After a warm Easter weekend the first bluebells appear outside the front door over the Bank Holiday.
Several later season magnolias still looking good in Kennel Close.
Magnolia ‘Wim Rutten’ is now opening its flowers quickly. 4 in all – first flowering and interesting.
The blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) is a joy in all the hedgerows around and about.
Magnolia ‘Sentinel’ is a Gresham Hybrid. The way the buds and flowers curve over at the top is attractive. This looked to be a dull and uninteresting magnolia initially but not now.
Magnolia ‘Amethyst Flame’ – NZ bred by Vance Hooper (M. liliiflora x M. ‘Vulcan’) is a small flower but increasingly good too. This ought to be grown more widely. Small growing (obviously).
Several of our Carpinus species are starting to produce flower catkins. Here Carpinus tschonoskii. Quite a show!
Also for the first time on Carpinus caroliniana ‘Red Fall’. Well before the leaves appear.
A young Magnolia labelled ‘Flamingo’ with 3 flowers. Sadly it is not true to name as ‘Flamingo’ should be a mix of yellow and pink similar to ‘Daybreak’.
Magnolia ‘Diana’ – first flowering – tiny flowers as yet.
The stand out new growth on Photinia lasiogyna.
A second Melliodendron xylocarpum with a dozen flowers above HQN. This one now growing in probably too much sun.
Illicium philippinense (CWJ 1246) was planted in 2017 but covered in flower at 5-6 feet in height today.
Photinia serratifolia var. ardisifolia (NMWJ 14513) with its splendid new growth which is very serrated.
First flowering of Viburnum ichangense (we have a Rubus species with the same name).
Attractive purple new leaves on Viburnum sympodiale (ex Nick Locke) planted last October.
2022 – CHW
Rhododendron hyperythrum ‘Omo’ – AM. Full out now and a very pure white as one might expect from this named form of the species.
A new camellia with the unlikely name of Camellia ‘Manuroad Road’ – from Stervinou originally. Variable flowers and very dark red.
Camellia reticulata ‘Debut’ getting going despite deer damage. Nice enough but not that markedly different. Worth propagating none the less.
Ribes longiracemosa living up to its name. Three more plants in the Isla Rose Plantation originally.
A young plant of Osmanthus yunnanensis with a few flowers. Deer nibbled to bits in previous years but it has revived.
First flowers showing high up on Rhododendron oreotrephes – an original wild collected clump which has been cut down several times and has self-seeded itself within the clump as the older trunks have gradually died off. A helpful characteristic! A light coloured form. I have seen much darker forms elsewhere.
Michelia ‘Fairy Cream’ comes out as ‘Fairy White’, alongside, is nearly over. This is just as good. ‘Fairy Lime’, also nearby, is still in tight bud.
Rhododendron haemaleum var. atrorubum (as in rhodo species pocket guide) (? var. atrorubens as on label) just out. We need to remember to propagate this especially for Peter Shotter who has it on his ‘wants’ list. Davidian described this as ‘dark red’ so the provenance of this remains uncertain as is stated in the Pocket Guide (which always has been too big for even my largest pocket).
Here are a few pictures of my (third) granddaughter, Lamorna, at her first family birthday party on her very first birthday yesterday (10th April).
2021 – CHW
Still cold overnight with a cold north wind. We need a day’s rain urgently now.Rhododendron ‘Elizabeth’ just coming out at the Four in Hand.
The new laundry now has a sink, and the windows are in.
Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Obelisk’ coming into flower at the sales point. I am thinking of starting an Amelanchier collection next winter in Old Park.
Azalea ‘Blushing Bride’ in the greenhouse. Used to grow outside above the greenhouse and now by the back yard. Clearly a house plant really but it does survive in the garden.
Magnolia ‘Purple Globe’ is not, as yet, even faintly ‘globe-like’.
Wisteria flower buds swelling up.
Magnolia ‘Blushing Belle’ is a fine show today on Sinogrande Walk. This is Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ x Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ and very well worth its place in any garden flowering mid-April (here). A hint of yellow but not too much. One which we should definitely propagate by grafting for the Burncoose catalogue.
