Delightfully gloomy and wet again! If only July’s rain had been spread over May and June. A cuttings collecting day with Cressy and Asia while planning future seed and cutting collection of rarities in the autumn.
Flowers more or less open on Magnolia kwangtungensis.
A late flower on Magnolia dealbata.
Swelling female flowers and declining male associates on Platycarya strobilacea.
Cudrania tricuspidata (now Maclura tricuspidata) – the Chinese silkworm thorn. I had forgotten that we had planted this prickly horror but it is doing well. Extremely rare.
Fruits well developed on Aristolochia sempervirens but not yet ripe.
A really good Rhododendron ‘Polar Bear’ hidden away.
Euonymus wilsonii setting seed.
Asimina triloba with only a few small flowers this year. Our two plants have very different flowers as we have seen before in this diary.
Ternstroemia aff. luteoflora (FMWJ 13360) flowering only a couple of years after planting and not at all like the performance of our other rather older plants of T. gymnanthera which have yet to produce any flowers despite growing quickly. Tregrehan agree that Ternstroemia are reluctant to flower before they become trees.
Cornus hongkongensis in flower. At Exbury a few years ago this was out in the first week of June. So we are nearly 8 weeks later?
Seed forming on Sorbus eleonorae. They will not be ripe or edible until January/ February.
Interesting bark on Styrax tonkinensis (WWJ 11868).
Cressy had never seen the enormous and impressive flower tassels on Carpinus fangiana. Quite the best Carpinus species for ‘tassels’ – penile even? They seem however to be going brown not pink!
Nor on Dipteronia sinensis. These are rather more attractive than the flowers. ‘Rabbits Money’ or ‘Elm-like’ in the context of Ulmus but Cressy had another comparison which I fear I have forgotten.
I received an email recently saying that I had purchased “every” woody plant that (the wonderful) Crug Farm Nurseries had ever collected on their many plant hunting expeditions. It was meant as a criticism but I do not apologise for continuing to try to improve the plant collection here in a slightly different way to my great grandfathers funding of George Forrest’s 7 Chinese expeditions. I don’t actually see much difference and both Bleddyn and Sue are good friends in the same way as were JCW and Forrest 100+ years ago. Perhaps a plantsman’s interest is in his genes? Crug Farm still have plenty more interesting things to try here which I suspect Sue and Bleddyn are both delighted to know!
2022 – CHW
Our ancient Meliosma pungens is reviving itself and reshooting vigorously from its main trunk from the base to the top of the tree. No sign of seeds or flowers this year.
Zanthoxylum armatum (NJM 11.08) has flowered and berried before but never as copiously as this years effort. Still green today.
Euonymus spraguei with its first flowers. Not enjoying the drought.
Interesting new growth on Rapanea salicina ‘Toro’. Most unusual.
Acorns setting on Quercus variabilis as they did last year but I forgot to check when they were eventually ripe.
Escallonia resinosa now full out. Burncoose stocked this years ago but this plant is a gift from Windsor.
Crataegus wattiana covered in red berries already in the best show so far. Way ahead of the other species of Crataegus.
2021 – CHW
A quick look at the Hydrangea quercifolias in flower.I find a further cluster of three female flower cones on Araucaria bidwillii.
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’ with the first hints of pink in the flowerheads.
The variegated leaved Luma apiculata ‘Glanleam Gold’ with bits of reversion to green here and there.
Only a very few seeds are setting on Styrax odoratissimus this year and these are all low down in the tree.
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Flake’ with double florets. Small growing and floppy. The only one of three to survive from 2009 planting.
Hydrangea quercifolia is short lived. Only three survivors of five planted in 2009. No flowers on H. quercifolia ‘White Lace’ nearby.
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Burgundy’ which takes its name from the autumn leaf colour.
A second flowering on Magnolia ‘Apollo’ – nearly the same colour as in late spring.
2020 – CHW
Eucryphia glutinosa covered by Wisteria sinensis with secondary flowering.
Acer x conspicuum ‘Silver Cardinal’ with, as usual, exceptional secondary new growth which is pink and white becoming mottled green and white.
Ugni molinae with fruits nearly ripe.
Buddleia stenostachya is now 10ft tall and looks as though it will be rather short lived. The flowers are not that exciting but one to continue to propagate as a rarity.
This looks like an ailanthus species but it is not on the Bond Street plan. A Crûg Farm purchase I believe which we need to look up. It is getting away well.
Sorbus koehneana is a 6-8ft shrub. It has sat here for 20 to 25 years doing not much but the porcelain white fruits are excellent today.
Coryplopsis sinensis has produced large quantities of seed.
2019 – CHW
The view from the Warwick hospitality suite at Edgbaston where, in six hours’ play, the Australians scored 400 runs for the loss of four wickets. Very hospitable it was too apart from the Aussies walking to victory and Smith scoring 142 (to go with his 144 in the first innings). Anderson unable to bowl from the start of the match and Ali was dreadful. Root bowled a lot.
Before we set off to Edgbaston a Humulus lupus ‘Aureus’ in full flower in a plum tree in Max Kendry’s garden.
Gardening for butterflies with Cynara cardunculus (flowers unpicked or eaten) and Buddleia ‘White Knight’. It was however too early in the morning for them to be up and about.
2018 – CHW
A trip to view staphylea seeds which, as you will see, was timely in this drought. It is not possible to identify some staphylea species just by their leaves and flowers. At least three species have single leaves with (usually) five pinnate leaflets and the flowers are not that easy to separate out either. However the seed pods make identification very much simpler.Staphylea colchica has large seed pods (here) 2½-3in long which are in pairs of attached pods with a pronounced ‘tail’ or point at the end of each pod. Those have yet to turn pale brown, as they will when ripe, but there are already red autumn tints on the leaves.
