27th 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

I have never felt so on top of the management of the estate; but then there is little to manage! Nevertheless very tough decisions on staff for the future. Meanwhile the 2021 Burncoose Nurseries catalogue proofing continues apace. With no interruptions I hope to finish this incredibly concentrated but boring job by the end of this week. Proofing involves checking every invoice for the last year to see that we do actually have (in theory) everything which we claim to, and a review of our prices against the competition. So one has to dream up a ‘policy’ for pricing the total unknown of next year as a business in a country in full recession. The policy is ‘no price increases’ (unless the size of the plant offered has changed) from year to year. Will the minimum wage rates continue to increase by 6.2% per annum while inflation is less than 2%? I doubt it. Will inflation stay at 2% for the 18 months in which the catalogue will be out there? I doubt it. Will employee national insurance and pension costs rise? Certainly! So the theme is to broadcast a price ‘freeze’ and take a hit on our margins while the whole horticultural industry, and garden centres in particular, are in crisis. It is a ‘no brainer’ really but the work still has to be done properly and the 200+ ‘new’ plants added to the catalogue/website and care articles (already done!) takes time. There is plenty of that!

Rhododendron rubiginosum ‘Ted Millais’ flowering well for the first time as a young plant. Quite a different shape to the older Rh. rubiginosums here.

Rhododendron rubiginosum ‘Ted Millais’
Rhododendron rubiginosum ‘Ted Millais’
Rhododendron rubiginosum ‘Ted Millais’
Rhododendron rubiginosum ‘Ted Millais’
Dipelta floribunda – one plant just out while another has already produced its odd seed capsules with a few tail end flowers.
DIPELTA floribunda
DIPELTA floribunda
DIPELTA floribunda
DIPELTA floribunda
DIPELTA floribunda
DIPELTA floribunda
The view from Georges Hut today.
View from Georges Hut
View from Georges Hut
And the view down the path from Donkey Shoe with Azara dentata at the back.
View down the path from Donkey Shoe
View down the path from Donkey Shoe
And from by Higher Quarry Nursery – mainly Rhododendron davidsonianum but some Rhododendron augustinii in a large hedge.
from by Higher Quarry Nursery
From by Higher Quarry Nursery
From by Higher Quarry Nursery
from by Higher Quarry Nursery
Karol with his video filming kit as we produce a vlog for the website showing people the peak of the rhododendron season which they will not now see until next year.
Karol
Karol
Rhododendron niveum fades as it opens and as the flowers go over as we will see elsewhere today.
Rhododendron niveum
Rhododendron niveum
Rhododendron niveum
Rhododendron niveum
Halesia carolina absolutely stunning today. As good as I have seen it. The best of the three species I think.
Halesia carolina
Halesia carolina
Halesia carolina
Halesia carolina
Halesia carolina
Halesia carolina
Halesia carolina
Halesia carolina
Halesia carolina
Halesia carolina
Rhododendron ‘Fragrantissimum’ fronts Rhododendron ‘Damaris’.
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’ has indeed changed colour in a week.
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Evamaria’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’ just out in a young clump of three.
Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’
Rhododendron loderi ‘Venus’
Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’ which is usually out with the Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’ beside it.
Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’ & Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’
Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’ & Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’
Malus ‘Jelly King’ now full out.
Malus ‘Jelly King’ now full out.
Malus ‘Jelly King’ now full out.
Malus ‘Jelly King’ now full out.
Malus ‘Jelly King’ now full out.
Acer morrisonense with flower. It is making a decent tree here and the leaves are interesting.
Acer morrisonense
Acer morrisonense
Acer morrisonense
Acer morrisonense
Acer morrisonense
Acer morrisonense
Magnolia ‘Crescendo’ certainly living up to its name and leaving the best colours to last. A long lasting hybrid in flower.
Magnolia ‘Crescendo’
Magnolia ‘Crescendo’
Paulownia kawakamii just coming out in Kennel Close.
Paulownia kawakamii
Paulownia kawakamii
We have never grown Cercis here before but now have a few decent small trees. Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’ now full out. One or two others we planted have failed including the lovely trailing one (‘Appalacian Trails’). It died at Burncoose too after a few years of struggling.
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’
Cercis canadensis ‘Flame’
Magnolia ‘Carlos’ not too bad full out.
Magnolia ‘Carlos’
Magnolia ‘Carlos’
This is what the public ought to be enjoying.
This is what the public ought to be enjoying.
This is what the public ought to be enjoying.
A large clump of Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’ with the potential for some layering this week. Our original and huge old clump is still in bud.
Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’
Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’
Magnolia laevifolia ‘Summer Snowflake’ SUPERB! I have never seen it anything like as good as this.
Magnolia laevifolia ‘Summer Snowflake’
Magnolia laevifolia ‘Summer Snowflake’
Magnolia laevifolia ‘Summer Snowflake’
Magnolia laevifolia ‘Summer Snowflake’
Magnolia laevifolia ‘Summer Snowflake’
Magnolia laevifolia ‘Summer Snowflake’
Magnolia laevifolia ‘Summer Snowflake’
Magnolia laevifolia ‘Summer Snowflake’
Another (just out) Rhododendron niveum which is a rather stronger colour.
Another Rhododendron niveum
Another Rhododendron niveum
Another Rhododendron niveum
Another Rhododendron niveum
Mallotus japonicus with its first leaves out. The deer had nibbled but this one is ok.
Mallotus japonicus
Mallotus japonicus
Rhododendron elliotii with two flowers out. Another species which is a month early.
Rhododendron elliotii
Rhododendron elliotii
Rhododendron elliotii
Rhododendron elliotii
Viburnum x pragense or is it Viburnum rhytidophyllum?
Viburnum x pragense
Viburnum x pragense?