Magnolia ‘Purpurascens’. Magnolia denudata x Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’ supposedly. Cannot see this really but this matches the picture in the Eisenhut book.
As good a carpet of violets as I have ever seen on the steep bank by the fernery. A mix of blue and purple shades but no whites in this patch.
Elizabeth Bolitho on the occasion of her 95th birthday with her sons Edward and Alverne and a presentation Magnolia ‘F J Williams’. Elizabeth Bolitho worked and lived at Caerhays in the early 1950s.
2020 – CHW
Looking around today I think we have achieved more in the garden in the last fortnight than we ever have before in early April. No flower shows, guided tours and other non-productive visitor stuff to get in the way. All the things you can do in a fine fortnight. Dead stumps all out with no mess. Paths levelled and the annual spraying round everything to make grass cutting easier later 60% complete. Spraying around things also means that when it does rain the water gets to the young plant rather than just encouraging weed growth.
The Chinese lockdown in Wuhan lasted 72 days and we have now done 20 or, arguably, 22. I may well be proved wrong but I would be surprised if the government does not relax at least some regulations by the end of April. It will, I expect, be June before we can go fully back to normal.
A blissfully quiet Easter weekend the like of which I hope we will never see again!
A call from a friend who has not been paid his £10k government COVID-19 grant although he is entirely in the hospitality business (tents). The problem is that on the council rating list he is classified as ‘warehouse and premises’. It will take some time for anomalies like this to be sorted out. At present he has no business left at all and may not reopen.
One small microcosm of the economy. Why have we shut everything down for an impending peak of circa 20,000 deaths? How much more personal misery and longer term cost for the country is lockdown creating? The NHS before everything today but, tomorrow, enforced bankruptcy. The bloody scientific experts see only death statistics rather than the wider picture. When will common sense – with some risk – return? The balance of our current approach is all wrong! With Boris on the mend there is perhaps more hope.
Will the Swedes show us the errors of our approach with no lockdown?
Sixteen pallet orders leaving the nursery last Thursday.
A robin has nested in an old gardening bag at The Hovel. The nest is made from Mary’s horse’s mane.
The paler original Camellia saluenensis still has decent flowers. This plant first showed colour in late November / early December.
We have never known the name of this pure white magnolia on Bond Street. It is one of the very last of the non-yellow magnolias to perform.
First leaves out on Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’ in the sun.
First flowers out on Staphylea colchica in shade on the drive. The ones in full sun have yet to show.
Camellia x williamsii ‘JC Williams’ still has a good show in shade.
Magnolia ‘Tranquility’ (quite dull) just opening. Magnolia brooklynensis ‘Woodsman’ x Magnolia ‘Gold Star’.
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’ not at all bad. Magnolia ‘Vulcan’ x Magnolia ‘Apollo’.
Magnolia ‘Apollo’ still out weeks on from starting.
What a sight this Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mag’s Pirouette’ is today on the drive.
I had forgotten about Magnolia ‘George Henry Kern’. Planted on the drive in 1990 and now a small neat plant hidden within azaleas. The cross is Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ x Magnolia stellata ‘Rosea’. A wonderful plant for a small garden or even a pot.
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Raspberry Fun’ now full out and splendid.
Magnolia ‘Sentinel’ with recurved flowers. A Gresham hybrid of no great note.
Magnolia ‘Amethyst Flame’ (2015 planted). Magnolia liliiflora x Magnolia ‘Vulcan’. Tiny flowers as you can see.
Prunus ‘Horinji’ – another quite superb Matsumae cherry and full out today.
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’ is turning into a nice thing. As far as I can work out this has not yet got a registered name. I suspect it will!
One plant of Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’ now full out.
2019 – CHW
A few more topical tips and magnolia videos today with Karol for the website as you will see.
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’ (Magnolia ‘Apollo’ x Magnolia ‘Vulcan’) is one of the big new ‘finds’ this year amongst the many new varieties which we have looked at in the last few weeks. Very late flowering and a subtle mix of the best colours and shapes from both its parents. Signs of the true New Zealand colours of M. ‘Apollo’. In New Zealand ‘Vulcan’ is a large flower with a reddish-purple ‘Lanarth’ colour. In the UK it flowers first in a ‘rose-like’ shape with light purple flowers. At Burncoose, as the tree has matured, the flowers at the top of the tree have finally come true. Much debate along the way but the true Vulcan flowers are excellent. ‘Tikitere’ is very dark in bud opening paler with a whitish rim and veining on the petals. A vigorous tree here three or four years from planting out with 10 to 12 flowers which we have been watching slowly open over the last three weeks.
