11th April

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

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.

pallet orders
pallet orders
A robin has nested in an old gardening bag at The Hovel. The nest is made from Mary’s horse’s mane.
robin's nest
robin’s nest
robin's nest
robin’s nest
The paler original Camellia saluenensis still has decent flowers. This plant first showed colour in late November / early December.
Camellia saluenensis
Camellia saluenensis
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.
pure white magnolia
pure white magnolia
First leaves out on Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’ in the sun.
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’
First flowers out on Staphylea colchica in shade on the drive. The ones in full sun have yet to show.
Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica
Camellia x williamsii ‘JC Williams’ still has a good show in shade.
Camellia x williamsii ‘JC Williams’
Camellia x williamsii ‘JC Williams’
Camellia x williamsii ‘JC Williams’
Camellia x williamsii ‘JC Williams’
Camellia x williamsii ‘JC Williams’
Camellia x williamsii ‘JC Williams’
Magnolia ‘Tranquility’ (quite dull) just opening. Magnolia brooklynensis ‘Woodsman’ x Magnolia ‘Gold Star’.
Magnolia ‘Tranquility’
Magnolia ‘Tranquility’
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’ not at all bad. Magnolia ‘Vulcan’ x Magnolia ‘Apollo’.
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’
Magnolia ‘Apollo’ still out weeks on from starting.
Magnolia ‘Apollo’
Magnolia ‘Apollo’
What a sight this Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mag’s Pirouette’ is today on the drive.
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mag’s Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mag’s Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mag’s Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mag’s Pirouette’
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 ‘George Henry Kern’
Magnolia ‘George Henry Kern’
Magnolia ‘George Henry Kern’
Magnolia ‘George Henry Kern’
Magnolia ‘George Henry Kern’
Magnolia ‘George Henry Kern’
The first deciduous azaleas are starting to open.
deciduous azaleas
deciduous azaleas
Azalea ‘Black Hawk’ not out properly yet.
Azalea 'Black Hawk'
Azalea ‘Black Hawk’
Rhododendron moorii just coming.
Rhododendron moorii
Rhododendron moorii
Betula albosinensis ‘Chinese Garden’ (syn. ‘China Rose’) with wonderful peeling bark.
Betula albosinensis ‘Chinese Garden’
Betula albosinensis ‘Chinese Garden’
Betula albosinensis ‘Chinese Garden’
Betula albosinensis ‘Chinese Garden’
Wonderful trunks and bark on Lithocarpus hancei.
Lithocarpus hancei
Lithocarpus hancei
Lithocarpus hancei
Lithocarpus hancei
A dangling branch from an old Pinus pinaster.
Pinus pinaster
Pinus pinaster
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Raspberry Fun’ now full out and splendid.
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Raspberry Fun’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Raspberry Fun’
Magnolia ‘Sentinel’ with recurved flowers. A Gresham hybrid of no great note.
Magnolia ‘Sentinel’
Magnolia ‘Sentinel’
Magnolia ‘Sentinel’
Magnolia ‘Sentinel’
Magnolia ‘Amethyst Flame’ (2015 planted). Magnolia liliiflora x Magnolia ‘Vulcan’. Tiny flowers as you can see.
Magnolia ‘Amethyst Flame’
Magnolia ‘Amethyst Flame’
Magnolia ‘Amethyst Flame’
Magnolia ‘Amethyst Flame’
Prunus ‘Horinji’ – another quite superb Matsumae cherry and full out today.
Prunus ‘Horinji’
Prunus ‘Horinji’
Prunus ‘Horinji’
Prunus ‘Horinji’
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!
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’
One plant of Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’ now full out.
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’

