One of those days where all was well in the world (even if it still is not). Warm and sunny with birdsong, lambs bleating and scent after a long Hook Norton board meeting.
Many magnolias are now old enough to be making a show as you see here today:
Magnolia ‘Lu Shan’
Rhododendron hodgsonii – this plant flowering for the first time that I have seen
Magnolia ‘Lucy Carlson’ (M. loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ x Magnolia salicifolia)
Magnolia ‘Crystal Chalice’
Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’ x Magnolia ‘Serene’ (no name as yet)
Magnolia ‘Hot Lips’ (much better than ‘Hot Pants’). [I fear this is actually ‘Hot Pants’!]
Magnolia ‘Spring Rite’
Magnolia ‘Paul Cook’
Magnolia kobus ‘Octopus’
Magnolia ‘Asian Artistry’
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Isca’ at 100ft+
The end of the fallen beech tree above Green Gate after two days’ work.
2020 – CHW
We did have a brief and distanced estate meeting as we were all ‘at work’ anyway. The ‘furloughing’ now extends to even more people in our businesses. The first few demands for a pause in rent payments have to be dealt with in a new policy. More people are cancelling their shoot bookings than I expected. Our major building projects are proceeding on paper only with building regulation and planning applications. A few more BPS form filling problems. Agricultural rents due now for the half year but only a few have actually paid. Assuming the government does pay 80% of the wages our cash flow should be not too bad for a bit yet but it will need careful managing by Joe as usual.A rather well signed landscape van was caught cutting down trees near the road beside Burncoose Gardens. They fled leaving trees in a dangerous state as you can see in these pictures. Police do actually do something! The owner of the van rings to say not him (of course) but fails to explain who was then using his van to pinch rather more than a bit of firewood. A sign of the times to come and a vile bit of fly tipping also at Burncoose because the dump is shut (naturally) which is another minor but unwelcome product of the corona crisis. The criminals are becoming more brazen in the lockdown.
One of those days when I come across lots of plant problems in the sun but, still, a biting east wind.
The (once) record tree of Osmanthus yunnanensis half fell over and was uprighted again. The rest of the tree was becoming leafless so we pollarded it at 20 or so feet. Last year it did try to reshoot vigorously but now it is clearly dead with bark shedding at the base. The uprighted bit still has one small live branch and some still live reshooting. Little cause for optimism.
The old Litsea glauca suddenly died about six years ago but already several roots near the surface have produced a clump of new shoots all around, but separate from, the rotten old base.
Very recently the original Magnolia macrophylla has fallen over in the Rireii Opening. It was being held up by surrounding rhododendrons but not enough. We saw the last flowers late last summer. Thankfully we have two or three young plants coming on to, one day, replace it but they are not yet of flowering size so we will have to make do with Magnolia dealbata for a bit.
Rhododendron wilsoniae is a sparse flowerer. This is a tangled old original clump of plants so that may explain it. Also, today, very shaded but, where we have cut it back, it has reshot vigorously.
The largest Magnolia nitida has not enjoyed the storm battering and is looking sparse on top to put it mildly. However there are more new growth buds about to break on leafless branches than these photographs show.
When you look at the old trunk you can see where the 1963 winter necessitated pollarding down what was still (then) alive. It has grown quite a bit since then but may well now be near the end of its life. Grossly over seeded last autumn for the first time in a decade. Not a good sign!
Three more camellias with tiny flowers:
‘Fairy Wand’ with more flowers in full sun than the one we saw a few days ago in shade.
‘Cinnamon Cindy’ has been out for weeks but here the very last few flowers.
‘Gay Baby’ is just a larger flowered version of ‘Fairy Wand’ as I see it? Stupid name!
This wild collected Camellia pittardii has vigorous green shoots coming from the base but the top of the plant is all sickly and yellowish. Should I cut it down to 18-24in? Another nearby plant is fine perhaps in more shade. I see a topical tip video looming.
Acer purpurascens has been looking sickly and is now dead. The penalty these new introductions pay for tender autumn new growth. A sheltered spot but it has hated the east winds just like the M. nitida. I forgot to actually photograph it!
Magnolia ‘Sunray’ is just being blown open and a better colour than some years.
Thankfully the former record tree, Ligustrum confusum, which blew over two years ago, is reshooting well. New growth aplenty already.
Magnolia ‘Vulcan’ has been blown open, frosted and hailed upon. A few insipid flowers survive low down but they are totally the wrong colour.
Rhododendron veitchianum just coming out.
While stumps were dug nearby Jaimie has ‘uplifted’ the Podocarpus nubigenus ‘Pendula’ given to us (two plants) in about 1991 by Kew (Wakehurst?). This has made more room for a yellow variegated Osmanthus and Kalmias nearby.
