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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.