2019 – CHW

RHS and Rhododendron, Camellia & Magnolia Group main rhododendron show at Rosemoor today. Strong NW winds but generally fine. Spent three hours with Karol photographing together in Rosemoor garden.

Four cups and the (expected) RCMG outstanding garden award for magnolias at Caerhays.

CHW receives the RHS Jim Gardiner Magnolia Cup for our contribution to magnolias from Jim Gardiner (letter from the president attached).

CHW receives the RHS Jim Gardiner Magnolia Cup
CHW receives the RHS Jim Gardiner Magnolia Cup
Michael received the RHS Lionel de Rothschild challenge cup for the display of any six trusses of rhododendron species.
Michael received the RHS Lionel de Rothschild challenge cup
Michael received the RHS Lionel de Rothschild challenge cup
Jaimie receives the RHS Loder challenge cup for best hybrid rhododendron truss.
Jaimie receives the RHS Loder challenge cup
Jaimie receives the RHS Loder challenge cup
CHW receives the RCMG Quicke cup for best magnolias in the show.
CHW receives cup
CHW receives cup
CHW receives the RCMG outstanding magnolia garden plaque from David Millais.
CHW receives the RCMG outstanding magnolia plaques from David Millais
CHW receives the RCMG outstanding magnolia plaques from David Millais
This makes a total of 10 cups from three shows this year. A new Caerhays record?
Our four magnolia spray entries were:Magnolia ‘Limelight’ (third)
Magnolia ‘Limelight’ (third)
Magnolia ‘Limelight’ (third)
Magnolia ‘Ambrosia’ (first and cup)
Magnolia ‘Ambrosia’ (first and cup)
Magnolia ‘Ambrosia’ (first and cup)
Magnolia ‘Yuchelia’ (second)
Magnolia ‘Yuchelia’ (second)
Magnolia ‘Yuchelia’ (second)
Magnolia ‘Lois’ (fourth)
Magnolia 'Lois'
Magnolia ‘Lois’
All the magnolias together on the bench.
All the magnolias together
All the magnolias together

The six rhododendron species class selected and arranged by Michael with trophy.The best in show hybrid rhodo truss plus trophy – Jaimie’s (Mrs Lionel de Rothschild).

The RHS will not let you take the cups home so you are left with only a photograph of the moment. At least they pay for the engraving I suppose and the insurance! Jim Gardiner said we could take his cup home if we first filled and drank it. Sadly Rosemoor do not sell alcohol so we had to wait until the evening to celebrate.

Rosemoor is now, I think and Jim almost agrees, a better garden than Wisley with more plants in more landscape contexts. It is growing and improving all the time. I wonder how many gardeners and labellers it all takes? Karol and I took over 1,000 pictures during the day and our ‘this goes nicely with this’ picture file has grown apace.