Magnolia ‘Rebecca’s Perfume’ (true even if I never met Rebecca!) with one flower nearly over and wind burnt (Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Amabilis’ x Magnolia ‘Mark Jury’).
Things now improve on the trip with some other magnolias springing out in the last 48 hours of east wind.Magnolia ‘Lili Diva’ (Magnolia liliiflora ‘Nigra’ x Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’) does not have a picture of itself in the new Eisenhut book but this looks good. Planted 2011.
Magnolia ‘Sunset Swirl’ is just coming and what an odd mix of colours. Planted 2014. A good new variety.
Magnolia brooklynensis ‘Titan’ reminds me very much of the magnolia growing not far from the house at Rosemoor called ‘Morning Glow’. This was over during our recent visit but it has featured in this diary more than once over the years. I have always wanted a ‘Morning Glow’ and rather doubt it is actually a x brooklynensis form. ‘Titan’ is a good thing and much different to other x brooklynensis varieties which can be a ‘nasty’ mix of colours or ‘delightful’ depending on your taste. I wonder, however, if this plant is really true to name or a x brooklynensis?
Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’ x Magnolia ‘Serena’ was wind battered but ok.
By a process of elimination (as it is not marked on the plan itself) I initially believe this to be Magnolia ‘Hot Lips’. Eisenhut’s book shows a very different picture and it is a mollicomata x sprengeri ‘Diva’ cross apparently so it could not be this unless the colours are going to change radically which I doubt. I am left puzzled and stumped but it is a very gentle and attractive mix of colours. Can anyone help? [It is Magnolia ‘Hot Pants’ rather than Hot Lips]
We have older plants of Magnolia ‘Joe McDaniel’ but it is good to see another with such nice white edging to the tepals. A bit wind battered and off colour high up (planted 2011).
Magnolia ‘Paul Cook’ just coming with oddly recurved flowers. 2014 planted (Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Lennei’ x Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’).
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Raspberry Fun’ now full out and excellent as usual.
A young Betula luminifera ‘White House Farm’ with enormous female catkins forming but not yet ripe.
Yet another Pinus radiata blows over in the wind despite proper staking. How do you win with these young top heavy essentials?
A couple more old stumps removed with the mini digger for new plants.
2019 – CHW
Cyclamen coum, coloured primroses and wild primulas on the top bank. Elsewhere bluebells. A veritable carpet of flowers.
A pleasant surprise. At last an unnoticed Melliodendron xylocarpum is actually making good growth into a small tree. Flower buds too in some numbers but yet to show. About 6ft tall 10 years from planting and doing well now.
A small young Quercus acuta with acorns forming on the stems of last year’s female flowers and the old terminal male flower stalks still visible. The old tree has never shown us properly formed small acorns like this so another surprise!
First flower here on Magnolia ‘Purple Prince’ which we planted out the other day. You can just see the white insides of the tepals which makes this hybrid so special. First seen in The Valley Gardens at Windsor a couple of years ago. Late season flowerer.
Some of the yellow male catkins on Betula luminifera are a foot or more long. So profusely are they hanging on the tree that it looks like a weeping willow from a distance. This was a John Hillier collection from Sichuan. Two trees were planted here in 2004 but one lost its leader in a gale two years ago.
Betula pendula ssp. szechuanica ‘Liuba White’ was collected by Roy Lancaster in 1989 from 3,500 metres up from sea level in Sichuan and planted here in 2001.
I think these are new male catkins and old seed cones on Betula alleghanensis. They seem to match the shape shown in the Betula bible by Kenneth Ashburner but I do need to check further when the leaf is further out. I know that Roy gave us one of his own collections and guess this is right since it is right beside ‘Liuba White’.
Magnolia ‘Rouged Alabaster’ is hidden away in a shady part of the drive near the Trevanion Holly but long flowering and good close up at least a month after it first came out.
2018 – CHW
Another filthy wet day to cap off a depressing Easter weekend from a business point of view. The water meadows are flooded to record levels overnight. A nursery day to try to cheer everyone up after such a poor visitor weekend. The plants are all still in full dormancy with little sign of new growth yet. We have been lucky that the mail order held up so well (only £30k down on the previous March) – garden centre trading disastrous all over the country.
Datura sanguinea in the Burncoose conservatory flowering well out of its normal season (July to September) but rather good nevertheless.
Corydalis solida ‘Beth Evans’ in a group in the nursery. An impressive plant with no cold damage at all.
Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ flowering three months late in this peculiar year. Not bad though.
Distylum myricoides ‘Blue Cascade’ with its first flowers and new growth. Still to see any blue but presumably this will be evident in the new growth.
A quick trip to Old Park to view the magnolias in a drizzly afternoon.
Magnolia campbellii ‘Alba’ now full out. Hard to photograph against a grey sky.
A good Magnolia mollicomata, the best seen this year in fact.
An elderly Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’ now not covered by trees and starting to flower well.
