Biblical rain for Christmas Day – the puddles by the lawn as deep as anything this year. It’s hardly 8 days since the ground was solid.
Entirely on our own with the gates firmly shut. Lizzie in bed with a cold/ bug as I was yesterday. Perfect in one sense but not in another!
Between the rain bees on Mahonia japonica flowers.
The ancient Mahonia japonica on the bank is a big clump and has been frequently cut back from the path which makes it flower better.
Acacia cultriformis just about to come out. A big tree now but originally a gift from Richard Carew Pole and Anthony Gardens.
Seed setting on Eucryphia cordifolia.
Acacia melanoxylon in bud but not as far on as Acacia cultriformis.
A young and previously thriving Embothrium by the Playhouse smashed to bits in the recent gales.
The multi stemmed Cordyline australis which we finally cut to the ground is unlikely to reshoot at all. Bark now shedding.
Flower tassels well advanced but not quite yet out on Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’. Surprisingly little damage to the leaves as yet in such an exposed position on the castle wall.
2021 – CHW
So what do we find to admire or surprise on a mainly wet Christmas Day? Just Lizzie and I on our own today which is quiet and blissful before next week’s invasion. Boris may well lock us all down again on Monday.Seedpods have formed on Halesia macgregorii but there are no seeds in them as far as I can see.
Blue indumentum on the undersides of Magnolia virginiana ‘Havener’ which, when fallen to the ground, have an attractive silvery hue. The tree is fully evergreen and has a dense, upright, but spreading habit. It has yet to flower after 30 years but looks very healthy. I hope I have the name correct.
Alniphyllum eberhartii is still in full leaf and behaving like an evergreen which it is not!
Lomatia ferruginea has many pea-like seedpods but these are still green and unripe.
Acer laevigatum (FMWJ 13439) is a true evergreen.
Rooks, crows and jackdaw droppings cover the fallen magnolia leaves under a large magnolia. A good flock have been roosting here out of the recently prevailing east wind.
Quercus insignis with, as yet, none of the dieback to the late summer/autumn new growth which the cold winds and frosts usually inflict in February.
First flowers this year on Camellia grijsii. Not open enough for any scent yet or probably still too high up the shrub to reach.
The snake bark stems on Acer tegmentosum ‘Joe Witt’ are outstanding.
Various Camellia sasanqua ‘Paradise’ varieties on Burns Bank are still at their best and covered in flower.
The original Camellia ‘Winton’ now full out above Orchid House Nursery. A 20-25ft tall clump.
The last of the five original Camellia sasanqua to flower still has a good show by the back arch while the other four are virtually over. In a frost free year so far all five have been out for almost three months this time around.
Outside the front door on the grassy bank there I spot:
A dandelion full out – one of several.
The first primrose of the year – later than usual? I have been looking out for this for a couple of weeks but can only find one for this Christmas.
Campion still in flower – as we have seen in previous mild autumns.
The Rhododendron, Camellia & Magnolia Group have asked members to do a ‘Christmas Count’ of what is out in the garden today. Due to the rain I have not done this justice but one really needs to take the week from 24th to 31st December from this diary to get a better idea of what is actually out.
2020 – CHW
A frosty start to Christmas Day but extreme westerly gales are due over the weekend. Together those may well put paid to the rather good early show of camellias this year.I start the day (early) writing a news item for the Burncoose website saying we will not be attending Chelsea this year even if it does happen as the RHS still maintain that it will. The Garden invites members to apply for tickets in its January edition but they have still not invited exhibitors to apply for space. With furlough to the end of April and Lockdown 3 looming it seems best if we all concentrate on fulfilling the spring rush of internet orders rather than wasting a month at or on Chelsea. We hardly get any direct orders at Chelsea now anyway. Our sponsors, Terra Firma, are fine with this and are happy to defer to 2022.All rather strange to be on our own with no family at all here for four days until shooting restarts with outdoor lunches. My brother is stuck in London without COVID while his wife and eldest son are at Burncoose with COVID. John & Katie and the grandchildren are stuck in Bristol and Serena awaits news of whether Neil can escape from the Sudan by the New Year.So now the usual Christmas camellia hunt:
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ just out. Five year or so from planting the bush is 12ft tall and the Burncoose label still intact.