For those who want to see other nice things from the show bench please click here:

2018 – CHW
Showery but mainly pleasant and, fortunately, cool for the flowering rhododendrons.

A young Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’ with three flowers. A bit of pink on the bud but opening a nice pale yellow. We need more photos for the Burncoose website.

Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’
Magnolia ‘Honey Tulip’
A two year from planting Magnolia ‘Honey Liz’ is not yet as good as I saw at Anthony House where there was an orange flash on the outside of the tepals. First flowers are seldom a guide to later reality in magnolias. Just one here for now.
Magnolia ‘Honey Liz’
Magnolia ‘Honey Liz’
First flower on a new species to us – Rhododendron phaedropum which is a form of Rhododendron neriiflorum when I look it up. When I do I see phaedropum is an orange rather than a red in flower so anyone’s guess! Leaves do not look a neriiflorum shape.
Rhododendron phaedropum
Rhododendron phaedropum
Malus ‘Royalty’ flowering in the Isla Rose Plantation. Planted last December.
Malus ‘Royalty’
Malus ‘Royalty’
Malus ‘Profusion’ likewise.
Malus ‘Profusion’
Malus ‘Profusion’
Malus ‘Profusion’
Malus ‘Profusion’
This is labelled Rhododendron bauhiniflorum below Hovel Cart Road but it is not! Looks more like Rhododendron ‘Alison Johnstone’. There are spaces where things have died here.
This is labelled Rhododendron bauhiniflorum below Hovel Cart Road but it is not! Looks more like Rhododendron ‘Alison Johnstone’.
This is labelled Rhododendron bauhiniflorum below Hovel Cart Road but it is not! Looks more like Rhododendron ‘Alison Johnstone’.
This is labelled Rhododendron bauhiniflorum below Hovel Cart Road but it is not! Looks more like Rhododendron ‘Alison Johnstone’.
This is labelled Rhododendron bauhiniflorum below Hovel Cart Road but it is not! Looks more like Rhododendron ‘Alison Johnstone’.
This is labelled Rhododendron bauhiniflorum below Hovel Cart Road but it is not! Looks more like Rhododendron ‘Alison Johnstone’.
This is labelled Rhododendron bauhiniflorum below Hovel Cart Road but it is not! Looks more like Rhododendron ‘Alison Johnstone’.
Prunus ‘Gyoiku’ is a wonderful green and white and plastered in flower.
Prunus ‘Gyoiku’
Prunus ‘Gyoiku’
Prunus ‘Gyoiku’
Prunus ‘Gyoiku’
Prunus mahaleb is in a key spot below the tower but I have made a major mistake with its location. The St Lucie cherry is rather dull in comparison to the other cherries nearby.
Prunus mahaleb
Prunus mahaleb
Prunus mahaleb
Prunus mahaleb

2017 – CHW
Two good new offerings at the sales point up from Burncoose yesterday.Kalmia polifolia ‘Newfoundland’ has a dwarfish spreading shape and many delicate rose-pink flowers. A welcome new addition to the kalmia offering and early flowering for a kalmia.
Kalmia polifolia ‘Newfoundland’
Kalmia polifolia ‘Newfoundland’
Kalmia polifolia ‘Newfoundland’
Kalmia polifolia ‘Newfoundland’
Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ is rather taller growing than I had assumed or expected. The colour fades a bit but is exceptional as the flower opens. Rather better than some of the better known ones I think.
Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’
Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’
Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’
Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’

2016 – CHW
To Hook Norton brewery for the AGM and board meeting at our revamped £1m pub, ‘The Fox’, in Chipping Norton. Lizzie’s mum, Alice, aged nearly 92 is coming with Elke, her nurse, who also looked after my mother.Last night I saw three pigeons incapable of flight and frumped up under hedges. One was in a similar state near the front door. Perhaps they had eaten dressed seed corn or perhaps the effects of a combative and competitive mating season or perhaps just the effects of overeating emerging beech leaves as pigeons have been doing in the garden all this week. Possibly just a coincidence but I wonder what the truth is?The first pheasant chicks will hatch tomorrow; a week later than last year. Philip says the eggs are generally larger this year than last which may bode well for fertility rates in what has been, so far, quite a cold year for laying. Certainly the cold north wind in the rearing field was unpleasant yesterday and hardly conclusive to high fertility rates. Philip is hoping for a good summer rearing season and the keepers have shot four roe bucks this week. One of them was in Kennel Close where his horn marks on young trees bear witness to what damage these newish garden pests have been doing. The does are not yet in season but we hope to cull more over the summer.2015 – CHW
Yet more ‘yellowish’ magnolias appear in a double garden tour day which exhausts the dogs.
MAGNOLIA 'Solar Flair' 03
MAGNOLIA ‘Solar Flair’
MAGNOLIA 'Solar Flair' 02
MAGNOLIA ‘Solar Flair’
MAGNOLIA 'Hattie Carthan'
MAGNOLIA ‘Hattie Carthan’
MAGNOLIA 'Eva Maria'
MAGNOLIA ‘Eva Maria’

