10th August

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

2021 – CHW

Colin French, author of the amazing pictorial book ‘A Flora of Cornwall’ (547 pages) has been here for the second phase of his wildflower recording work on the farm. This work updates a similar survey 10 or more years ago and will hopefully, in its end report, show a greater diversity of flora than previously as a result of our extensive, low input, low stocking rate farming policy.

We have a look at the flora in one or two garden areas which have recently been cleared of trees, roots and laurel hedges and then replanted. Colin’s view is that the plants which have materialised from disturbed soil where their seeds have been dormant for perhaps 60 to 80 years are woodland species and not meadow species. One of the areas we looked at may have been a pasture until circa 1910. The flora which were found earlier in the year in Tin Garden were much more in keeping with what one would have expected in a meadow hedgerow.

On the banks outside the front door we revisited the knapweeds. There are two recognised species of common knapweed, Centaurea, and the difference is not the spread or the size of the floret rays but in the covering of the eventual seed cluster below the flower itself. Centaurea nigra has dark black/brown scales with some green showing between them. Centaurea debeauxii has longer brownish heirs on much greener scales. Colin has found C. nigra on the bank here as well as a rare new Cornish species, C. nigra ss, which has only shown up a few times mainly in west Cornwall (C. nigra ss has even darker and tighter black scales with no sign of any green between them). Today, with flowering nearly over, we sadly do not find any C. nigra ss. I fear the difference leaves a non-botanist rather puzzled but then so do many similar rhododendron species.

Centaurea nigra
Centaurea nigra
Centaurea nigra
Centaurea nigra
C. nigra with campion (Silene dioica) which is unusual at this time of the year in an uncut bank.
C. nigra with campion
C. nigra with campion
Colin points out good clumps of the rather minute Cornish moneywort (Sibthorpia europaea) on the edge of the mound outside the back yard. Highly localised and relatively infrequent is the description in Colin’s book. ‘One never sees the flower’ says Colin and I can well see why!
Sibthorpia europaea
Sibthorpia europaea
This all goes to show how our separate horticultural/botanical knowledge is so different in two very associated spheres. If asked I might have said that I perhaps knew how to identify more wildflowers than most but, set against Colin’s lifetime of knowledge in this sphere, I feel like a five year old child in my ignorance. At least I got a smile when referring to fungi which thankfully neither of us have a clue about.

2020 – CHW
This is the peculiar houseplant which Beatrix and Gerrit brought here for us in February 2018. I forget the name [it is a Medinella!] but is had decided to flower again this year unexpectedly. There were three plants in this pot in the library but two have died. It is near the night store but has nowhere near enough light when the blinds are down which they have been this year with no visitors.
houseplant
houseplant
Another wedding photo from Serena and Neil (plus Saffron) in the fernery. My father proposed to my mother sitting on the trunk of an old half collapsed fern from exactly this circle in 1955. Serena was aware of this. A new and hefty upright trunk has grown up in the same spot today.
Serena and Neil
Serena and Neil
Another flower on Buddleia forrestii.
First flowers out on Eucryphia cordifolia.
Eucryphia cordifolia
Eucryphia cordifolia
Clethra tomentosa ‘Cottondale’ now full out.
Clethra tomentosa ‘Cottondale’
Clethra tomentosa ‘Cottondale’
Clethra tomentosa ‘Cottondale’
Clethra tomentosa ‘Cottondale’
Plenty of new secondary flowers on Magnolia ‘Star Wars’ but only where the new growth has been most vigorous.
Magnolia ‘Star Wars’
Magnolia ‘Star Wars’
Wonderful bark on Magnolia decidua.
Magnolia decidua
Magnolia decidua
First flowers out on the late flowering Tilia kiusiana.
Tilia kiusiana
Tilia kiusiana
The secondary flowers on Magnolia ‘Apollo’ are now full out and not that different in colour to the spring unlike many secondary efforts.
Magnolia ‘Apollo’
Magnolia ‘Apollo’
Drooping seed clusters forming on Lomatia ferruginea.
Lomatia ferruginea
Lomatia ferruginea

2019 – CHW
Tilia kiusiana now just out in full flower and the bees having a field day as usual.

