A newly planted Acer kawakamii. The old tree in the Aucklandii Garden died last year, and the stump came out when the digger was last here. The one beside the drive died several years ago. A ste
Cotoneaster silverstrii flowering well below White Styles. One of the first to show flowers in our newish collection of c.30 species.
Rhododendron wadanum ‘Album’ – sub species of Rhododendron reticulatum perhaps? Surely a Rh. reticulatum subspecies would have some evergreen leaves?
Staphylea colchica ‘Black Beauty’ now into leaf. It will get darker yet.
Juglans major has interesting new growth. As nice as Juglans ailantifolia?
Rhododendron ‘Mrs Lionel de Rothschild’ is one we always forget to propagate from cuttings. Need to remind Asia.
This clump of Rhododendron formosum in the Higher Quarry Nursery Bed was cut back hard 3 years ago but already a good show of flowers (possibly better). Many of the scented rhodo’s would not respond well to this sort of chopping back but formosum has. Unexpected!
Rhododendron ‘Tibet’ a (new to us) williamsianum hybrid, flowering well in the nursery. These plants will need to get planted out next spring. On reflection I think it used to grow on Hovel Court Road in the williamsianum hybrid groups there?
A rare flower on a struggling big leafed rhododendron. Despite watering of the nursery bed these plants had horrid time in the drought and produced little new growth and only small deformed leaves as you see here.
A newly planted Abies delavayi with good new growth.
The Pheasant Eye daffodils on Hovel Court Road still good in May and, as usual, the very last of the daffodil season.
Rhododendron augustinii nearly over with the new growth coming. All too brief a flowering season.
2022 – CHW
Exciting looking early results in germination of the many scores of rhododendron seedlings sown at the nursery this year.
Excellent flowering of the Caerhays bred Rhododendron ‘Rescassa’.
Rhododendron ‘Mrs Lionel de Rothschild’
Leaf and flower on Acer henryi.
Rhododendron ‘Nancor’ and Rhododendron ‘May Day’.
This fuchsia had flowers left on it in late December and here it is in flower again already.
First flowers out on Paeonia delavayi.
Syringa microphylla ‘Superba’ by the front door.
At Burncoose to welcome the arrival of our entry for Plant of the Year at Chelsea. From Eire comes a new iris with yellow leaves.
Not sure if this is Southern Marsh Orchid or, more probably, Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula) except that its leaves are plain green and not black spotted as were the ones seen at Bonython which were also lighter in colour in the flowers. Anyway these grow on the verge (when the council manages not to cut them) opposite the entrance to Gargus Farm on the turning to Caerhays.
2021 – CHW
James Williams sends me pictures of Acer palmatum ‘Scolopendrifolium’ on the drive at Burncoose Nurseries which was just coming into leaf. It is equally stunning in its yellow autumn colour.
Also, from Tregullow, his plants of Rhododendron ‘Colonel Rogers’ which is a Rhododendron niveum x Rhododendron falconeri cross. Very splendid this year. Last year it had relatively few flowers.
Rhododendron reticulatum full out in the Rockery.
Azalea ‘Black Hawk’ just coming out. A good contrast soon between the other colours.
Rhododendron kiusianum was cut back hard two years ago and has responded well with more larger flowers.
A plant of Rhododendron tethropeplum with larger than usual flowers in the Rockery. This plant was being swamped by a Podocarpus which has now been pruned back. I had completely forgotten it was here.
Berberis amurensis var. latifolia (from Korea) is now developing into a substantial shrub with attractive new foliage and flowers.
Azalea oldhamii just out but sparse flowering this year even on youngish plants.
Rhododendron neriiflorum making a decent show. Another species which had died out here now making a comeback.
2020 – CHW
The weekend newspapers come close to saying that the lockdown was a grotesque reaction to what has proved to be the reality but, while public opinion is still firmly with a very gradual easing of restrictions and remains fully in approval of the lockdown policy, it is impossible for them to come clean. The interesting article about Harold Wilson’s response to the 1968 flu epidemic should be a ‘must read’ for the ‘undecideds’ about all this. Facemasks were worn, 20,000 people died, the country was panicked and some schools shut. There was however no lockdown and restaurants remained open if not exactly full. It is of course public opinion about the NHS in particular that has forced the government now into creating an economic catastrophe for which we will all pay (including the NHS).I have always admired Matthew Ridley since I knew him at school. Because he is a viscount and a landowner he is naturally derided by the more left and climate change supporting journalists. However he writes sense and, over the weekend, encouraged us all to take more vitamin D (or exposure to the sun). The lack of vitamin D, he feels, makes viral/flu epidemics worse in the depths of winter. A few statistics to prove it but, as always, the common sense approach could very easily be adopted by everyone.Clare from Burncoose thinks my Prunus pendula ‘Stellata’ from the other day in the diary is Malus ‘Royal Beauty’ or Malus ‘Echtermeyer’. She is very probably right. Part of the fun of this diary is to be corrected from time to time on assumptions / incorrect labelling.Jaimie found another 1999 planted Magnolia x wieseneri flowering in Penvergate.
