Embothrium lanceolatum showing colour already and Chelsea Flower Show is still a month away.
Rhododendron ‘Alison Johnstone’. A must for propagation.
The dying clump of Rhododendron morii – they live only 40 years and the drought didn’t help as we saw in this diary at the time.
Plenty of colour above HQN and the recent new plantings.
Prunus ‘Jo-Nioi’ splendidly welcoming visitors to the garden. Planted in 2006. Well scented too. This variety is sadly very seldom available in the nursery trade.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Mary Jobson’ has had another haircut outside the side door.
2022 – CHW
I have never personally seen Prunus serrula in flower before. This plant by the Green Gate has single white flowers so it is P. serrula despite its incorrect label as Prunus serrula x serrulata which has double white flowers. The bark is clearly the main attraction and the flowers are nothing special.
A young Malus ‘Evereste’ nicely in flower by the garden entrance. A replacement for the malus which died here. Red then pinkish buds opening white in large clusters. We will need three more of these for our malus collection to be planted in the autumn in the Kitchen Garden.
Our largest Magnolia stellata ‘Jane Platt’ (syn. ‘Rosea’) near Rogers Quarry.
Even the youngest Embothriums are flowering a month early.
Looking at Melicytus obovatus again with its tiny (but voluminous) quantities of flowers I notice that while the vast majority of the flowers are purple there are very occasional yellow ones here and there interspersed with the others. Could these be the female flowers producing the rather few purple berries that we have seen on this plant?
The masses of flowers on Melicytus obovatus really are most peculiar and virtually invisible even from 3ft away from this now large multi stemmed evergreen bush of 12-15ft in height. So peculiar that this makes it a choice plant for any serious collector of New Zealand species. We need to propagate this species a lot more.
It took us a while to sort out the identity of our Melicytus species but I am pretty certain that this is Melicytus crassifolius which I have seen before with white berries but never (here) before with its minuscule yellow flowers in profusion. You can easily see how we might have missed them! We now offer M. crassifolius on the Burncoose website. It is a spreading largeish shrub with narrow leaves. One of our plants is fully evergreen while the other (as here) has its flowers on near leafless stems. The white berries persist until flowering time. Melicytus need hot dry spots but have not been mollycoddled here from the east wind and have proved perfectly hardy even if the roedeer like nibbling them.
Just look how prominent these Matsumae cherries are already in the four year old Isla Rose Plantation. Tremendous growth rates.
The two Amelanchier bartramiana have made enormous growth in four years and now stand out proudly in the Isla Rose Plantation. Multi stemmed large bushes. The Mountain Juneberry from N. America and a good species. We await the black berries.
Magnolia ‘Helena’ with lots of flowers this year. Looks like becoming a big tree. I do not think I have seen this in flower before but it is one of Michael Gottschalk’s (Lunaplant) German hybrids – M. ‘Atlas’ x M. ‘Sunsation’. A pyramidical habit and a late season flowerer according to the Magnolia Society International registration made in 2018 which correctly describes the flower we see here. I do not see much sign of M. ‘Sunsation’ except in the reddish striping?
A young Camellia japonica ‘Primavera’ with flowers very like Camellia ‘Matterhorn’.
2021 – CHW
More sun, more light overnight frost and no rain.Over the weekend I watched part of the Plant Heritage AGM and lectures on Rev Engelhard’s daffodil breeding and double primroses. The daffodil lecture owed more to enthusiasm than detail. No mention of JCW and Engelhard’s work together. The occurrence in the wild of double primroses caused me to have a closer look at the multitude of native primroses on the bank.More than clear evidence here of border primulas and primroses (P. ‘Wanda’) being cross pollenated with the natives but no yellow doubles found yet.
Three newly planted Thuja koraiensis as a windbreak in the Rookery.
A fine clump of near pure Rhododendron calophytum seedlings in the Rookery.