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 ‘Tikitere’
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’
Magnolia ‘Tikitere’
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.
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x ‘Black Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x ‘Black Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x ‘Black Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Rose Marie’ x ‘Black Tulip’
Rhododendron irroratum ‘Polka Dot’ full out and very striking. A superb form grown by Millais nurseries.
Rhododendron irroratum ‘Polka Dot’
Rhododendron irroratum ‘Polka Dot’
Rhododendron irroratum ‘Polka Dot’
Rhododendron irroratum ‘Polka Dot’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’ just coming out. Plastered in flower.
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Rhododendron ‘Ann Teese’ from Glendoick is perhaps the best thing in the garden (rhodo wise) today.
Rhododendron ‘Ann Teese’
Rhododendron ‘Ann Teese’
Rhododendron ‘Ann Teese’
Rhododendron ‘Ann Teese’
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 ‘Anticipation’
Magnolia ‘Anticipation’
Magnolia ‘Anticipation’
Magnolia ‘Anticipation’
Magnolia ‘Anticipation’
Magnolia ‘Anticipation’
Magnolia ‘Cup Cake’ has a silly name and insignificant flowers that have been battered and are nothing ‘cup’ or ‘cake’ like. Crap!
Magnolia ‘Cup Cake’
Magnolia ‘Cup Cake’
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.
Magnolia ‘Angelica’
Magnolia ‘Angelica’
Magnolia ‘Angelica’
Magnolia ‘Angelica’
Magnolia ‘Angelica’
Magnolia ‘Angelica’
At least the Rhododendron calophytum were at their best today above Beech Walk.
Rhododendron calophytum
Rhododendron calophytum
Rhododendron calophytum
Rhododendron calophytum
And the view of the various rhododendrons out today not bad – some more Rhododendron calophytum and some Rhododendron sutchuenense.
view of the various rhododendrons
view of the various rhododendrons

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 x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’
Magnolia ‘Crimson Stipple’ unexciting and not very ‘crimson’ at all.
Magnolia ‘Crimson Stipple’
Magnolia ‘Crimson Stipple’
Magnolia ‘Crimson Stipple’
Magnolia ‘Crimson Stipple’
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 amoena
Magnolia amoena
Magnolia amoena
Magnolia amoena
Magnolia ‘Delicatissima’ – more of the same – dull!
Magnolia ‘Delicatissima’
Magnolia ‘Delicatissima’
Magnolia ‘Delicatissima’
Magnolia ‘Delicatissima’
Magnolia ‘Pink Diamond’ not very ‘pink’ or ‘diamond’ either.
Magnolia ‘Pink Diamond’
Magnolia ‘Pink Diamond’
Magnolia ‘Pickards Crystal’ – see for yourself!
Magnolia ‘Pickards Crystal’
Magnolia ‘Pickards Crystal’
Another Pickards hybrid – could not read the label.
Another Pickards hybrid
Another Pickards hybrid
Another Pickards hybrid
Another Pickards hybrid

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.

pheasant’s nest
pheasant’s nest

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’.

Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubishodoki’
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubishodoki’
The four Rhododendron ‘Loch Awe’ are now full out below the Engine House. A pleasant trace of pink.
Rhododendron ‘Loch Awe’
Rhododendron ‘Loch Awe’
Rhododendron ‘Loch Awe’
Rhododendron ‘Loch Awe’
Magnolia ‘Peachy’ is just out and quite a peculiar colour combination.
Magnolia ‘Peachy’
Magnolia ‘Peachy’
Prunus ‘Horinji’ flowering nicely. Only planted in the Autumn. If only the names were a bit easier on the tongue.
Prunus ‘Horinji’
Prunus ‘Horinji’
Prunus ‘Horinji’
Prunus ‘Horinji’
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.
Magnolia ‘Lemon Star’
Magnolia ‘Lemon Star’
Magnolia ‘Lemon Star’
Magnolia ‘Lemon Star’
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.
bluebells
bluebells
bluebells
bluebells

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.
Magnolia campbellii alba (original)
Magnolia campbellii alba (original)
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.
STACHYRUS 'chinensis'
STACHYRUS ‘chinensis’

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.

STACHYRUS praecox
STACHYRUS praecox
STACHYRUS praecox 04
STACHYRUS praecox
STACHYRUS praecox 03
STACHYRUS praecox
MAGNOLIA 'Sunray' 02
MAGNOLIA ‘Sunray’
MAGNOLIA 'Sunray'
MAGNOLIA ‘Sunray’

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.

RHODODENDRON pseudochrysanthum
Rhododendron pseudochrysanthum has faded to near white in just two days. Rather a let-down.

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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