He has been creating a lot of new layers. Here are some pictures of previous years’ work which will need moving and replanting in the autumn having been hugely successful. It has however taken four years to get this far.
Rhododendron ‘Cowslip’ is another williamsianum hybrid.
The base of one of the two huge clumps of Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’. You have a job to see the best of the crowns.
An upright trunk of a dead Pinus insignis is being invaded with strands of honey fungus as you can see but leaving deliberate deadwood like this provides much for woodpeckers to do as can also be seen.
Although the elderly Magnolia macrophylla fell over it has still come into leaf.
Rhododendron klossii (CW & T 6346 to 10m 19.1.12) is not in any reference book. Nearly leafless as the new growth emerges.
I had forgotten about this Acer cappadocicum ‘Aureum’. Here with flower and seeds emerging.
Cornus florida ‘Red Giant’ slowly emerging into colour.
Ilex yunnanensis with new growth and flower showing. I saw this at Rosemoor. Odd that it was not grown here before as far as I can see.
This plant of Magnolia ‘Ossie’s Yellow’ is doing rather better than the other.
Halesia macgregori with its first flower. Another plant has flowered profusely at a smaller size than this.
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’ has made a good show above Crinodendron Hedge.
The remains of a Rhododendron thompsonii after being hit by a tree.
Near enough to Azalea ‘Northern Hi-Lights’ but not quite. The more I look at Mr Galle’s book on azaleas that lists thousands of deciduous varieties the more stuck I get. Without more pictures the book becomes a pointless list of names with descriptions of just a word or two.
Two Rhododendron heliolepsis of which one is much darker than the other.
My favourite species – Rhododendron floccigerum. This very old plant struggles on having falling over as you can see.
A good late flowering Rhododendron sinogrande (seedling) tucked away in shade and shelter.
Rhododendron makinoi or one of its hybrids. Very sparse flowering as this species seems always to be.
Unusual to see an Embothrium flowering only two years from planting.
A huge clump of this deciduous azalea and nice enough too. One of 40 to 50 clumps here in need of the (very elusive) expert on them.
Rhododendron prunifolium – another old plant at the Four in Hand. At least this one is relatively easy to spot and Mr Galle’s book even has a picture to confirm!
2019 – CHW
To Wakehurst by 9am to be met by Ed Ikin. 500+ acres of garden so, in three hours, we only really managed some of the Himalayan and Chilean garden plants and a few of the New Zealanders. Much talk of change and ripping up the past to create new things. An American prairie with bison or cattle in place of many Chinese things? Progress or change for the sake of political correctness dressed up as climate change science? Overall a superbly managed garden (and much more) with 37 gardeners on the staff. You need a week to see it all properly. 400,000 visitors but, under an ancient arrangement, National Trust members get in for free so you now pay to park as at the Savill Garden. 17,500 people have joined their own membership scheme.
A few of the superb specimen plants we saw:
Carpinus rankanensis in full flower
Osmanthus yunnanensis – a feature plant with a circular appearance
Aesculus assamica – with flowers just starting
Carpinus turczaninowii – with male and female flowers together
To lunch at Borde Hill with the Stephenson-Clarkes who are open spring to autumn and have 30,000 visitors. The garden is compartmentalised with the rose garden being Eleni’s creation. Sculptures everywhere in the Mediterranean garden and the Italian garden with more to do in the woodland area. Wonderful views and some spectacular older trees.
An ancient Magnolia obovata in full flower.
Alongside it an equally old Magnolia fraseri. Ours always used to flower in September/October but this was full out today. Much larger yellow flowers than I remember.
Magnolia officinalis completes the trio of magnolia trees all in flower.
A magnolia felled in the 1987 hurricane had reshot into a three stemmed tree in two places.
Chamaecyparis formosensis (Taiwan cypress) was impressive.