Our champion Meliosma alba (beaniana as was) is dying of old age but still a few flowers.
Rhododendron yunnanense. Many of the pure white forms in the Rookery have died out as I discovered this morning.
A visit to meet Lamorna Edith Cross, my third granddaughter aged one week. We did wet the baby’s head.
2020 – CHW
So we discover that Public Health England is cumbersome, slow and bureaucratic and has ignored offers of help from the private sector with testing kits which could help the government meet its, self-imposed, target of testing 100,000 people a day by the end of April. Surprise, surprise!
Perhaps the public health service is not quite so wonderful after all?
It would seem that PHE rather than the government should actually take the blame for the shortages of testing kits and their inability to roll out a testing programme before the pressure from public opinion to end the lockdown makes this a reality.
Currently the opinion polls reveal that the public are scared and approve of lockdown but it will not last when they understand more of the reality of where we are.
The 750,000 volunteers to help with the NHS, care homes, elderly etc have been given nothing to do. PHE’s incompetence and dislike of not being in control presumably and job protection.
Of the 91,000 available beds in the NHS 37,000 remain empty this weekend. The new Nightingale Hospital in London with its 4,000 beds has hardly two dozen patients. So we have ‘saved’ the NHS, as we were all asked, at the expense of all those sick people kicked out of hospital (or unable to attend) to make way for the pandemic panic? What are their death rates?
Ninety percent of patients dying of corona have at least one other major health problem. Despite the personal tragedies are there not many more away from the corona virus itself? When will people understand that there is a balance of risk which has tilted too far one way only.
Tim has recently passed his chainsaw course and, earlier last week, he felled a huge leylandii above the Auklandii Garden to make way for a planting of short lived scented rhododendrons next spring. He had taken off his helmet to take the applause from the camera! The tree fell exactly where it should straight down the path hitting nothing on its way.
When it is all cut up and the Rubus tricolor groundcover burnt up it reveals another nice stone circle in which we can plant another tree fern as well. A squirrel eating young shoots in the oak tree above joined the bonfire.
The Amomyrtus luma trees look good flowering behind Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’ with Nicky in the foreground paying attention.
Azalea ‘Greenway’ is about a week later into flower than the majority of the other evergreen azaleas.
Prunus ‘Chocolate Ice’ (let us forget the Japanese name here) living up to its name perfectly.
Prunus ‘Fragrant Cloud’ slightly pink in bud opening pinkish white then white. A superb show on a young tree.
Rhododendron aberconwayi nicely out.
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’ just out below Slip Rail. It will change colour radically when it is full out.
New growth on Aesculus x arnoldiana planted last month.
The rain on Friday has brought some beech trees into leaf.
Camellia ‘Nuccio’s Gem’ still producing the goods.
First flowers finally showing colour on Magnolia ‘Daphne’.
Magnolia ‘Banana Split’ now living up to its name.
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’ just coming out.
Camellia reticulata ‘Miss Tulare’ has one flower left – a pretty decent one!
A carpet of flowers under the hedgerow of Camellia ‘Brigadoon’.
Rhododendron davidsonianum now full out.
Azara dentata plastered in flower.
Rhododendron ‘Princess Alice’ at its best. Pinkish in bud.
Rhododendron valentianum is an elderly low mound.
2019 – CHW
This may well be the much hunted for Staphylea bolanderi. We will see in a day or two when the flowers are properly out. So far it looks on target to be true to name.
Fine inflorescences and new growth on Acer sikkimense.
These are three of FJW’s azalea hybrids on the Main Ride opposite the first Magnolia ‘Daphne’. We need to propagate these for the Tin Garden planting next year of his lifetime hybrids. None ever had names and there are two other unnamed ones (red) further along opposite the big tree fern.
Staphylea ‘Elegans’ coming nicely into flower in the strong east wind today which has made photography difficult.
Staphylea colchica ‘Innocence’ as we now think it is.
