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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.