4th 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

So Lord Bragg and the other leading lights in the art/cultural world want (a mere) £50 billion from the government (just like those nice Germans have given apparently) in an open letter to the papers with support from the archbishop (who shut all our churches) and Lord Blunkett. They have been a bit slow off the mark with their demands from the never ending money tree which is our future taxation. This they ignore, of course, and might it not be said that they have a degree of financial self-interest too?

Another, unnoticed, group of people who are having a ‘good’ pandemic are of course the PR companies who create and drive ‘worthy’ causes like this one using their political and media contacts among the metropolitan elite. Better perhaps that the art world consider a new post COVID business plan as industry is doing. Even with cheap loans they have to be repaid but I fear that does not come into Lord Bragg’s plea bargaining for the art world either. It must be a ‘free’ handout and not a loan ‘because they deserve it’ and the nation deserves them. It probably does but even 4.6 million employees on furlough only cost £4 billion in the first month.

I expect we will find out which PR and media advisors have acted for which pressure group in due course.

Major redundancies loom even before ‘furloughing’ ends. That, and not the death rate, is, and will eventually be seen to be, the disaster of the pandemic. It could not have been avoided completely but it could have been handled very much better if the government, rather than the media, had been in control.

Rhododendron ‘Rabatz’ is a very dark red.

Rhododendron ‘Rabatz’
Rhododendron ‘Rabatz’
Rhododendron ‘Polyroy’ is from Millais Nurseries breeding.
Rhododendron ‘Polyroy’
Rhododendron ‘Polyroy’
Rhododendron ‘Polyroy’
Rhododendron ‘Polyroy’
Still some decent flowers on Magnolia ‘Genie’ even with the leaves.
Magnolia ‘Genie’
Magnolia ‘Genie’
Magnolia ‘Genie’
Magnolia ‘Genie’
Schefflera taiwaniana is already nearly 20ft tall. New growth clusters very fine.
Schefflera taiwaniana
Schefflera taiwaniana
Schefflera taiwaniana
Schefflera taiwaniana
The Rhododendron ‘Veryan Bay’ clump is very aged and flowering high up at 12ft or so. I remember planting this lot 40 years ago and they were at waist level for ages.
Rhododendron ‘Veryan Bay’
Rhododendron ‘Veryan Bay’
Rhododendron ‘Veryan Bay’
Rhododendron ‘Veryan Bay’
Rhododendron ‘Veryan Bay’
Rhododendron ‘Veryan Bay’
Afrocarpus falcatus with a crop of blue-green new growth (Podocarpus falcatus).
Afrocarpus falcatus
Afrocarpus falcatus
Afrocarpus falcatus
Afrocarpus falcatus
Magnolia x wieseneri with a couple of flowers out.
Magnolia x wieseneri
Magnolia x wieseneri
Magnolia x wieseneri
Magnolia x wieseneri
Trachycarpus wagnerianus with its first flower clusters here. Quite impressive! ‘Penile’ at present.
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Populus deltoides ‘Purple Tower’ had a branch which had reverted to green leaves which I had been trying to reach for a while. Using the mule it was easy!
Populus deltoides ‘Purple Tower’
Populus deltoides ‘Purple Tower’
Populus deltoides ‘Purple Tower’
Populus deltoides ‘Purple Tower’
Just two long catkins on Juglans ailanthifolia.
Juglans ailanthifolia
Juglans ailanthifolia
Still a good crop of flowers on Magnolia ‘Banana Split’.
Magnolia ‘Banana Split’
Magnolia ‘Banana Split’
Paulownia kawakamii is still sparse flowering but what interesting flower colours in the trumpet.
Paulownia kawakamii
Paulownia kawakamii
Paulownia kawakamii
Paulownia kawakamii
Paulownia kawakamii
Paulownia kawakamii
Sorbaronia ‘Likjornaja’ is an interesting hybrid between Sorbus and Aronia. This is its first flowering here and certainly more Aronia than Sorbus!
Sorbaronia ‘Likjornaja’
Sorbaronia ‘Likjornaja’
Sorbaronia ‘Likjornaja’
Sorbaronia ‘Likjornaja’
Sorbaronia ‘Likjornaja’
Sorbaronia ‘Likjornaja’
Our clump of three Betula insignis ‘Fansipanensis’ has not liked the cold winds and two of the three are struggling. Clearly a tenderish form. The third has a fine display of bronze new growth today.
Betula insignis ‘Fansipanensis’
Betula insignis ‘Fansipanensis’
Betula insignis ‘Fansipanensis’
Betula insignis ‘Fansipanensis’
Deutzia x rosea ‘Yuki Cherry Blossom’ now full out.
Deutzia x rosea ‘Yuki Cherry Blossom’
Deutzia x rosea ‘Yuki Cherry Blossom’
Rhododendron zaleucum is now about 10ft.
Rhododendron zaleucum
Rhododendron zaleucum
Rhododendron zaleucum
Rhododendron zaleucum
Aextoxicon punctatum is making a small tree.
Aextoxicon punctatum
Aextoxicon punctatum
Aextoxicon punctatum
Aextoxicon punctatum
Rhododendron ‘Mrs Furnivall’ according to the plan.
Rhododendron ‘Mrs Furnivall’
Rhododendron ‘Mrs Furnivall’
Rhododendron ‘Mrs Furnivall’
Rhododendron ‘Mrs Furnivall’
This Michelia doltsopa is now leafless but the new growth is starting to break out.
Michelia doltsopa
Michelia doltsopa
The Rhododendron ‘Moonstone Group’ (campylocarpum x williamsianum) is doing really well as a clump. Those on the drive have nearly died out.
Rhododendron ‘Moonstone Group’
Rhododendron ‘Moonstone Group’