Magnolia ‘Sunray’ is fairly unexceptional with three flowers and a few more to come. Far too many named ‘sun-something’ and none are that different!
Prunus ‘Hally Jolievette’ is full out in Kennel Close. A very different shaped flower to the Matsumae cherries.
Lupinus arboreus – blue form. A very early small flower on this tree lupin in the greenhouse. Usually these are pure yellow!
Clematis forsteri flowering as a small cutting in the greenhouse.
Completed the two acre planting today at Hillersdon House in Devon.
2016 – CHW
A nice young Rhododendron sinogrande seedling flowering for the first time in shade above Rookery Path. A bit pale but anyone would swap this for a flower at this exceptionally young age.
Beside it is another sinogrande which we hope to dig and take to Chelsea if the BBC turn up in 10 days to film us doing the lifting. No flowers here but just the foliage on this nicely shaped plant for the 100 year celebration we hope.
Rhododendron praestans also on Rookery Path is full out and too far out for the Saturday show at Rosemoor. The colour in bud and as it opens is dramatically darker than when it is full out when it fades.
Camellia reticulata ‘Royalty’ still has a few decent flowers but I cannot see there being much in the way of camellias or magnolias left for the show and the rhodos are just coming; as is about the normal time. The show date needs to move a bit later but this was impossible this year with the forthcoming Wisley show in May.
Rhododendron impeditum ‘J C Williams’ is flowering rather sparsely for once. This JCW form can grow to 4-6ft and is not a rockery plant. My distant cousin from Stanage once said he did not want to buy it unless it was higher than he could piss over. I rather doubt his prowess here.
Quite a nice pink Rhododendron arboreum at Donkey Shoe which was planted as ‘Sir Charles Lemon’ which it probably is not. Sir Charles has a white flower according to the reference books but strong and dense indumentum on the undersides of the leaf as here. If there were no flower Sir Charles it would be!
Rhododendron cinnabarinum had the odd autumn flower in November but is now just starting to come out properly. Once its famous hybrid ‘Caerhays Philip’ grew just here.
Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ still has a few tail end flowers some four to four and a half months after it started flowering. It was full out before Christmas. How is that for good value?
First flower (early) on the Caerhays bred Rhododendron ‘Michaels Pride’. A nice new clump coming on well now but it will probably be over by Chelsea. This is a difficult plant from cuttings and temperamental to plant out but lives longer than most of the (rhodo) ‘smellies’.
This is Rhododendron monstroseanum. I was puzzled last week and Rhododendron praestans is next door to it. This once grew in Orchid House Nursery. May still do!?
This one looks like Rhododendorn barbatum but the bark is all wrong and there are no hairy ‘barbs’ on the leaf stem. This has caught me out before and I need to think. My guess is Rhododendron hookeri? Wrong again; these three plants are definitely seedlings of Rhododendron ‘Duke of Cornwall’ so rather important plants. Delighted to see this old survivor from the top of the garden rejuvenated again. Burncoose has a nice young plant too out in the garden.
No day is complete without another magnolia to photograph. Magnolia ‘Yellow Lantern’ by the playhouse has only been here since 2008 but is already a fine tree rather too close of course to the wall. My fault again. It is not a brilliant yellow but it does have large flowers that are an impressive show.
This trip has cheered me up after six (more) miserable hours grappling with our 95 page prepopulated Basic Payment Scheme application for 2016. The government has carried on last year’s cluster fuck of rule changes which prevented us applying online then (after three days of trying to) when the system crashed for good. On our paper forms the Rural Payments Agency have now suddenly decided all fields are measured to four decimal places rather than two as previously. This means nothing adds up and yet the online forms are two decimal points although, behind the numbers, you can only change them with four decimal points per part field. We have 360 fields of which 40% are split into different crops under different rules. Add to this the fact that they have ‘LOST’ nine fields from last year’s application and with them 13 valuable entitlements which we cannot add back online and you begin to see why Jeremy and I need a drink. To cap it all their prepopulated forms contain myriads of errors and numbers which do not even add up. Their computer system or the poor fools who input it all manually have also said several fields on last year’s forms which were ‘eligible’ then now are suddenly not. A child with a calculator could do better. Fucking hopeless and a colossal waste of time thanks to Brussels. Any poor sod who has had a dose of this will be a certain BREXIT and I will have a drink to that. There is a moment when Brussels ‘Danegeld’ becomes an unnecessary evil.
