here in 1919 but I have never seen it in flower before.
We have two plants of Laburnocytisus ‘Adamii’ planted in 1991 which are currently full out. A strange cross between a laburnum and a cytisus which ought to be genetically impossible but grows oddly as you might expect. Some might call it horrid and I would agree but if you like bastards this is for you!
1934 – JCW
I have just caught the best Azaleas, that is the deciduous ones. Magnolia wilsoni is at its best.
1917 – JCW
C m rubra about out. R yunnanense is good in the big beds. Standish hybrids are good and so Sappho x auklandii, Roylei just opening, but a very few Azaleas open. Azalea amoena is good. Azalea mollis comes on. Augustinii over, Auklandii on the wane. Broughtonii section are good.
1913 – JCW
Montana rubra long over. R yunnanense continues good very, been out 2 weeks and is the best thing. Some Broughtonii hybrids hold on, Standish hybrids good. Some Yunnanense x Roylei are opening. R augustinii well over. Azaleas and Mrs Butlers in the beech Walk are good.