Fuchsia gracilis still in flower with a few leaves as has become normal in mild wet autumns.
Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’ has just made it into flower this time around. It does not always when grown outside.
Another Camellia x williamsii ‘Golden Spangles’ with rather more flower than we saw recently.
Rhododendron ‘Winter Intruder’ at its best on the drive.
First flower on Camellia ‘Desire’ – fat buds with a pink edging!
Camellia x williamsii ‘Debutante’ now properly out and a better colour than the other day.
Camellia ‘Margherita Coleoni’ which is not in the Burncoose catalogue I see. It should be! Asia to send cuttings to Burncoose.
Camellia ‘Nagaski’ just out too.
And Camellia x williamsii ‘Monica Dance’ – definitely earlier than usual.
Blown off flower heads from Hydrangea paniculata but some still hold on the plants.
Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ and Rhododendron ‘Winter Intruder’ out together for once.
Camellia ‘Winton’ and Rhododendron ‘Winter Intruder’ full out.
Still a flower on Hydrangea ‘Fireworks Pink’. Rather better than the show on ‘Fireworks’ which we saw a few days ago.
I had wondered why a camellia in a camellia hedge was yellowing and dying. In fact it is a plant of Euonymus europaeus turning colour which has emerged in the hedge.
First high up flowers on Camellia x williamsii ‘Mary Jobson’. Too high up for any scent.
Last flower on Lapageria rosea which was first out in August. Amazing longevity.
The Rev Michael Warner rings to cheer us up with news that his Daphne ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is out too. No church services today but a 20 minute distanced affair at St Michaels Caerhays last night (seven attendees) which Lizzie attended.
2019 – CHW
A look at what was out in the garden on a fine sunny Christmas Day!Azalea ‘Hinomayo’ out for Christmas as usual – well just the odd twig here and there really!
The darker of the two original wild collected Camellia saluenensis has its first flower on Christmas Day. The paler form was out two and a half weeks ago. This flower hangs down vertically which is unusual.
All that is left of the fine Camellia sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ which split in half a month or so ago. The second half has now gone too but the flowers now decorate the castle. Hopefully it will eventually reshoot. I see one twig left at the base.
Here they are in a Christmas arrangement.
A vase of camellias in the hall.
The Picea omorika branch now fully decorated.
The Christmas arrangements outside the front door 2019.
And, less seasonally perhaps, the side door arrangement.
Also out today was Magnolia delavayi.
And flowers on Magnolia grandiflora – one bruised by passing vehicles.
We saw early odd pale flowers on Rhododendron nobleanum but it is now full out. Perhaps a month later than would be normal again suggesting a cold snap to come.
Camellia ‘Winton’ with its first flowers.
One flower on Rhododendron sulfureum.
And one on Rhododendron leucaspis.
A few odd premature or secondary flowers on Azalea amoena which is unusual but just on one of the elderly bushes on the drive.
Hydrangea ‘Ayesha’ with several nearly opening flowers.
That is 11 things to brighten up the day anyway.
2018 – CHW
What is out on Christmas Day this year which I do not remember seeing out before?
Camellia ‘Alba Plena’
I am back to the first flowering of Camellia gigantocarpa. The plant in flower has very different leaves to the separate ones in full growth in the Auklandii Garden. Is the one in flower in fact Camellia crapnelliana? I think not because the bark on the stem has not got an orange hue and the Chinese reference book makes no mention of brown bud coverings in C. crapnelliana. I may well yet stand corrected!
Camellia ‘Takanini’ full out and a very dark red indeed.
Yet more young Pinus insignis blown over in recent gales.
Rhododendron Golden Oriole Group – ‘Busaco’ with its first flowers on a newly planted group on the Main Ride.
First single flower on Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’ (Yellow Form).
2017 – CHW
A few things of note quickly on a mild overcast and blustery Christmas day.Hydrangea aspera ssp robusta still with some colour and setting seeds.