Meliosma alba (formerly Meliosma beaniana) in full flower. I have seen this only twice before at RBG Edinburgh and Caerhays. The flowers on the ageing Caerhays plant are greener with longer tassels. It has never produced the spectacle of the Borde Hill tree which apparently sets viable seeds. I must request some in the autumn. Absolutely wonderful and the best thing in the garden today.
Jim and Alison Gardiner were with the tour. This is Jim’s ‘Gardiner Grove’ of yellow magnolias.
This metal box was once a Hampton Court display before it moved to Borde Hill. You put your head through the holes to see the ‘garden’ of Pittosporum inside.
Paeonia ‘Anne Rosse’ – a Borde Hill cross between Paeonia delavayi and Paeonia lutea var. ludlowii.
Paeonia ludlowii – an especially fine form (previously lutea var. ludlowii).
Discaria discolor – a completely new genus and tree to me with contorted bark.
Unknown tree which might be a mulberry. None of the ‘experts’ present could give it a name.
The Emmenopterys henryi which flowered in 2011 and last year at Borde Hill. One of only two or three Emmenopterys ever to have flowered in the UK. The Caerhays plant is of similar age but never has.
2018 – CHW
Getting rather dry! An amazing thing to say but the newly planted rhodos in Rookery Nursery Bed could do with a drink.
Betula albosinensis ‘China Ruby’ is starting to develop nice bark on its stem five or six years from planting.
Cornus florida ‘Eternal’ with its striking odd shaped double flowers has been standing out for a fortnight but by no means all its flowers are fully out yet when you look closely. Burncoose once listed this and should again. Very excellent plant!
Lithocarpus lepidocarpus with its wind-scorched old leaves and striking red new growth. Quite a find as this is a new species to us.
Another not quite so startling form of Rhododendron floccigerum above the main quarry. These were tissue culture raised plants by Ros Smith and planted in 2015. First flowering I think.
This looks like Rhododendron ‘Tally Ho’ but is not on the plans and is perhaps out a bit early.
Endless variation in Rhododendron yunnanense from rose to white. Falling leylandii have just crushed half the group here in the Rookery.
Hidden away is a huge and very late flowering Rhododendron sinogrande. The plant is on its side and surrounded by holly which had protected it in the March gales.
This is the new growth and flowers on Salix moupinensis. It looks very similar to what we saw on Salix fargesii a fortnight ago but the reference books say they are very similar.
I was quite wrong about Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. Despite all its leaves being browned off and frozen into certain death there is now vigorous new growth all over the plant.
2017 – CHW
An elderly plant of the very dark coloured Azalea ‘Black Hawk’ in the Rockery with some sun scorching on the flowers. A nice contrast to the Rhododendron reticulatum behind it which we saw last week. Planted deliberately for the colour contrast 100 years ago I guess?
A young plant of Rhododendron tethropeplum; one of the parents to Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’.
Rhododendron kiuisianum in the Rockery. The larger clump on the drive has a faint whitish star in the centre of the pink flowers but this is not quite out yet. Rather too hot a position for it really.
Flowers on Vaccinum urceolatum also in the Rockery. We have seen seeds on this very rare plant but I do not remember photographing the strange reddish globular flowers as far out as this before. I see this listed in Hillier’s but John Hillier and many others failed to identify or recognise it over many years.
Strangely the huge Gunnera manicata bed in Old Park has been frosted. The damage looks bad but these robust plants will easily grow through this. One of those two very early morning frosts while we were in Wales a week ago must have done the damage. Odd but good that it caught nothing else in the garden.
Here are some pictures of yesterday’s RHS yellow magnolia lecture held in the warmth of the new conservatory at Burncoose. We had flowers of nearly 40 different yellow or yellowish magnolias on show and viewed 18 separate ones growing away in the garden during the tour. The attendees spent lunch hearing Chelsea anecdotes of some naughtiness!
The best magnolia show in the Burncoose garden then was Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Woodsman’ which might yet make it to Chelsea as there is still plenty of bud.
Here is another picture of my granddaughter Isla Rose! Not sure if the thought police like babies loose on sofas!
2016 – CHW
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’ (‘Woodsman’ x ‘Butterflies’) is nicely out in Penvergate. Strangely Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ is nearly over beside it while ‘Yellow Fever’ is not showing at all. Normally they are out together and ‘Sunburst’ is later.
