20th 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

Have you noticed how we are being governed by scientific advisors who cannot agree on anything but are having their moment of fame with the media. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, gave a broadside to Professor Ferguson about who is running the country. The latter is not in government but, to hear him pontificate, you would think he was.

Few other scientists appear to have the same ideas as Prof Ferguson yet he is calling the tempo on facemasks (no need for them – but we suspect there are not enough anyway) and the timing of the end of lockdown.

Not surprisingly, and as predicted, the newspapers are turning on the government ‘for treating them like children’. We all know the attention span of ‘children’ and we can all see why you cannot reveal your plan early or lockdown will be ignored.

What a hellish decision for Boris yet again. The ‘children’ will moan and sue about deaths either way but we have to get the economy going! The government cannot bail out everyone and every business for very much longer.

The death rates may turn out to be double the hoped for 20,000 but how many of these actually would have died from other serious medical conditions? That will only come out later but it is a hell of a price that the rest of the country is paying for each death!

Six different young lime trees photographed today (and three more for website care articles) which I must do again when they are all in flower.

Picea glauca ‘Piccolo’ looking especially yellow today.

Picea glauca ‘Piccolo’
Picea glauca ‘Piccolo’
Picea glauca ‘Piccolo’
Picea glauca ‘Piccolo’
Still plenty of late flowers on an old (but pollarded back three to four years ago) Camellia x williamsii ‘Caerhays’. Quite variable flowers in full shade but you can see the ‘red’ in the opening ones.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Caerhays’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Caerhays’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Caerhays’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Caerhays’
Salix undensis ‘Golden Sunshine’ just leafing up in Tin Garden.
Salix undensis ‘Golden Sunshine’
Salix undensis ‘Golden Sunshine’
Salix undensis ‘Golden Sunshine’
Salix undensis ‘Golden Sunshine’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’ is darker than Magnolia ‘Peachy’ which is lighter in colour. The names seem the wrong way around as I have said before.
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
Magnolia ‘Daybreak’
A young Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Beugnon’ with its first two flowers.
Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Beugnon’
Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Beugnon’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Venus’ now out as well.
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Venus’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Venus’
A now established Tilia endocrysa leafing up. Spectacular!
Tilia endocrysa
Tilia endocrysa
Tilia endocrysa
Tilia endocrysa
Acer sterculaceum subsp. sterculaceum just leafing up. Quite bronzy.
Acer sterculaceum subsp. sterculaceum
Acer sterculaceum subsp. sterculaceum
Tilia tomentosa ‘Brabant’ planted in 2009 is already a good tree as you can see. Bark and young leaves also.
Tilia tomentosa ‘Brabant’
Tilia tomentosa ‘Brabant’
Tilia tomentosa ‘Brabant’
Tilia tomentosa ‘Brabant’
Tilia tomentosa ‘Brabant’
Tilia tomentosa ‘Brabant’
Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Inverleith’ is developing good bark. Planted 2010.
Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Inverleith’
Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Inverleith’
Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Inverleith’
Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Inverleith’
Tilia paucicostata just leafing up.
Tilia paucicostata
Tilia paucicostata
Tilia paucicostata
Tilia paucicostata
Salix magnifica had erect purple catkin flowers last week. Today the catkins have opened up.
Salix magnifica
Salix magnifica
Salix magnifica
Salix magnifica
Tilia oliveri with drooping new leaves.
Tilia oliveri
Tilia oliveri
Tilia oliveri
Tilia oliveri
Tilia moltkei has much the same droopy new leaves today.
Tilia moltkei
Tilia moltkei
Tilia moltkei
Tilia moltkei
Crataegus chinensis with a flower.
Crataegus chinensis
Crataegus chinensis
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’ with its yellow new leaves.
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
Tilia kuisiana, trunk and new leaves.
Tilia kuisiana
Tilia kuisiana
Tilia kuisiana
Tilia kuisiana
Tilia kuisiana
Tilia kuisiana
Wonderful bark on Eucryphia cordifolia.
Eucryphia cordifolia
Eucryphia cordifolia
Magnolia acuminata ‘Golden Glow’ x Magnolia ‘Miss Honeybee’. Much the same as ‘Miss Honeybee’ as it seems to me.
Magnolia acuminata ‘Golden Glow’ x Magnolia ‘Miss Honeybee’
Magnolia acuminata ‘Golden Glow’ x Magnolia ‘Miss Honeybee’
Magnolia acuminata ‘Golden Glow’ x Magnolia ‘Miss Honeybee’
Magnolia acuminata ‘Golden Glow’ x Magnolia ‘Miss Honeybee’
In 40 years I have never seen a flower on the several plants at Burncoose and Caerhays of Pseudocydonia sinensis. Finally I find just three on a younger plant on Sinogrande Walk. I had not realised that they would be pink and I cannot say that the long wait has been worthwhile. Nor, unsurprisingly, have I yet seen a quince come to that!
Pseudocydonia sinensis
Pseudocydonia sinensis
Pseudocydonia sinensis
Pseudocydonia sinensis
Picea smithiana with attractive drooping light green new growth.
Picea smithiana
Picea smithiana
Picea smithiana
Picea smithiana
Deutzia calycosa ‘Dali’ just out in flower.
Deutzia calycosa ‘Dali’
Deutzia calycosa ‘Dali’
A large Azalea ‘Fedora’ just coming out on the drive. Semi-evergreen.
Azalea ‘Fedora’
Azalea ‘Fedora’
Unripe elm seeds fallen onto the drive as ‘rabbit money’ as we used to call it years ago.
‘rabbit money’
‘rabbit money’
Syringa pinnatifolia in full flower before the leaves appear.
Syringa pinnatifolia
Syringa pinnatifolia
Syringa pinnatifolia
Syringa pinnatifolia
A young Magnolia acuminata ‘Miss Honeybee’. Twenty-five years ago we might have thought this an impressive yellow.
Magnolia acuminata ‘Miss Honeybee’
Magnolia acuminata ‘Miss Honeybee’
I had thought this was Pseudosasa japonica flowering and dying for the second time in 50 years but when I look more closely I am not so sure it is indeed this species. It grows as a clump or two in places where P. japonica died out long ago but only in maturity do the leaves resemble P. japonica. Anyway it is on the way out and two small clumps are already dead as you can see. The second species of bamboo in flower this week!
Pseudosasa japonica
Pseudosasa japonica
Pseudosasa japonica
Pseudosasa japonica
Pseudosasa japonica
Pseudosasa japonica
Pseudosasa japonica
Pseudosasa japonica