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x ‘Black Tulip’ has been out for a while now and the leaves are emerging. Paler than ‘Black Tulip’ as you would expect but with a rounded Black Tulip shape.
Rhododendron irroratum ‘Polka Dot’ full out and very striking. A superb form grown by Millais nurseries.
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’ just coming out. Plastered in flower.
Rhododendron ‘Ann Teese’ from Glendoick is perhaps the best thing in the garden (rhodo wise) today.
First house martins seen above the lawn today. Just a few trying out their old nest sites below the castle battlements.
2018 – CHW
I saw the first swallow of the season in the farmyard. No sign of any house martins yet.
A trip to see the magnolias which have been planted fairly recently in Old Park. It was disappointing!
Magnolia ‘Anticipation’ is making quite a nice show above the gunnera beds. I think this must have Magnolia denudata in its parentage but not in the Callaway reference book.
Magnolia ‘Cup Cake’ has a silly name and insignificant flowers that have been battered and are nothing ‘cup’ or ‘cake’ like. Crap!
A bit more like it was Magnolia ‘Angelica’ which has grown well but is just another pure white with a flash of pink at the base. Pink going on brown this year unfortunately.
At least the Rhododendron calophytum were at their best today above Beech Walk.
And the view of the various rhododendrons out today not bad – some more Rhododendron calophytum and some Rhododendron sutchuenense.
Then on to Forty Acre Wood to do the same thing. The Four Burrow Hunt who were here last Saturday have made a filthy mess of the paths.Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’ superb as ever and now a large plant covered in flower and largely unblemished. Pity it is not seen by the public but we have planted others.
Magnolia ‘Crimson Stipple’ unexciting and not very ‘crimson’ at all.
Magnolia amoena was a rather better form than the one on the drive at Burncoose. Most flowers over but much larger and floppier than I have seen with more pink at the base of the tepals on the buds before opening. Not bad for this dull species.
Magnolia ‘Delicatissima’ – more of the same – dull!
Magnolia ‘Pink Diamond’ not very ‘pink’ or ‘diamond’ either.
Magnolia ‘Pickards Crystal’ – see for yourself!
Another Pickards hybrid – could not read the label.
I suppose all the early pinks were frosted out but what we have left here is all near white with faint pink markings. All much the same, all very dull and unremarkable and largely not worth growing except ‘Mags Pirouette’. So much for my collection of the Pickards hybrids I am afraid.Then to Penvergate which is better.
A 20 year old Magnolia soulangeana was quite good.
Magnolia soulangeana ‘Alba Superba’ nearly over. Why is this soulangeana so early?An excellent Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ just coming out. The best by far as regards colour of the three which we have here. A worthy winner in Windsor on Saturday.
Elderly (100 year old) Magnolia soulangeanas at the end of Penvergate making a real show.
Another Magnolia ‘Apollo’ which is the best today of the couple I have looked at elsewhere this week which were too damaged to make much of a show apart from the odd flower.
2017 – CHW
While spraying the gorse regrowth in the Treveor Hill new planting a typically chaotic pheasant’s nest was found. Three eggs only and one clearly broken. They lay any old where and seldom get them actually in the nest. No wonder we never see any hatch off from the hundreds of hens left on the ground in February.
52 members of the Huers Club (farmers) for a garden tour and supper.
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubishodoki’ now full out.The large flowers open flat. We have two decent plants in flower today but I fear that the ones at Burncoose are not true to name. Planted a few years earlier than the Caerhays ones but no flowers this year and very different bark. Pseudokobus perhaps but not the ‘full monty’.
The four Rhododendron ‘Loch Awe’ are now full out below the Engine House. A pleasant trace of pink.
Magnolia ‘Peachy’ is just out and quite a peculiar colour combination.