Either the drought or a squirrel has caused most of the seeds to drop prematurely to the ground well before ripening. The seeds photographed above are in pairs or small clusters. What has dropped were in much larger clusters from old flower spikes at the top of the plant. Drought telling the plant to jettison the effort of setting seed I expect although some signs of nibbling on the main stems on the ground.Staphylea pinnata also has pairs of rounded seed pods with only a tiny point at the bottom. They are only 1-1½in long and easily identified as different to S. colchica. They are however also all in two celled capsules which are joined together. Not a huge crop and none on the ground yet but clear signs of early autumn leaf colouring.
Staphylea x elegans (S. colchica x S. pinnata) is known to be very variable. Our plant of this naturally occurring hybrid between these two species does however have rather larger seed pods than on the pure S. pinnata although there are no real S. colchica points at the bottom of the pod. The seeds are in pairs as you would expect and about 2in long.
Just a couple of seed pods today on Staphylea trifolia. This species can be identified by its three leaflets (although other species can have some leaves with three leaflets too) and, especially, by its seed pods. The seed pods have three capsules (not two) as you can see in one of the photographs here (one of the three pods has shrivelled in the other picture). If it had seeded more copiously this would be more obvious today. In the spring we thought we had identified only one plant of S. trifolia and this is now demonstrably correct. The three attached capsules point away from each other and have a ‘tail’ which is longer than S. pinnata but not as long as S. colchica.
No seed pods on any of our three plants of Staphylea holocarpa this year. Need to check the Burncoose plant. The seed pods are pink rather than brown or yellow-brown when ripe as in colchica and pinnata.Our plant, labelled Staphylea bolanderi, has a single tiny seed pod this year which I doubt will now swell properly. It is perhaps the largest plant we have of any species but identification is still unclear and I suspect it is actually S. pinnata.
The bark is very distinct though.
The plant labelled Staphylea bumalda has no seed pods either this year although we suspect that it is already too large in height to be this species and may well also be S. pinnata judging by its bark and multi-stemmed habit.
2017 – CHW
More from Ventnor Botanics.A Cordyline australis seed head larger than the leaves on the plant.
Clerodendron bungei suckers now full out.
Eucomis autumnalis with white flowers. Not autumn either!
Seed on Pittosporum crassifolium – not seen before.
Sophora microphylla. 12-15ft tall here.
Pseudopanax crassifolius as a 10-12ft small tree.
Pseudopanax laetus 12-15ft in height.
The disease killing mature clumps of Cordyline australis which we see a lot of in Falmouth has reached Ventnor.
Pseudopanax ferox leaves on a small plant.
Huge pea like seed pods on Phormium tenax.
Colletia hystrix 12ftx10ft.
Catalpa bignonoides full out rather earlier than usual.
Cordyline australis ‘Purpurea’ with huge seed heads.
A Cordyline australis tree or two alive and well here.
2016 – CHW
How good it is to be back and enjoy the Cornish air and absolute quiet! The hydrangeas on the drive are now a real show and the newer, more interesting varieties, are showing up as well as those which have been here for at least 70 to 80 years. This has all added a whole new dimension to the ‘summer flowering garden’ and the Hydrangea paniculatas are still only just starting to come out.More on these soon.
2015 – CHW
Already huge seed pods on the Magnolia sargentiana robusta hybrid/seedling on the mound outside the Back Yard. What energy this must take out of the tree and over seeding inevitably reduces the amount of flower next March.
I have not yet stopped to photograph the Chinese native Magnolia delavayi hedge below the lawn which protects the pointing in the wall so well. It has had flowers for six weeks or so already and many more to come between now and perhaps November. The flowers last only a day or two in full sun and the best scent is in the evenings with petals shattered on the ground. These plants are cut back from the top of the wall every 10 years or so which keeps the plants rejuvenating and full of flower. Cold east wind in February can strip the leaves occasionally but they soon reshoot with a little die back. The seed pods look impressive but, in our climate, no seed ever sets. This species is very difficult from cuttings.
Further along the wall towards the Tower is Magnolia grandiflora from the USA doing exactly the same job with even more enormous and short lived flowers. Again evening scent to attract moths and night time insects. Again easy to cut back and no setting seeds. There used to be individual plants of Magnolia grandiflora ‘Maryland’ and ‘Goliath’ interspersed but these seem to have died out since I last looked closely which was probably years ago.
The last two times I have gone to look for the rare Mexican Magnolia dealbata its intermittent flowers were either not out or over. Just about the only species not featured/photographed this year.
1989 – FJW
Harvest all in – very very dry – spring barley poor, winter barley good.
1950 – CW
First lapageria out 2 days ago. Eucryphia pinnatifolia at its best only odd flowers on Nymansensis, a few cyclamen. A lot of Auriculatum hybrids still good and some not out. An odd Mag parviflora. Lots of both Grandiflora. A lot of rain for some weeks after a very dry spell.
1917 – JCW
Went round the garden with Harrow of Edinburgh, we found some flowers on Adenogynum, Idoneum[?], 10311, Rupicolum, Flavidum, Hippophaeoides, Keysii, Decorum, Fortunei, Auriculatum, Fasitigiatum, Intricatum.
1913 – JCW
Roses in the beds are very nice. White everlasting peas good. R magnifica fair, it is very dry. Gros au Felity very nice and so the Romneya. The Tin Garden work has finished.
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