2019 – CHW
More cold east wind and then heavy rain which the plants needed after a dry few weeks. Quite a few laurel leaves stripped and blown onto the rides by the wind reminiscent of The Beast last year but de minimis by comparison to then.This plant of Rhododendron arboreum ‘Blood Red’ has been exposed to view by the lifting of the crown on the nearby pendulous Cedrus deodara. I had thought we had lost all the Blood Reds apart from an old one in Forty Acres Wood but was wrong.
Rhododendron arboreum ‘Blood Red’
Rhododendron arboreum ‘Blood Red’
This is the rare and, as yet, unexciting Forestiera neomexicana (Forestiera pubescens); a desert olive which we have occasionally stocked in the nursery without much interest in it. A multi-stemmed shrub here with the yellowish leaves just emerging. I have yet to see the black fruits. Planted in 1991 or soon thereafter.
Forestiera neomexicana
Forestiera neomexicana
Forestiera neomexicana
Forestiera neomexicana
Before the 1990 hurricane there were many more of these huge ‘blowsy’ rhododendrons with flowers which fade from red to pale pink and, finally, white. There are still a few as here but I have never known the proper names. Probably a mix of griffithianum and arboreum?
huge ‘blowsy’ rhododendrons
huge ‘blowsy’ rhododendrons
huge ‘blowsy’ rhododendrons
huge ‘blowsy’ rhododendrons
Another flower or two on Ucodendron whartonii.
Ucodendron whartonii
Ucodendron whartonii
Rhododendron mengtszense collected by Alan Clarke with his collector’s number AC 5663. In the Pocket Guide To Rhododendron Species it is listed as ‘a rarity and/or of doubtful provenance’ (irrorata Group). Anyway these are its first two flowers here and the leaves are distinct with a pronounced inward curl.
Rhododendron mengtszense
Rhododendron mengtszense
Rhododendron mengtszense
Rhododendron mengtszense
cedar
cedar
cedar
cedar
A day spent earlier this week removing lower branches to ‘uplift’ 20 to 30 year old specimen trees which (like the cedar shown above) were shading out other smaller growing shrubs nearby. Essential maintenance to protect other fine plants.
Rhododendron makinoi (best narrow leafed form) with its first flowers in the young rhododendron species collection in what was Orchid House Nursery. Darker in flower than the Burncoose plant by the Rockery there.
Rhododendron makinoi
Rhododendron makinoi
Rhododendron makinoi
Rhododendron makinoi
Rhododendron neriiflorum phaedropum also with its first flowers nearby. Very different in leaf and flower form from the original Rh. neriiflorum which grew so well here years ago below the Fernery.
Rhododendron neriiflorum phaedropum
Rhododendron neriiflorum phaedropum
Rhododendron neriiflorum phaedropum
Rhododendron neriiflorum phaedropum
Azaleodendron ‘Hardijzer Beauty’ (Kurume azalea x Rhododendron racemosum) is an excellent pot plant but rather dwarf and short lived in a garden context where it always looks a bit ‘miffy’ except perhaps when in flower.
Azaleodendron ‘Hardijzer Beauty’
Azaleodendron ‘Hardijzer Beauty’
Azaleodendron ‘Hardijzer Beauty’
Azaleodendron ‘Hardijzer Beauty’
Azalea ‘Pink Pancake’ – an evergreen Nakaharae hybrid with large bright pink flowers. This clump was only planted in 2016 but is already making a good show above the path and well worth propagating.
Azalea ‘Pink Pancake’
Azalea ‘Pink Pancake’
Azalea ‘Pink Pancake’
Azalea ‘Pink Pancake’