2019 – CHW

Leonardslee gardens reopened to the public a month ago after having been shut since 2010. A Loder rhododendron garden of 200+ acres now owned by a South African who has invested £30m in buying the place, restoring the two main houses, starting to renovate the garden (60 acres started) and installing car parks, shops etc. A quite gob-smacking garden and already easily back in the Top 10 UK gardens.

General garden views:

General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views
General garden views

The best plants included:

Rhododendron ‘Leonardslee Primrose’

Rhododendron ‘Leonardslee Primrose’
Rhododendron ‘Leonardslee Primrose’
Rhododendron ‘Leonardslee Primrose’
Rhododendron ‘Leonardslee Primrose’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Georgette’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Georgette’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Georgette’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Georgette’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Georgette’
A hundred and twenty foot tall Sequoiadendron giganteum
Sequoiadendron giganteum
Sequoiadendron giganteum
Sequoiadendron giganteum
Sequoiadendron giganteum
Ilex dipyrena
Ilex dipyrena
Ilex dipyrena
Ilex dipyrena
Ilex dipyrena
Rhododendron ‘Jubilee Queen’ (loderi ‘Venus’ x Rose du Barri – 1935)
Rhododendron ‘Jubilee Queen’ (loderi ‘Venus’ x Rose du Barri – 1935)
Rhododendron ‘Jubilee Queen’ (loderi ‘Venus’ x Rose du Barri – 1935)
Rhododendron loderi ‘Fairy Queen’ (griffithianum x fortunei ssp. fortunei)
Rhododendron loderi ‘Fairy Queen’ (griffithianum x fortunei ssp. fortunei)
Rhododendron loderi ‘Fairy Queen’ (griffithianum x fortunei ssp. fortunei)
Rhododendron loderi ‘Patience’ (griffithianum x fortunei ssp. fortunei)
Rhododendron loderi ‘Patience’ (griffithianum x fortunei ssp. fortunei)
Rhododendron loderi ‘Patience’ (griffithianum x fortunei ssp. fortunei)

There are 170 separate Loderi crosses still in the garden. Many are very similar and many still to be exposed amid the undergrowth after years of neglect.An enormous Oxydendron arboreum.

Oxydendron arboreum
Oxydendron arboreum
Cryptomeria japonica araucarioides – extraordinary!
Cryptomeria japonica araucarioides
Cryptomeria japonica araucarioides
Cryptomeria japonica araucarioides
Cryptomeria japonica araucarioides

I had not been to High Beeches for 20+ years and had not seen the view from the house properly. Seldom can a garden have been created into such a wonderful landscape terrain. The wild flower meadows complement a woodland garden created by the Loders and acquired by the Boscawens in around 1930.The key plants seen were:

Quercus floribunda – perhaps the only mature plant in the country of this evergreen oak.
Quercus floribunda
Quercus floribunda
Quercus floribunda
Quercus floribunda
Quercus floribunda
Quercus floribunda
Quercus libanerris – interesting bark.
Quercus libanerris
Quercus libanerris
Quercus libanerris
Quercus libanerris
A mature Quercus trojana. The International Dendrology Society gave us a plant of this last Tuesday. Enjoys a hot dry spot here.
Quercus trojana
Quercus trojana
Quercus trojana
Quercus trojana
Quercus trojana
Quercus trojana
Rhododendron loderi ‘Coral Pink’ in the Loderi Walk.
Rhododendron loderi ‘Coral Pink’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Coral Pink’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Coral Pink’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Coral Pink’
Rhododendron campylogynum – a particularly dense growing form with dark flowers.
Rhododendron campylogynum
Rhododendron campylogynum
Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana – beautiful bark.
Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana
Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana
Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana
Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana
Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana
Stewartia pseudocamellia var. koreana
Stewartia monodelpha – one of their national collection.
Stewartia monodelpha
Stewartia monodelpha
Meliosma myriantha was a totally unknown species which needs checking in New Trees as it will probably have been renamed. A small tree with black bark.
Meliosma myriantha
Meliosma myriantha
Meliosma myriantha
Meliosma myriantha
Meliosma myriantha
Meliosma myriantha
Quercus rhederiana (allied to but not the same as Quercus semecarpifolia).
Quercus rhederiana
Quercus rhederiana
Quercus rhederiana
Quercus rhederiana
Quercus delavayi – another very rare evergreen oak with a compact rounded habit.
Quercus delavayi
Quercus delavayi
Quercus delavayi
Quercus delavayi
Berberis sieboldii
Berberis sieboldii
Berberis sieboldii
Athrotaxis laxifolia – a mature plant with numerous seed cones.
Athrotaxis laxifolia
Athrotaxis laxifolia
Athrotaxis laxifolia
Athrotaxis laxifolia

2018 – CHW
Off to look at newer plants in Kennel Close but ended up simply admiring the sheer variation and beauty of rhododendrons.

Rhododendron ‘Titness Park’ which is one of the parents of yesterday’s hybrid.

Rhododendron ‘Titness Park’
Rhododendron ‘Titness Park’
Magnolia ‘Genie’ is still out and the flowers are increasing in size with age. It has been out for at least six weeks; perhaps more. Its competitor Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’ is long over.
Magnolia ‘Genie’
Magnolia ‘Genie’
Magnolia ‘Genie’
Magnolia ‘Genie’
Another batch of all slightly different rhododendron hybrids (not on the planting plans but I see several batches dotted about). This too is well worth a proper name with its pink edging.
rhododendron hybrids
rhododendron hybrids
rhododendron hybrids
rhododendron hybrids
New leaves emerging on Juglans ailanthifolia. Attractive. They will become huge (one meter long).
Juglans ailanthifolia
Juglans ailanthifolia
Sorbus alnifolia in flower. We saw the first berries last autumn.
Sorbus alnifolia
Sorbus alnifolia
Sorbus alnifolia
Sorbus alnifolia
The best find of the day was Quercus bushii ‘Seattle Trident’ with its pink and red new leaf edging. I wonder how quickly this show will grow out?
Quercus bushii ‘Seattle Trident’
Quercus bushii ‘Seattle Trident’
Quercus bushii ‘Seattle Trident’
Quercus bushii ‘Seattle Trident’
Acer sterculiaceum var sterculiaceum has delightful bronzish new growth and, amazingly, it has already flowered and produced a cluster of winged acer seeds.
Acer sterculiaceum var sterculiaceum
Acer sterculiaceum var sterculiaceum
Acer sterculiaceum var sterculiaceum
Acer sterculiaceum var sterculiaceum
Acer sterculiaceum var sterculiaceum
Acer sterculiaceum var sterculiaceum
This is the most striking red late flowered camellia full out in May. It has to be Camellia ‘Mathotiana Rubra’. Might it last for Chelsea?
Camellia ‘Mathotiana Rubra’
Camellia ‘Mathotiana Rubra’
Camellia ‘Mathotiana Rubra’
Camellia ‘Mathotiana Rubra’
Rhododendron haematodes – a good young plant. One survivor of a group of three. This species had previously died out here.
Rhododendron haematodes
Rhododendron haematodes
The new growth on Diplopanax stachyanthus is superb and no winter cold damage at all that I can see. Certainly a rarity for the future.
Diplopanax stachyanthus
Diplopanax stachyanthus
Diplopanax stachyanthus
Diplopanax stachyanthus
The dwarf but extraordinarily pretty Rhododendron luteiflorum.
Rhododendron luteiflorum
Rhododendron luteiflorum
Rhododendron luteiflorum
Rhododendron luteiflorum
Rhododendron ‘Cowslip’ – a williamsianum hybrid but not one of our making.
Rhododendron ‘Cowslip’
Rhododendron ‘Cowslip’
Rhododendron ‘Cowslip’
Rhododendron ‘Cowslip’
Then my absolute favourite species – Rhododendron floccigerum. It is very variable in its forms but this is amazing!