Magnolia ‘Hattie Carthan’ is an acquired taste but rather better in maturity than it appears flowering in pots in the nursery.  Not much different from ‘Eva Maria’?

MAGNOLIA nitida
MAGNOLIA nitida

Magnolia nitida – this old and record tree which is clearly nearing the end of its life has just two flowers very high up.  Pity it will not cross with anything as the scent is exquisite.  We have found it hard to get new young plants away and going but there are two other trees neither of which are in particularly sheltered locations which are doing fine.

MICHELIA 'Touch of Pink'
MICHELIA ‘Touch of Pink’
MICHELIA 'Touch of Pink' 02
MICHELIA ‘Touch of Pink’

Although the Michelia doltsopas are going over there are plenty of new ones breaking bud.  ‘Touch of Pink’ is now magnificent and the three Magnolia laevifolias portend much for future years in maturity.  These came first as Magnolia crassipes and Magnolia yunnanense but the botanists now reclassify them as laevifolia.  I think I now agree although in immaturity the leaf shape, habit and flowering time were different.  The key problem is I assumed, quite incorrectly, they would only be dwarfish shrubs and planted them without nearly enough space to grow.  So nearby plants are soon for the chop although the third and fourth have plenty of room.

MICHELIA laevifolia
MICHELIA laevifolia
MICHELIA laevifolia
MICHELIA laevifolia
RHODODENDRON niveum
RHODODENDRON niveum
RHODODENDRON niveum 02
RHODODENDRON niveum
RHODODENDRON oreotrephes
RHODODENDRON oreotrephes
RHODODENDRON oreotrephes 02
RHODODENDRON oreotrephes

Passing by the Rhododendron niveum which won the cup on Saturday hidden away is a good clump of Rhododendron oreotrephes and, nearby, Rhododendron ‘May Day’ (griersonianum x haematodes) which was one of only a very few of my grandfather’s hybrids at Werrington.A single surviving plant (of five) of Rhododendron ‘Martha Wright’ is now excellent and beautifully scented.  The others were squashed by a fir cone laden branch last August.  Not as yellow as our ‘Michaels Pride’ which is not out yet but more scented.

RHODODENDRON 'May Day' 02
RHODODENDRON ‘May Day’
RHODODENDRON 'May Day'
RHODODENDRON ‘May Day’

1986 – FJW
Very late year. Mag’s still show. Rhodo’s and Camellias poor. Serena rode a horse!!! (not here).

1981 – FJW
A great blizzard in north and central U.K felt as far south as Dartmoor.

1926 – JCW
The first Rhododendron Society’s Show in London. Werrington batch of species was the outstanding thing apart from what has been ever seen before.

1920 – JCW
There are 70-80 species of Rhodo’n in flower, but the best of the hybrids are going back.

1907 – JCW
Mrs W saw the first swift.

1904 – JCW
Returned from Dinton and Birmingham, I bought two poets at D.

1902 – JCW
Most of the Auklandii are open – Thomsonii over – Countess of Haddington open. Finished crossing except Marvel. A few roses show colour. Ferns opening.

1901 – JCW
Finished crossing and went to Appleshaw, all except a few late poets are open. There has been a terrible sun. Auklandii some of them show colour.

1900 – JCW
Came back from Appleshaw last night but sun has finished the daffs in the south of England. The Triandrus hybrids at the Drill Hall are the best things that I have seen yet. I saw a very splendid Lulworth seedling at A. Tulips all open here. Auklandii shows colour.

1899 – JCW
Altaclarence just opening. No recurvas yet.

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