Tilia kiusiana
Tilia kiusiana
Tilia kiusiana
Tilia kiusiana
Sorbus japonica with plenty of brown speckled fruits which will shortly turn red. Planted in 2010.
Sorbus japonica
Sorbus japonica
Sorbus japonica
Sorbus japonica
Sorbus alnifolia with fruit clusters that are still very green.
Sorbus alnifolia
Sorbus alnifolia
Sorbus alnifolia
Sorbus alnifolia
Tilia maximowicziana is a young plant but here with its first set of seeds which are still far from ripe.
Tilia maximowicziana
Tilia maximowicziana
Tilia maximowicziana
Tilia maximowicziana
Catalpa bignonoides is now full out at 40-50ft in height outside the arch. This plant once grew in my grandmother’s garden in St Mawes but was dug up and moved here 30 to 35 years ago.
Catalpa bignonoides
Catalpa bignonoides
Catalpa bignonoides
Catalpa bignonoides

2018 – CHW
A few nice new plants today at Burncoose.Hibiscus syriacus ‘Diana’ is a lovely white in the welcome showers. I have photographed at least five new hibiscus varieties in the last few weeks but not seen this one anywhere else.
Hibiscus syriacus ‘Diana’
Hibiscus syriacus ‘Diana’
Hibiscus syriacus ‘Diana’
Hibiscus syriacus ‘Diana’
Lagerstroemia indica ‘Red Emperor’ is flowering well as a result of the hot conditions this plant needs to perform in our climate. This is the third variety to flower in the nursery this year.
Lagerstroemia indica ‘Red Emperor’
Lagerstroemia indica ‘Red Emperor’
Lagerstroemia indica ‘Red Emperor’
Lagerstroemia indica ‘Red Emperor’
Passiflora edulis with a couple of fruits forming for the same reason. What colour will they end up? Interesting to see as this has not happened before in the nursery with this tender species.
Passiflora edulis
Passiflora edulis
Pittosporum bicolor was seen this spring in flower on Garnish Island in Eire. We now have plants in stock and the new growth is attractive. Not at all like most pittosporum species in leaf and neither are the flowers.
Pittosporum bicolor
Pittosporum bicolor
Pittosporum bicolor
Pittosporum bicolor

2017 – CHW
Hard pruning of the Magnolia delavayi plants below the castle is taking place. It looks drastic and it is intended to be! These elderly plants regrow over the top of the wall at such speed that they obscure the views of the sea from the downstairs windows. They also block the gutters with their huge old leaves above the garages. We are shredding all but the largest branches and leaving the residue as a mulch for the roots. You can see two days’ worth of progress in these pictures. At least two more to go. We will leave the Magnolia grandiflora beyond the delavayi uncut because there is a demand for their bark from a peculiar source! (And I am not telling you what that is!)

Pruning Magnolia delavayi
Pruning Magnolia delavayi
Pruning Magnolia delavayi
Pruning Magnolia delavayi
Pruning Magnolia delavayi
Pruning Magnolia delavayi
pruning of the Magnolia delavayi
pruning of the Magnolia delavayi
pruning of the Magnolia delavayi
pruning of the Magnolia delavayi
pruning of the Magnolia delavayi
pruning of the Magnolia delavayi

2016 – CHW

No entry.

2015 – CHW
No entry.

1992 – FJW
Has been damp for a month with no really heavy or prolonged rain. Eucryphia of all sorts are out well – very early for them.

1962 – FJW
Philips operation a success. Season still late – Eucryphia not nearly out. Auriculatum hybrids lasting well. Acer laxiflorum above Orchid House Nursery died suddenly.

1918 – JCW
Michael went round with me, he has not been here since January 15, he was very keen about the things, nothing much open now but the mountain forms.