Magnolia dawsoniana still clothed in leaf.
Acanthus mollis with one flowering spike and many spikes of seeds.
Fuchsia gracilis with new growth showing and the odd surviving flower.
The Camellia x williamsii ‘J C Williams’ hedge by the Rockery looking great.
The clump of Zantedeschia aethiopica outside my office are in rude health!
A tail end and unusually late flower on Camellia sasanqua ‘Hugh Evans’.
But no flowers on Camellia ‘Lady Clare’ outside the front door although others are out in the garden.
A strong running sea and a SW gale for Christmas day.
Sarcococca saligna with flowers nearly over.
2016 – CHW
So what do we find out in flower on an exceptionally mild Christmas Day? As children we often played this game collecting different camellia flowers. We once got to nearly 100 with my brother. Now a grandchild on the way so we can all begin again.A fully grown and full out campion below White Styles. Cor!
The unnamed Camellia x williamsii clump outside the front gate is full out and the best thing in the garden today.
Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’ with buds opening all over the huge clump. Only one branch had premature flowers four to six weeks ago.
Four young Camellia sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ still full out and very fine in the sun.
The first spring Cyclamen coum flower on the bank amid an array of leaves. A new self-sown clump here.
Several flowers on several of the Magnolia grandifloras. Not unusual in recent mild winters but unbelievable to previous generations.
Daphne bholua ‘Alba’ nearly out by the greenhouses – not unusual.
Camellia hiemalis ‘Yuletide’ – but of course! It is in a pot under cover but even so!
Camellia hiemalis ‘Bonanza’ virtually over.
A few flowers still left after the leaves have long gone on Fuchsia magellanica ‘Alba’.
The ground below the original Camellia sasanqua ‘Narumigata’ is covered in white petals but there are still more than plenty flowers left.
Many small birds are singing are singing away in the stillness as if it were already spring. A pleasant and hopeful Christmas day. I would love to compare this all with what other readers of this blog have found today?
2015 – CHW
Christmas Day – plans to photograph every camellia in flower today (and pick one of each as my brother and I did in our childhood) abandoned as still in bed! Missed all the festivities entirely!
Floods in Lancashire and York. Heavy rain here mainly overnight but nothing exceptional.
2002 – FJW
Flowers on wall of Magnolia delavayi.
1964 – FJW
The day whitened up considerably in the afternoon.
1961 – FJW
CHW did his first big job with his father in EPR’s quarry.
1904 – JCW
Crocus imperati open. November frost left very few lapagerias. Rest as above but no aconite.1903 – JCW
C imperati open fairly well, a snowdrop or two, 50 lapageria on the winter plant. Erica open, some roses, Nobleanum open for three weeks, an aconite out, a wild primrose, daff seeds hardly any but Maximus blood moving.1902 – JCW
C imperati nearly open. Galanthus nearly. About 100 lapageria on the pillar plant. Some Erica nearly open. Several roses going yet and a very fair lot of buds in the roses. This years daff seed is slow in starting. Nobleanum out a week.1901 – JCW
The first imperati nearly open. About 40 lapagerias on one plant, frost has hit them very hard. Not many roses. Some I stylosa alba and alata. Hardly any moved bulbs show but several perhaps nearly all the unmoved. Erica arborea in flower.1900 – JCW
Many Stylosa alba open. 80 lapageria on one plant. Coum one third open. Erica arborea in flower. Picked a good Mrs W.J Grant. Several bits of roses. A fair lot of daffs up, a sprinkling in the seedling pans. Crocus imperati open.1899 – JCW
Several Stylosa open. 150 lapageria out on one plant. A great number of daffs above ground though most of them are moved bulbs. Several nice roses. C coum one or two in flower.1898 – JCW
About 300 lapagerias out. G found Lent Lilies breaking up. Berberis [?]. Habrothamnus out. C picked a big bunch of Scilly White.1897 – JCW
Many daffs through ‘37’ of the new ones. Crocus imperati still good. Many camellias, a good few roses. Some snowdrops well open. Iris stylosa and bakeriana.
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