Prunus ‘Horinji’ flowering nicely. Only planted in the Autumn. If only the names were a bit easier on the tongue.
Magnolia ‘Lemon Star’ (syn ‘Swedish Star’) is just out and what a good yellow it again is! Even the farmers liked it and they might even buy one or two.
The bank outside the front door that was all primroses 10 days ago is now all bluebells (not Spanish either!). These have seeded themselves here in the last 20 plus years as a result of late grass cutting.
2016 – CHW
Jolly trip around the garden with Sir Richard Needham and party on a fine day. Sir Richard in good form expressing his lack of plant knowledge at every opportunity. He never did identify ‘a myrtle’ and tried hard to catch me out on various conifers with no success. Mr Billy enjoyed himself enormously with a light coloured Labrador bitch getting clouted frequently for his amorous intents.The weekend wind has indeed taken its toll on the best magnolia flowers but Magnolia campbellii alba (original) is the only one to have held up more or less intact. The party are still surprised and impressed by what they saw battered though it was.
2015 – CHW
Predictably they are all late for lunch and the afternoon’s racing at Aintree. Old Scout, our oldest Labrador, expresses his displeasure at the absence of nibblets on the floor by leaving a daisy chain of diarrhoea in front of the buffet lunch.The guests bring a rare fern which apparently only grows in Trematon Gardens. Pretty dull but rather like the very rare to Cornwall fern in the Lower Rockery which the HLS weed survey discovered in 2011. Need to investigate and photograph.
The stachyurus are all full out. Stachyurus chinensis is still far and away the best spectacle but very short lived as a plant – 20 years or so. Stachyurus praecox has much shorter and chubbier racemes which appear with the start of the leaves. Stachyurus lancifolius is in the diary on 8th March as ‘not very different’ and Hillier’s now has it as a form of Stachyurus praecox listed as praecox var matsuzaki. At the moment none of the new evergreen species such as Stachyurus yunnanensis and Stachyurus sigeyosii are any match for Stachyurus chinensis in flower but these are not yet fully out and a bit chewed by roe deer.
Magnolia ‘Sunray’ has its first four flowers. Nothing to write home about as a yellow and probably should be cut down soon. We need rain urgently for the new planting. Only a dribble overnight.
1998 – FJW
Very wet fortnight. Bad floods central England. Camellias never better.
1984 – FJW
Late Easter, leisurely spring – cold and dry – magnolias and camellias good. Rhodo’s shy.
1978 – FJW
2 inches of snow found on waking.
1934 – JCW
Magnolia sargentiana is open and so kobus and denudata. Mag nicholsoniana is just moving. Mag halleana and kobus are both of them good.
1933 – JCW
(Handwritten note in Garden Book)
On April 11th I crossed the old Camellia speciosa on about 20 or 30 flowers with the pollen of Camellia salicifolia.
1932 – JCW
Magnolia sargentiana is half of it open, but is feeling the wind very much. The big Mag kobus is over. Mag denudata is good. P incisa is very good. Daffs are far on.
1917 – JCW
Very late season, early yellow stuff just starting, snow this morning, impossible to stop snow? Outside nearly all the stuff is or has been frosted. Rho fargesii stands up to it, and the end should be June.
1905 – JCW
Not so far on as in 1903. We sent Penguin to the Plymouth Show yesterday. Cerasus pendula is good, M stellata very good. Grandis not yet open. A few grap tulips.
1903 – JCW
C saw the first swallow, waterlilies well on the move. Cherries well open, we should have had no trumpets at the show today.
1901 – JCW
Show Day. These were open and at it in good order – Weardale, Glory of Leiden. M plemp, 223, Golden Bell, Victoria, also many of our best saucer eyes, Dante, 137.
1900 – JCW
Took the pollen out of the first Lulworth, saw a bit of Cerasus pendula open.
1899 – JCW
Tulips at their best. Cherries hardly out. All the later daffs at about their best. Send flowers to Birmingham tomorrow.
1898 – JCW
Tulips well open. Cherries have begun to open. Lucifer open.
1897 – JCW
Tulips nearly over. Cherries also. The first seedling Auklandii came out.
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