8th 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

2017 – CHW

This recently planted Enkianthus cernuus recurvus above Rogers Quarry is not like the one on the drive seen last week. It looks to be a tall growing form so is probably wrongly named. Only the slightest ‘recurve’ on the base of the bells.

Enkianthus cernuus recurvus
Enkianthus cernuus recurvus
Enkianthus cernuus recurvus
Enkianthus cernuus recurvus
Rhododendron ‘Nancy Evans’ just out with a nice colour contrast.
Rhododendron ‘Nancy Evans’
Rhododendron ‘Nancy Evans’
Rhododendron ‘Nancy Evans’
Rhododendron ‘Nancy Evans’
First flower this year on Rhododendron lindleyi. Quite a bit more pink here than on our older forms.
Rhododendron lindleyi
Rhododendron lindleyi
Decent flowers still on Camellia ‘Dr Burnside’ in the shade by Tin Garden.
Camellia ‘Dr Burnside’
Camellia ‘Dr Burnside’
Camellia ‘Dr Burnside’
Camellia ‘Dr Burnside’
Supposedly Enkianthus chinensis. The flowers should be yellow and red and I suppose they are just? Quite the largest bells I have ever seen on an enkianthus; especially a young plant only three years from planting. Hillier’s says it is related to Enkianthus deflexus and I think I would go along with that. Perhaps it is true to name after all? The Dutch suppliers in recent years have been very inaccurate in what they have supplied enkianthus wise. Nearby are a group of three Enkianthus cernuus rubens which are nowhere near red enough to be true and the stamens do not protrude through the bottom of the bells as they should.
Enkianthus chinensis
Enkianthus chinensis
Enkianthus chinensis
Enkianthus chinensis
Enkianthus chinensis
Enkianthus chinensis
A newly planted Diplapanax stachyanthus in full new growth below Donkey Shoe. Very odd and I suspect too tender for us to grow but we will see.
Diplapanax stachyanthus
Diplapanax stachyanthus
These Rhododendron orbiculare remain poor contenders to the now dead original Forrest introduction which grew nearby. Smaller leaves and trusses and even a slightly muddy pink.
Rhododendron orbiculare
Rhododendron orbiculare
Rhododendron orbiculare
Rhododendron orbiculare

2016 – CHW

A very hot day when the world and his wife had quite rightly decided to visit Richmond Park. Also thousands of bicyclists which made progress to the Isabella Plantation difficult even allowing for the abysmal signage in the park and being given the wrong satnav postcode. The grounds have recently had £2m of lottery funding and are starting to replant large glades having got rid of all the ponticum. Labelling is only just starting to show and sadly none of the myriads of Kurume and other evergreen azaleas are labelled. I had expected the evergreen azaleas to have been further out than they actually were but they were still quite a sight along the streams. The best thing in this garden today was an outstanding light pinkish clump of Rhododendron reticulatum. A lighter coloured form had just gone over further up the plantation. Quite similar to Rhododendron albrechtii but better!

Rhododendron reticulatum
Rhododendron reticulatum
Rhododendron reticulatum
Rhododendron reticulatum
Rhododendron reticulatum
Rhododendron reticulatum

Behind it was a large and pale coloured form of Rhododendron vaseyi. It is an ‘azalea’ to most people and a US species. The single plant at Caerhays is darker in colour and not as large. Often confused with Rhododendron viscosum which flowers rather later in the year and is also a US species. An interesting visit followed by a pleasant group lunch away from the crowds.

Rhododendron vaseyi
Rhododendron vaseyi
Rhododendron vaseyi
Rhododendron vaseyi
Rhododendron vaseyi
Rhododendron vaseyi
2015 – CHW
Yesterday’s political rhodo exit poll (one blue, three reds, two yellows and one undecided) proved to be quite as wrong as the pollsters themselves.   I have always assumed pollsters simply gave the answer that the person who paid them to do so wants.  Remember 1992 where the bastards were just as wrong as today.   Sadly we miss the precise 10pm exit poll at the BBC which made those well paid, left wing, lying commentators who had said the opposite for weeks look just as biased and stupid.   Hope it upset their scripts and dinner as much as it improved ours.  At 1.30pm I ring Di, my longstanding former PA, who is well away.   At 3.30 my brother who is having problems with the Noise Police.   His south London garden party sounds in full swing as the blue lights appear.Not strong enough for much today after an ‘all-nighter’ so just a quick trip to the Higher Rockery.
Vaccinum urceolatum 3
Vaccinum urceolatum
Vaccinum urceolatum 1
Vaccinum urceolatum

Here we have Vaccinum urceolatum in flower.  This mystery plant has puzzled experts for decades and none had ever been able to identify it until Susyn Andrews came up with the answer.  It has been in place for 100 years since the Rockery was created and has not got much bigger in the last 40.  Vaccinum, Pentapterigium or Gaultheria had been the question?  Since Susyn had not seen it in flower I hope she still agrees with the naming?  To have flummoxed Hillier, Lancaster and Gardiner etc is an unusual event and part of the fun of what we do.

Rhodo martinianum
Rhodo martinianum

Rhododendron martinianum just going over.  If all else fails we could redo the williamsianum cross ourselves another year.A rhododendron labelled Rhododendron bakeri which I cannot find a picture of in the handbook.  Its habit and appearance looks like Rhododendron flavidum to me but I may well be wrong?

Rhodo Emma Williams 1
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’
Rhodo Emma Williams 2
Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’

Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’ (yunnanense x ‘Trewithen Orange’) the colour sums up how I feel today!

1990 – FJW
First sign of rain since Easter Sunday – Michaels Pride nearly over. Azaleas in Drive well advanced – a very early year.

1969 – FJW
The garden nearing its peak. Burmanicum x cubettii at its best.

1964 – FJW
Swallows flying about. Garden at near peak bar Azaleas. Amoenas late. Japonicas at best. Auklandii at their peak.

1918 – JCW
A little May and I sent some to Werrington. Daffs and rhodo’s much as in 1915 but we never had a better year for the bloom escaping all weather injury from February – May. Recurvas at their best.

1915 – JCW
No May. Auklandii fair, daffs over, Orbiculare ½ open and so Baylei, a bad rhodo’ year from the frost.

1913 – JCW
Very very little May, hardly any lilac. Dalhousi, Ovatum, Orbiculare, Baylei all open.

1912 – JCW
Plenty of May everywhere, Lilac going back, Azaleas are very nice. Tubergens Iris are all over.

1911 – JCW
Auklandii very good indeed, not quite its best, M rubra nearly at its best, 481 half open, all recurvas open.

1910 – JCW
Most of the recurvas, late and cold under the north wind. I pavonia open – 481 not out yet – other daffs over. Auklandii on the wane – several Azaleas open. Montana rubra nearly over – has been very fine.

1907 – JCW
Several Recurvas not yet open. Dalhousi not open. Royali opening slowly and so Yunnanense and Azaleas, I korolkowi. Lady A Fitzwilliam at its best. Auklandii rather more than ½ open.

1906 – JCW
Recurvus at its best, Dalhousi open, Falconeri, Royali, Fortunei, Yunnanense. Many of the Azaleas, I korolkowi at their best. Primroses just over. I picked some Santa Maria and Emperor under glass. I pavonia open.

1901 – JCW
A full 10 days behind the above, though one or two azalea are open.

1897 – JCW
R edgeworthii at its best, also Azalea altaclarensis and mollis, a good few Iris siberica out. Poeticus Recurvus going back.

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