2017 – CHW
The first Magnolia sieboldii is full out in a hot spot. Others are nearly out. This is Magnolia sieboldii ‘Mishiko Renge’. It is a good floriferous form with a decent sized flower but nothing exceptional.
Magnolia sieboldii ‘Mishiko Renge’
Magnolia sieboldii ‘Mishiko Renge’
Magnolia sieboldii ‘Mishiko Renge’
Magnolia sieboldii ‘Mishiko Renge’
Magnolia sieboldii ‘Mishiko Renge’
Magnolia sieboldii ‘Mishiko Renge’
Paulownia elongata is now full out and I have finally found the label. The most splendid thing today in the garden. I had thought this was Paulownia ‘Lilacina’ which is now deemed to be a form of Paulownia tomentosa in ‘New Trees’ but Hillier’s indicates it might be Paulownia fargesii as they say this is another name for Paulownia ‘Lilacina’. I cannot find a description of Paulownia elongata so remain confused. It does have a slight yellow throat which suggests Paulownia tomentosa ‘Lilacina’ but its flowers are elongated compared to tomentosa’s. Remember this tree had buds and a few flowers out in November/December last year and one or two in January/February. These were darker and did not fully open up as now.
Paulownia elongata
Paulownia elongata
Paulownia elongata
Paulownia elongata
Paulownia elongata
Paulownia elongata
Paulownia elongata
Paulownia elongata
I think these four plants are Jaimie’s hybrid Rhododendron ‘Polar Bear’ x ‘Moses Maroon’ but need to check with him.
Rhododendron ‘Polar Bear’ x ‘Moses Maroon’
Rhododendron ‘Polar Bear’ x ‘Moses Maroon’
Rhododendron ‘Polar Bear’ x ‘Moses Maroon’
Rhododendron ‘Polar Bear’ x ‘Moses Maroon’
Rhododendron ‘Polar Bear’ x ‘Moses Maroon’
Rhododendron ‘Polar Bear’ x ‘Moses Maroon’
Rhododendron ‘Graziellia’ (a Rhododendron roxianum cross judging by the leaf) is emerging into sparse flower by Georges Hut.
Rhododendron ‘Graziellia’
Rhododendron ‘Graziellia’
Rhododendron ‘Graziellia’
Rhododendron ‘Graziellia’
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’ is now full out and much of the blue hue on the buds has vanished. Many more flowers than I had first thought.
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Primrose’ on the drive which I have caught a bit earlier this year. The yellow soon fades off in the sun but the scent is good.
Syringa vulgaris ‘Primrose’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Primrose’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Primrose’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Primrose’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Primrose’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Primrose’
Enkianthus cernuus reflexus is just out but you can see the bells starting to curve at the end. A small compact shrub and not a large bush like most of the others.
Enkianthus cernuus reflexus
Enkianthus cernuus reflexus
The smallest leaved rhododendron species – Rhododendron serpyllifolium. This is a young new plant on the drive and very much lighter in colour than Windsor’s exhibit at the Savill Gardens. Later into flower too than our old plant in the Rookery which is over.
Rhododendron serpyllifolium
Rhododendron serpyllifolium
Rhododendron serpyllifolium
Rhododendron serpyllifolium

2016 – CHW
The Chaenomales ‘Geisha Girl’ is now full out on the lawn. A dwarfish habit and a true orange flower. Ideal for this site by the tower which it now fills. This variety is not a wall shrub.
Chaenomales ‘Geisha Girl’
Chaenomales ‘Geisha Girl’
Chaenomales ‘Geisha Girl’
Chaenomales ‘Geisha Girl’
The rhododendron planting outside the front gate is now complete. Six large leafed sutchuanense hybrids, two ‘Moonstone’, three Rhododendron canadense, four ‘Beauty of Littleworth’, two helolepsis, two fargesi and several others. The ‘Moonstone’ and ‘Beauty of Littleworth’ were tissue culture grown by Ros Smith at Rosewarne in the laboratory. Rather leggy plants but this is how they grow from tissue culture.
rhododendron planting outside the front gate
rhododendron planting outside the front gate
rhododendron planting outside the front gate
rhododendron planting outside the front gate
Still, even in May, the odd half decent flower on Camellia ‘Lady Clare’ by the front door at least three months after the first colour.
Camellia ‘Lady Clare’
Camellia ‘Lady Clare’
Old Kennels Renovation
Old Kennels Renovation

The renovation of the old dog kennels is progressing. Roof trusses now installed and the kitchen garden walls re-slated with some holes filled in but other big ones still to do where the water build up smashed through the wall a decade or more ago. Much of the scantle slate has been recovered from the debris. Some of the floors are slated, some are cobbled and two are concreted. Still some huge tree stumps to dig out as you can see.