Rhododendron sinogrande just coming out. One of several large plants in Old Park.
A good Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’.
A very good clump of Rhododendron calophytum. Some pure white and some with a hint of pink just above the Beech Walk path.
2017 – CHW
A still and sunny day. The garden a torrent of scents and colour.
Rhododendron soilenhense is now at its absolute best.
Magnolia ‘Sunray’ just coming out. No great merit. There are lots very similar and not worth their place.
This plant of Rhododendron sinogrande was totally exposed to the wind after we made the veitchii clearing. Tiny leaves and struggling to live. Now that other things have grown up to protect it, flowers aplenty for the first time.
Rhododendron magnificum with its first flowers on the main ride.
The two old Magnolia soulangeanas on the main ride looking great in the sun.
Acer palmatum ‘Katsura’ is always very early into leaf with an initial orange hue turning yellowish.
Rhododendron calophytum beside the acer.
Rhododendron loderi ‘King George’ just coming out and a bit early. No scent yet.
First flowers showing colour on Michelia ‘Mixed up Miss’. Lots more still to come.
First flowers on this Rhododendron rothschildii. Not a species I ever remember growing here. Like so many of these big leafed species the flowers fade so quickly that unless you catch them just out it is hard to know which is which by colour anyway. Rhododendron eximium is next door and similar in colour if not in leaf.
Magnolia ‘Tinkerbelle’ – first flowering. Small flowers but a good reddish colour.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Ladys Maid’ is of US origin and very late into flower. Its buds have a nice way of hanging down on the bush before they open fully. Well worth growing.
Rhododendron lepidostylum plastered in flower in the Rockery. These have nearly all died out of old age on Burns Bank but this one is in its prime.
This Magnolia ‘Yellow Lantern’ was split asunder last autumn in strong east winds. We will wait to see where the new shoots spring from on the stem before deciding exactly how to trim and reform what is left into a sensible shape with a new leader so the plant can grow on again.
Rhododendron niveum on Sinogrande Walk. See how the flowers fade in colour with age.
This is one of a batch of my father’s azalea hybrids. Really quite nice and possibly worth a name?
2016 – CHW
An early morning tour of the garden with Ian Baldick and Raf (the young Dutch nurseryman who will be propagating and selling Ian’s new magnolia hybrids). Here they are with the huge flowers on the Magnolia campbellii Alba seedling on the main ride.
Then we stop in wonder, but in the rain, to observe the second plant of Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’ on the drive which is just coming out. The flowers here are not as large as on the best plant but they are larger than the last year and the colour is superb.
On to the Fourburrow Hunt meet at Porthluney beach complete with a few antis in a blue four wheel drive car and balaclavas. About 60 riders in the rain and no real excitement except that of course the fox trail runs into the main garden (out of bounds) and the hounds run amok amid the visitors. No damage done.
2015 – CHW
Tedious six hours in the car with usual roadworks at Birmingham. Big meeting to debate how to ping our broadband from Four Lanes (15 miles) to the estate as BT still will not install fibre optic cable to us. So speeds of 1 to 4 mbs for us for the foreseeable future or a big capital investment.
1995 – FJW
Richard John helped with his first garden tour. (Savill Gardens).
1961 – FJW
2400 came around on the Open Day. Garden looking very good.
1933 – JCW
A lot of flowers of sorts. The Camellias are the best thing now though the best cherries won’t be long.
1932 – JCW
Camellia speciosa recovered the frost and flowered well after it.
1929 – JCW
Wilson’s Magnolia is very fine and as good as the best Campbellii. Kobus, the early one, may have a 1000 blooms open with 500 to come. Barbatums remain good now and have been out for over a month.
1927 – JCW
The Wilson Magnolia denudata is open. Daffs seem to have passed 1924.
1925 – JCW
Just as in 1924 only the double sloe has less flower. Blood red Auklandii very fair and the whites starting. The Melianthera is the best thing at the place.
1924 – JCW
The double sloe is the best Prunus open. P pilosiuscula will run it close in a year or two, and Subhirtella ascendens is good in the Beech Walk. The daffodils are within a day or two of reaching their best.
1911 – JCW
Sir G Loder made the big insignis 105 ft.
1910 – JCW
C reticulata has begun to wane. Nar M de Graaf just opening much as in 1907. No cherries but pendula out.
1907 – JCW
Nice rain after a long period of bright sun and frosts. The first M de Graaf opening. Poets just coming through the spathe, several (nearly all) Weardales open, more than half the [?] things open.
1903 – JCW
Not quite so far on as in 1897 but nearly so.
1902 – JCW
The boys saw the first swallow. Blackthorn is good in most places.
1897 – JCW
Dorothy, H Irving’s, Flora Wilson, Beatrice Heseltine, P grandiflora all out. Cherries at their best, also the tulips in the grap.