2015 – CHW
At last a day to enjoy the garden albeit on a popular (public) sunny day with the dogs annoying the visitors’ ‘dogs on leads’ enormously.Azaleodendron ‘Hardijzer Beauty’ is really a shrub for a large plot but impressive today nonetheless. A weak and insipid garden plant.
Two forms of Magnolia x brooklynensis coming out early. Usually fine to cut for Chelsea.
Magnolia ‘Sunray’ is not as poor as I thought 10 days ago and has held its colour well. Large flower, good shape when open.
We need to catch up with ‘Woodsman’ shortly but still in tight bud.
Rhododendron desquamatum on Hovel Cart Road is now superb but the best rhododendron in the garden today and entirely new to Caerhays is a scented rhododendron from Glendoick names ‘Anne Teese’. I need to look up parentage but what a plant! Compared to Rhododendron ‘Princess Alice’ or Rhododendron edgeworthii x leucaspis lower down Burns Bank these are second eleven.
While admiring the drive I notice that a large clump of unnamed x williamsii camellias that first showed flower in mid/late November are still adorned with flowers and not just on the branches pruned back off the drive two to three years ago. What other species of shrub can produce lots of lowers on the same plant for five or six months. The much vaunted (non-gardener) question at Chelsea is so often ‘and how long does it flower for’. The usual answer for most plants is three to four weeks max. Although there are plenty of exceptions like roses or orchids which are of course not normal woodland garden plants. The normal answer at Chelsea when the punter looks really disgusted at ‘three to four weeks’ is to suggest they get a ‘plastic one’ so they can enjoy their magnolia, meconopsis or primula all year round. I have not had my face slapped yet but it has been a close call on occasion.
1987 – FJW
2300 around the Garden.
1973 – FJW
Swallows seen – very dry and rather cold. Mags excellent. Caerhays Surprise A.M (Award of Merit)
1972 – FJW
Uncle George will take up Vibro massage in 10 years time.
1959 – FJW
F.J.W killed fox cub in New Planting with a spade.
1953 – CW
Truro Show on 21st. We sent no Magnolias as best over, Robusta, Mollicomata. One M and 1 Robusta late seedling at their best. Single Camellias and Reticulata species past best. Garden Reticulata not yet at best – Arboreums going over.Davidsonianum and Augustinii just coming well out also Auklandii hybrids and some Auklandii. Michelias very good. An odd bit if Maddenii. Still a lot of daffs.
1928 – JCW
Daffs over all but the two poets. Gordonias cut back to last years wood. Reticulatas nearly over. Augustinii nice but storm beaten. Subhirtellas over and so the best cherries. Auklandii are opening. Corylopsis all frosted.
1927 – JCW
No Auklandii open but there are only one or two blooms on the lot. Daffs are over excepting the two late poets. The standard Reticulatas are good yet. The Gordonia remains good, but the later flowers are smaller.
1924 – JCW
All the Leedsi’s are not fully open and about half the poets. Auklandii blooms may be less than 20 for the place. Mag denudata about 3 blooms open. Subhirtellas, except pendula, are over.
1921 – JCW
A few Auklandii are open. Flowers are rather poor from the cold, dry weather. Just had 5 kinds of Quercus in 10 of each from [?] they took 8 weeks to come and all look very well. The daffs are over.
1902 – JCW
I pricked open and crossed a white Auklandii with a white Arboreum.
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