A trip to Endsleigh gardens and lunch there with Peter and Karen Bickford-Smith. The garden valley is spectacular but no one has planted or cleared anything for 50 years and it is crying out for a facelift. So much more could be done. Endsleigh nursery looks so dilapidated one wonders if the public should be allowed in. I once bought a collection of new liquidamber varieties here but nothing interesting today.

A nice clump of Aralia chinensis featured here fills a website missing picture slot.
Aralia chinensis
Aralia chinensis
Aralia chinensis
Aralia chinensis
2015 – CHW
I still have rather mixed views on the current fad for growing tetrapanax, pseudopanax, nothopanax and schefflera.  Do they really fit into a garden like Caerhays or are they really plants for Ventnor Botanic Gardens, Tresco or perhaps Trebah with a more Mediterranean or tropical feel?   What was original a private joke to muddle things up for visitors and present them with an unexpected horror is now not as horrible as I had hoped.  Crug Farm introduced lots of newer species from Taiwan especially and, while I have no intention of making a proper collection, a few perhaps do no harm and might even be deemed to have attractive new growth.The new leaves of Schefflera taiwaniana are described as ‘a fountain when hit by low sun’.   Ejaculatory certainly!Schefflera macrophylla has rusty new growth but you need real shelter to keep the huge leaves undamaged by the wind in winter.
SCHEFFLERA taiwaniana
SCHEFFLERA taiwaniana
SCHEFFLERA macrophylla
SCHEFFLERA macrophylla
SCHEFFLERA macrophylla 02
SCHEFFLERA macrophylla
TETRAPANAX papyrifer
TETRAPANAX papyrifer
TETRAPANAX papyrifer 02
TETRAPANAX papyrifer

Tetrapanax papyrifer – more huge leaves and a similar problem.

There are a few more of these horrors but that is quite enough for one outing.

1996 – FJW
Maurice Blandford died.

1992 – FJW
Open Day. 1200.

1964 – FJW
Garden near peak. Augustinii excellent. Where oh where is the best form? A matter of opinion. Cam Mrs Franklin good, Pink Perfection small flowered. Pseudochrysanthum x 1350 best thing in garden.

1946 – CW
I ordered the big Insignis to be cut as dangerous 4 ft from ground, 16 ½ ft round.

1934 – JCW
Neriflorums very good. Azaleas promise well i.e Indian azaleas. Augustinii is very good and Auklandii also.

1931 – JCW
Mag sargentiana went out of bloom, it has been very fine indeed.

1929 – JCW
The Zealanicum hybrids are opening slowly, the other hybrids on the wane. Mag stellata and nearly all the hybrids are good, most of the trade cherries are over. Neriflorums have been good for two months and are so now. Augustinii at their best. Davidsonianum V.G.

1917 – JCW
R oleifolium remains the best rhodo’, the white Arboreum x Auklandii is very nice and hardly frosted. The red ones are ruined and are softer than pure Auklandii’s. They have begun to open and so have the cherries – R yunnanense – falconeri – davidsonianum – 1350 – lanatum – campylocarpum etc etc.

1913 – JCW
All the daffs are over. Auklandii’s would be good if the flowers were not so few. Standishii hybrids show up well. R keysii is very good. Van Tubergans Iris good. Azaleas nearing their best.

1905 – JCW
I came back from Dinton where I saw their best late poets and bought two of them, I had a very good time examining them.

1904 – JCW
Some Auklandii open mostly but half open. Marvel and Recurvas just open and their seedlings showing just as above.

1903 – JCW
The Auklandii at thier best, Dalhousii open, Marvel and Recurvas well open, also some I. pavonia. Doronicums at their best and so Maples.

1901 – JCW
Several Auklandii bursting their buds, many recurvas open, Marvel not yet properly open, picked a pod of N clusii in a pot.

1899 – JCW
The first Auklandii open and Glaucescens coming up well.

1897 – JCW
A pod of x Cyclamineus from outside.

One thought on “4th May

  1. Thank you Charles for a bit of sanity.
    It might interest you that here in France the Media have started to question the lockdown having previously been cheerleaders.
    On a News program it was clearly stated the French government has dug a hole for itself by frightening the population to such an extent no one dares go back to work on the designated May 11th.
    We’ll see what happens.
    I have enjoyed reading your common sense and I trust the Caerhays community is all well.

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