2018 – CHW
Back at home after over 1,200 miles of driving in six days. Jaimie has kept up with things while we were away.In my absence another dead tree has had to be felled in the Rookery to avoid it falling on our record Magnolia kobus var borealis.
dead tree has had to be felled
dead tree has had to be felled
dead tree has had to be felled
dead tree has had to be felled
The clearance and dredging of the top pond is now nearing completion.
clearance and dredging of the top pond
clearance and dredging of the top pond
Magnolia acuminata ‘Sunray’ is nicely out in New Planting.
Magnolia acuminata ‘Sunray’
Magnolia acuminata ‘Sunray’
Magnolia acuminata ‘Sunray’
Magnolia acuminata ‘Sunray’
First flowers on our Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’ on Hovel Cart Road.
Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’
Also first flowers on Magnolia ‘Anya’ in Kennel Close.
Magnolia ‘Anya’
Magnolia ‘Anya’
Magnolia ‘Anya’
Magnolia ‘Anya’
Is this Rhododendron sinogrande as good as any seen in western Ireland? Colour wise perhaps not but the size of flower is bigger I suspect.
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
Magnolia ‘Spring Rite’ has a decent-ish flower.
Magnolia ‘Spring Rite’
Magnolia ‘Spring Rite’
Magnolia ‘Kusious’ seems an odd name and may be a misspelling? Needs checking but not that startling as yet.
Magnolia ‘Kusious’
Magnolia ‘Kusious’

2017 – CHW

A day of Women’s Institute and German tours with a budget meeting thrown in. A rush now to capture what is new that is out here before we embark on our Welsh garden trip.

Berberis temolaica is only just starting into leaf and flower but may prove popular in the catalogue. Blue-green new leaves.