We have seen the rare Magnolia officinalis var biloba in flower before. Planted in 1997 it has been showing for four or five years. The buds are slightly windblown but still a superb delicate pink on opening.
Another smaller Magnolia ‘Sunburst’ on the drive is just showing. This is ‘up there’ with Magnolia ‘Lois’ at this stage of its flower but fades quickly as you can see on one flower.
Magnolia ‘Genie’ below Donkey Shoe is still quite a sight. These plants do flower for six to seven weeks which makes them pretty special in the magnolia world.
Hidden away below it is another fairly mature Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’ with rather more pink in the flower than Michelia x foggii ‘Allspice’ seen a few days ago.
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Black Beauty’ is looking good. The best thing is the light creamy white insides to the near black tepals.
Our largest Magnolia rostrata has flower buds showing pink very high up. This was given to us by Tom Hudson when our original plant died 20 plus years ago. We have another through the hedge beside Mr Rogers Quarry but no flowers here yet.
Magnolia ‘Randy’ is looking good. This one was inevitably always pinched when we planted it at Windsor.
Magnolia ‘Sunray’ is a very quick fader to a dullish cream colour.
Another Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’ seems to lack as much pink in the bud as the one seen earlier.
The Lindera obtusiloba is finally full out with its ‘mustard yellow’ flowers. The one I photographed at Rosemoor in March was out much earlier and very pale by comparison.
A second glorious day with the garden overflowing with scent and people!
2015 – CHW
Still windy and unsettled. The rhododendrons for Chelsea are rushing out in the coldstore and probably too far out now. The new growth has started to etiolate so we have put them outside in the yard. The trouble with coldstores, even with artificial light, is that they affect the natural metabolism of the plant and, in evergreens, can cause premature leaf drop.
Two linderas in flower. The relatively newly discovered (and easy from seed) Lindera aggregata, an evergreen with silvery undersides to its leaves, has tiny and uninteresting flowers. Lindera obtusiloba normally flowers in March, well before the leaves, but this year the flowers are only appearing now. We have several new lindera species so more to look for with the planting plans.
A few newer rhododendrons catch the eye: The pink form of Rhododendron edgeworthii is a stunner. Rather better than our own ‘BertsOwn’ a similar but less striking edgeworthii hybrid.
Rhododendron johnstoneanum ‘Double Diamond’ may be a weak and insipid, short lived plant but it is superb too although here slightly blemished by the heavy rain. I remember a mauve form growing at Trengwainton called, I think, ‘Johnny Johnstone’ but possibly different parentage? Presumably of Trewithen origin?
Rhododendron ‘Silver Sixpence’ – good nursery seller but I had forgotten we also had mature plants here.
1992 – FJW
1st day opened house – about 25.
1963 – FJW
Rhodo’s have had a good year and are about at their best. Worried about Nothofagus obliqua which looks far from well.
1946 – CW
Staphylea very good and Auklandii at their best – Aureum, Yellow Hammer and a good many Concatenans x Maddeni out. Kurumes going over. Peonies yellow very good. Many Azaleas out, a Royalii Maddeni hybrid but mostly frosted in the 40 Acres. All daffodils over but Recurvas.
1940 – CW
Mag sargentiana over for more than two weeks – Staphylea nearly gone. Many Azaleas out and Amoena in drive at its best – Rho Auklandii very good – Mag nitida fully out but flowers touched with frost – all daffs over – Rho augustinii at its best – several peonies out in Tin Garden – a pink Kurume at its best.
1933 – JCW
No Sargenti bloom for ten days. Staphylea very good for about three weeks. Pink Kurume has been open a week. Some red Azaleas show colour. Augustinii at its best.
1932 – JCW
Mag sargenti is just over, a late season. Cherries remain good. Back Gate pink Kurume is half open. Staphyleas are good.
1927 – JCW
The Back Gate pink Kurume is very good, the blue stuff is all over excepting the late Augustinii in the Auklandii Garden. The Zealanicums are opening, Cornish Loderi is moving just, some Azaleas are showing. Genestrianum is open for the first time.
1924 – JCW
Show Day at Truro. It is a very bad bud year for Rhodo’s, a lot of cold has also cut the buds. Pink Kurume at the Back Gate is very good indeed.
1908 – JCW
Recurvas well out much of it. Clematis montana rubra is good. Tubergans Iris have 40 to 50 blooms. Maples are good, some roses open, a few very late daffs to open yet.
1900 – JCW
Recurvas open. Marvel not properly and Glaucescens moving.
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