2019 – CHW
An RHS lecture tour to look at ‘unusual evergreen trees’ with eight in the audience.
Picea bicolor var. acicularis (Picea alcoquiana var. acicularis) with vibrant reddish cones on a young tree.
2018 – CHW
‘Magnolia Mania’ on the drive at last even if in the rain.
Magnolia liliiflora ‘Holland Red’ with a single flower in a pot. Destined to be planted in Old Park.
Magnolia ‘Randy’ (one of the stellata girls) is a good colour this year and much darker than most of the others.
A howling south easterly gale is battering the castle front but no trees down anywhere yet. The sea rages. This will be the end of the Magnolia mollicomatas and sargentiana robustas which were just going over anyway. Barbara Oozeerally is here to paint Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’ which I hope she managed to pick and photograph yesterday with Jaimie. She was also going to try Michelia ‘Touch of Pink’ and perhaps Magnolia ‘Philip Tregunna’ which are not in her first book of magnolia paintings.
Should we shut the gardens to the public? I do not quite rate the wind as strong enough and once in the top of the garden it is fine. Lizzy has been and checked.Then off to Trewidden to celebrate Elizabeth Bolitho’s 90th birthday. Trewidden was lived in by my great aunt Mary after 1955 when Uncle Charles died. Today it is owned by Alverne Bolitho. Too filthy to venture into the garden after the drinks party which was very jolly. Sir John Nott, my former boss/chairman at Lazards, told me he was unable to remember people’s names but could remember mine!
Elizabeth had worked at Caerhays from 1952 and had met and married Major Simon Bolitho shortly afterwards. Edward Bolitho made an excellent speech.
A garden tour and lecture on ‘Planting a Woodland Garden’ with 10 takers for a three hour walk including Old Park. All but two or three are well known to Caerhays and two very probably want to plant woodland gardens so well worth the effort. Two may do so in Ladock (near Truro).
We look at the unnamed Magnolia accuminata ‘Fertile Myrtle’ x Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’, now in full flower, which we grew from seed from the Magnolia Society International hybrids seed list. The Magnolia Society International have asked us to name it so I try it out on the tour party. One suggests ‘Fruit Salad’ which is not bad (I said 8/10) but surely not a descriptive name for a magnolia really! Perhaps someone reading my scribblings here can do better? ‘After a bad night on the piss’ or ‘Multi-coloured yawn’ would of course be equally inappropriate!
The rhododendron season is gathering pace and the best things in the garden are no longer magnolias, sadly.Rhododendron irroratum ‘Polkadot’ behind Georges Hut (five plants put out last year) are superb. Rhododendron irroratum (with less spots) is still a harbinger of spring at Burncoose by the garden crossroads but completely over three weeks ago. These plants came from Millais Nurseries so I must ask David Millais how he or his father came to name this special form of irroratum? It is presumably not a hybrid so possibly wild collected in China?
Rhododendron bahuiniflorum is a little known species but its yellow flowers are better than Rhododendron lutescens. If there is ever time (!) this would be the species to cross with something with even more yellow flowers, possibly Rhododendron concatenans or Rhododendron cinnabarinum? Is it lepidote or elepidote – need to check.
Jim Gardiner puts me firmly right in an email on Magnolia ‘Raspberry Fun’ which I got so excited about last week and said I would look up. As he pointed out it is clearly listed in the new Hillier’s as a x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ seedling raised in Korea at the Chollipo Arboretum who generously send us their seed list every year and then the seeds too. Jim must think I am a twit but there we are and, who cares, it was bloody good when first out although, today, it has faded and is merely a bit of a tired but improved Leonard Messel.
Non gardeners love a puzzle and there is no better example of ‘sporting’ in azaleas than the clump of Azalea ‘Palestrina’ under the main Magnolia campbellii. Palestrina often produces a branch with mauve flowers rather than the predominant normal white. A couple of plants here have not only mauve flowered branches but also branches with white rimmed light reddish flowers. Sporting is a phenomenon presumably showing weakness in the genetic makeup of the hybrid so that it reverts to its parents or siblings. Good fun! Whoever saw a Norwegian with a brown arm?
Better mention Rhododendron ‘Mrs J C Williams’ which still survives as an entry in the new Hillier’s. An RHS award in 1960 but rather passé today in terms of colour and impact but not hardiness. My great grandmother died well before my great grandfather so I must look up the parentage of this old Caerhays hybrid and ask Asia, our new Polish propagator from Poznan, to take cuttings in July.
Tomorrow we have a visitation from Tregullow and Trematon near Saltash on Grand National day. Lizzie may be going to her last hunt meet – certainly on old Josh – but I think we will interest the non horsers with a look at Staphylea during our tour. The Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’ behind the greenhouse are quite a sight.
2004 – FJW
House martins seen.
1995 – FJW
2 martins seen – dry spell. Azaleas early, Magnolias on time and Rhodo’s normal.
1990 – FJW
Very dry and has been so since March – oaks in leaf, beeches coming into leaf.
1941 – CW
Some cherries over, most not out. Still a flower on Green Gate Campbellii. Mag Veitchii just coming out. Denudata past its best, also Sargentiana and Mollicomata almost over. Daffs well past. Auklandii red and white hybrids beginning.
1933 – JCW
Much as in 1929. Augustinii in shelter remains very good.
1929 – JCW
Reticulata good. Mag denudata wanes but has been wonderful. Magnolia kobus very very good.
1928 – JCW
Davidsoniana, Calophytums, Augustinii and Augustinii hybrids very good. Mag alba superba is very striking though only lately planted. Camellia reticulata at its best, the double cherries and the common primrose also.
1924 – JCW
De Graaf in the Drive not open. Poets hardly open. Mag halleana (nursery window) most of it open. Erica arborea very good. Standard reticulatas not open.
1923 – JCW
Daffs are all over excepting a few last poets. The white Auklandii hybrids are at their best, the Orbiculare hybrids are very good. No frost as yet to do real harm. Prunus caloneura is over its best.
1920 – JCW
No poets out but nearly the best day of the season.
1915 – JCW
Engelheart was here yesterday, and the daffs were good, but there were no poets out then he declared them to be 30% above average.
1905 – JCW
J C W and Mary saw the first swallow.
1901 – JCW
Bob saw the first swallow.
1900 – JCW
Griflamme open one flower, and nearly all the Princep Mary has the pollen out.