Berberis temolaica
Berberis temolaica
A young Staphylea pinnata just out. Why is this species four to six weeks later into flower than all the others which are now over?
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Staphylea pinnata
Another one bites the dust as a Chelsea exhibit. Rhododendron ‘Winsome’ out already.
Rhododendron ‘Winsome’
Rhododendron ‘Winsome’
Rhododendron ‘Winsome’
Rhododendron ‘Winsome’
Azalea ‘Fedora’ very full of flower this year on the drive. Azalea ‘Amoena’ beside it nearly over.
Azalea ‘Fedora’
Azalea ‘Fedora’
Azalea ‘Fedora’
Azalea ‘Fedora’
Rhododendron ‘Linda’ full out on Cart Road. One of several nice williamsianum hybrids in this cluster.
Rhododendron ‘Linda’
Rhododendron ‘Linda’
Rhododendron ‘Linda’
Rhododendron ‘Linda’
An unidentified (and unnoticed by me before) yellow magnolia by the two betulas on Cart Road. Not on the planting plan! Not special.
Unidentified yellow magnolia
Unidentified yellow magnolia
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Hollandia’ is startlingly good.
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Hollandia’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Hollandia’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Hollandia’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Hollandia’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Vesta’ absolutely in its prime and laden down with bell flowers.
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Vesta’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Vesta’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Vesta’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Vesta’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Vesta’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Vesta’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Venus’ is more sparse in its flowering and the trusses are more hidden by leaves.
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Venus’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Venus’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Venus’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Venus’
Enkianthus campanulatus albiflorus is also sparsely flowered but quite pretty nonetheless. This row of enkianthus are easily the best thing in the garden today and not all varieties are yet out by any means (eg ‘Victoria’ and Enkianthus deflexus).
Enkianthus campanulatus albiflorus
Enkianthus campanulatus albiflorus
Enkianthus campanulatus albiflorus
Enkianthus campanulatus albiflorus
Enkianthus campanulatus albiflorus
Enkianthus campanulatus albiflorus
The buds on Styrax odoratissimus (veitchiorum) are now just out.
Styrax odoratissimus
Styrax odoratissimus
Styrax odoratissimus
Styrax odoratissimus
A newish but impressive clump of Rhododendron (Azalea) stenophyllum ‘Linearifolium’ is full out above the greenhouse.
Rhododendron (Azalea) stenophyllum ‘Linearifolium’
Rhododendron (Azalea) stenophyllum ‘Linearifolium’
Rhododendron (Azalea) stenophyllum ‘Linearifolium’
Rhododendron (Azalea) stenophyllum ‘Linearifolium’
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’ is blue in bud (but not as blue as ‘Blue Opal’) opening as you see. Different!
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
Magnolia ‘Woodsman’ x ‘Patriot’
Magnolia ‘Sensation’ is good and improving each year. We have cut this for the Rosemoor RHS show on Saturday.
Magnolia ‘Sensation’
Magnolia ‘Sensation’
Magnolia ‘Sensation’
Magnolia ‘Sensation’
Magnolia ‘Sensation’
Magnolia ‘Sensation’
Azalea ‘Salmon Pink’ has been scorched by sun after 10 days of it. Originally from Glendoick.
Azalea ‘Salmon Pink’
Azalea ‘Salmon Pink’
Azalea ‘Salmon Pink’
Azalea ‘Salmon Pink’
Planted only last year but now five flowers on Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’. Quite a nice shape as it opens but small, fading to crap!
Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’
Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’
Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’
Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’
A group of three Rhododendron aberconwayi performing nicely. Slow growing.
Rhododendron aberconwayi
Rhododendron aberconwayi
Rhododendron aberconwayi
Rhododendron aberconwayi
Magnolia ‘Hot Flash’ is improving with age (now 17) too.
Magnolia ‘Hot Flash’
Magnolia ‘Hot Flash’
Magnolia ‘Hot Flash’
Magnolia ‘Hot Flash’
A wild self sown clump of Primula pulverulenta in a damp spot where little else will grow despite several attempts.
Primula pulverulenta
Primula pulverulenta

2016 – CHW
What are the ‘colours’ of the ‘BREXIT’? We do not know yet but, in plant terms, Brussels must be ‘yellow’ and the UK can be ‘R W & B’. I will concentrate on these colours leading up to the 23rd June and the voting.So here we are with Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ just coming out in Penvergate. Not as good a colour yet as some years but still impressive.

Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’
Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’
Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’
Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’
This is one that I have read about but only seen once before. Magnolia ‘Lombardy Rose’ is not really a yellow although it looks a bit creamy from a distance and white closer up. An odd name to explain away?
Magnolia ‘Lombardy Rose’
Magnolia ‘Lombardy Rose’
The second and rather better Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ in Penvergate has a low spreading habit and oddly shaped flowers. It is well worth growing as an oddity or odd yellow. US not Brussels provenance though. This year so far it is a far better yellow than ‘Yellow Bird’ but not usually. ‘Yellow Bird’ may have been blown open early.
Magnolia ‘Butterflies’
Magnolia ‘Butterflies’
Magnolia ‘Butterflies’
Magnolia ‘Butterflies’
I photographed Magnolia soulangeana ‘Alba Superba’ with some colour showing in February. Here it is two to two and a half months later just going over as the leaves emerge. How good a value is that. The nearby (pure) Magnolia soulangeanas are full out all along Penvergate and look splendid. Some date from the 1920s at least. I did plant a clutch of soulangeana varieties here but only two varieties seem to have made it.
Magnolia soulangeana ‘Alba Superba’
Magnolia soulangeana ‘Alba Superba’
Magnolia soulangeana ‘Alba Superba’
Magnolia soulangeana ‘Alba Superba’

2015 – CHW
A day at Burncoose to calm, I hope, the packers’ nerves and stress at the ever increasing volume of orders.  An unbelievably good performance.

RHODODENDRON calphytum 02
RHODODENDRON calphytum
RHODODENDRON calphytum
RHODODENDRON calphytum
A quick dog walk brings me into the Auklandii Garden where a clump of unnamed rhododendron hybrids, originally layers from our former seedling hybrids in the Rookery, are full out.  The new layers here have taken so we can, in my lifetime, move these plants on again to a third new location.  The plant photographed is a Rhododendron calophytum cross which John Bond, the former keeper of the gardens at Windsor Great Park and one of my mentors and friends, once demanded a plant of for the Valley Gardens at Windsor. Student gardeners (as I was then 56 years ago) did not refuse their bosses. Nearby grows Rhododendron ‘Titness Park’, a pink Rhododendron calophytum hybrid by John Bond which flowers in early March.
RHODODENDRON Temple BELLE
RHODODENDRON ‘Temple Belle’
RHODODENDRON Temple BELLE 02
RHODODENDRON ‘Temple Belle’

Rhododendron ‘Temple Belle’ is an orbiculare x williamsianum hybrid which I suspect may have been produced at Werrington Park (same ownership as Caerhays until 1955 and still very much family) since the plants just inside the Chinese Garden gates there are Temple Belle which are nearing the end of their life at 10 to 12 feet tall.  Our new plants appear dwarf by comparison and I am not aware that Caerhays ever had this hybrid – certainly not in my lifetime.  Rhododendron orbiculare is virtually impossible from cuttings with us (and the seed are never true) while ‘Temple Belle’ is very difficult but it is a superb plant which should be more widely grown.Magnolia yuchelia is strutting its excellent ‘stuff’.   A less bizarre mixed colour than some of our other recent subjects in this diary and with a true michelia scent.  This is the first decent (?) cross (which is supposedly impossible) between a magnolia and a michelia (Magnolia acuminata ‘Miss Honeybee’ and Michelia foggii ‘JackFogg’).  The (Chinese and US) botanist would no doubt use this to justify their recent reclassification of all michelias as ‘magnolias’ which most UK magnolia enthusiasts regard as confusing bollocks – especially those who try to sell them commercially and have no interest in genetic evaluation.  The tepals (petals) stand proud today but will soon change colour and hang down, sooner especially if the escalating drought persists.  We are all now worried about our newly planted Chinese rhododendrons in Old Park especially where there is little shade.  Still no rain forecast.  It will arrive at Chelsea I expect but what to do with Chelsea plants in the coldstore?  This week’s problem to devise a plan!

1941 – CW
Camellia speciosa still has nice flowers and its hybrids. Auklandii and Mrs Butler Rho hybrids at their best. Also Blue Tit and Yellow Hammer, reticulata past its best. Daffs nearly over. Some nice whites and poets left. Some cherries now very good. Mag veitchii opening well. Denudata – Sargentianum – Kobus – and Mollicomata over. Michelia becoming nice.

1925 – JCW
Near 1919. The Corylopsis are going back but remain the best thing in good light. No Auklandii starting indeed there may be no buds.

1919 – JCW
Reticulata nice yet. New Magnolia denudata very good and so Calophytum. Also Oleifolium. Cerasus subhirtella very nice. Big Japanese not open yet.

1908 – JCW
Very much as in 1900 perhaps the daffs are rather later. Primroses at their very best – short of rain after a long spell of dry northerly wind.

1906 – JCW
Came back from Horticultural Hall and Dinton, most of our daffs have passed over. Reticulata good now, Auklandii not yet open. Clematis indivisa not at its very best yet.

1903 – JCW
We are far ahead of the above.

1898 – JCW
Wild primroses at their best, a good few roses open, waterlilies throwing leaves in most cases. Beacon began to open, no 12 just out, all the named Engelhearts out except a few Poeticus. Montana has some flowers open.

(Hand written note, dated 1932, attached to Garden Book page of April 20th)

‘I find in the Garden Book that Camellia speciosa can flower between and on the dates of January 7th and April 21st and then come the pink hybrids from it.’

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