12th February

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

The huge stump of the once UK record Osmanthus yunnanensis has been neatly dug out and removed yesterday on one of the coldest windy but dry days anyone can remember in the recent past (or since March 2018). Hopefully the second pollarded old tree beside it will not have suffered too much root damage in the process and will continue to reshoot. There is another ancient O. yunnanensis hidden away in rhododendron scrub below Hovel Cart Road and a decent young plant now getting away after deer nibbling above the Magnolia x veitchii.

Osmanthus yunnanensis
Osmanthus yunnanensis
Osmanthus yunnanensis
Osmanthus yunnanensis

To my surprise the garden clearly has taken a battering but the damage, so far, is rather less than we had all feared. We did hear trees go down but nothing see yet to interfere with the garden opening on Sunday.

I am always amazed that this double trunked Cryptomeria japonica stays upright in an east wind. Plenty of twig debris on the ground.

Cryptomeria japonica
Cryptomeria japonica
Cryptomeria japonica
Cryptomeria japonica
The digger has finished the camellia stumps below the Rookery. All neat and tidy for planting soon.
for planting
for planting
As in 2018 laurel leaves blown from the laurel hedges all along the Main Ride. Without these windbreaks many more tender plants might well have died.
laurel leaves
laurel leaves
The Symplocos dryophylla was not as dead as it looked when cut back. It might reshoot but I doubt it.
Symplocos dryophylla
Symplocos dryophylla
Camellia x williamsii ‘Citation’ with its irregular semi double and occasionally single flowers. This elderly plant by Georges Hut is out a bit later than usual and has larger flowers than others in the garden here.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Citation’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Citation’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Citation’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Citation’
We are adding our propagated plants of Cinnamomum japonicum to the Burncoose catalogue. Here are some pictures of our 30 year old plant originally from Windsor which John Bond felt was too tender for them to grow. Strongly suckering plant with knobbly green bark at first on the many suckers. The trunk then goes woody as you see here. The plant is 25-30ft tall.
Cinnamomum japonicum
Cinnamomum japonicum suckers
Cinnamomum japonicum
Cinnamomum japonicum
Cinnamomum japonicum knobbly bark
Cinnamomum japonicum knobbly bark
Cinnamomum japonicum mature bark
Cinnamomum japonicum mature bark
A tidy up around the, once record tree, Pinus pinaster which fell a year or so ago.
Pinus pinaster
Pinus pinaster
When having a bonfire in strong winds near other plants cut a few laurel branches to protect nearby plants that could get singed. Nutty rather obscures this.
laurel branches
laurel branches
The old Lindera communis has been dying in its top branches for a few years but plenty of reshooting from the base which we have been propagating for the last two years. Tim has done an excellent neat cutback of the whole plant. More chance of success here than with the Symplocos.
Lindera communis
Lindera communis
Lindera communis
Lindera communis
By way of comparison this is Cinnamomum camphora. Very similar green knobbly bark on the suckers but the leaf is a bit different. This one is growing in full shelter and full shade.
Cinnamomum camphora
Cinnamomum camphora
Cinnamomum camphora
Cinnamomum camphora
Cinnamomum camphora
Cinnamomum camphora
Cinnamomum camphora
Cinnamomum camphora
Next door is Cinnamomum glanduliferum which is a champion tree. A much larger upright and non-suckering tree. The leaves are a bit scorched and high up to photograph easily but they do look (to me) Litsea-like? However the leaves are indeed glaucous underneath as they should be. Another dullish rarity.
Cinnamomum glanduliferum
Cinnamomum glanduliferum
Cinnamomum glanduliferum
Cinnamomum glanduliferum
Cinnamomum glanduliferum
Cinnamomum glanduliferum
First flower on the white form of Rhododendron nobleanum planted out last spring. Purchased from Millais Nurseries.
Rhododendron nobleanum
Rhododendron nobleanum
Frankie is clearing off the Hovel Cart Road path for opening. Rather quicker than using shovels as the garden team are happy to agree.
Frankie
Frankie
A youngish Rhododendron grande below Hovel Cart Road. Slightly pink in bud but the normal colour when open unlike the one we looked at a day or two ago.
Rhododendron grande
Rhododendron grande
The Trevanion Holly on the drive is probably at least 150 years old. The east wind has caused more leaf drop but the crown looks fit and well. The leaves have no prickles except at the tips. What variety does this make it? Ilex x altaclarensis ‘Balearica’? More investigation needed.
Trevanion Holly
Trevanion Holly
Trevanion Holly
Trevanion Holly
A branch off an evergreen buddleia and a deciduous azalea blown several yards down onto the drive in the gales. I had expected much more of this.
branch
branch
Of course I spoke too soon. A large turkey oak has crashed down on Lower Rookery Path taking out half a yew and some large magnolia branches. The tree looks very rotten in its base and was one on the list for the tree surgeon. However it is not that big a job as it is a long thin trunk with not much of a crown. It could have made far more mess if it had fallen any other way as is often the case in natural disasters like this as opposed to tree surgery and felling.
turkey oak
turkey oak
turkey oak
turkey oak
turkey oak
turkey oak
turkey oak
turkey oak
turkey oak
turkey oak
Brock eats a camellia flower and then everyone joins in the fun with the storm fallen flowers of Camellia x williamsii ‘Gwenneth Morey’. Not much left!
Brock
Brock
Brock
Brock
Vaccinum cylindraceum with reddish tints fronting the darker Phillyrea angustifolia.
Vaccinum cylindraceum
Vaccinum cylindraceum
Another new addition to the Burncoose catalogue is Phyllocladus trichomanoides var. alpina. This very slow growing dwarf plant was a gift from the head gardener at Mount Congreve originally in 2007.
Phyllocladus trichomanoides var. alpina
Phyllocladus trichomanoides var. alpina
Phyllocladus trichomanoides var. alpina
Phyllocladus trichomanoides var. alpina
I was wrong yesterday. Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’ (pink form) is full out above the greenhouse.
Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’
Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’
Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’
Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’

2020 – CHW
Spring flowering heathers looking superb in the nursery today despite even more frequent heavy showers.

Erica erigena ‘Irish Dusk’

Erica erigena ‘Irish Dusk’
Erica erigena ‘Irish Dusk’
Erica erigena ‘Irish Dusk’
Erica erigena ‘Irish Dusk’
Erica x darleyensis ‘White Perfection’
Erica x darleyensis ‘White Perfection’
Erica x darleyensis ‘White Perfection’
Erica x darleyensis ‘White Perfection’
Erica x darleyensis ‘White Perfection’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Phoebe’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Phoebe’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Phoebe’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Phoebe’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Phoebe’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Kramer’s Red’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Kramer’s Red’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Kramer’s Red’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Kramer’s Red’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Kramer’s Red’
Erica carnea ‘Winter Snow’
Erica carnea ‘Winter Snow’
Erica carnea ‘Winter Snow’
Erica carnea ‘Winter Snow’
Erica carnea ‘Winter Snow’
Erica carnea ‘Pink Spangles’
Erica carnea ‘Pink Spangles’
Erica carnea ‘Pink Spangles’
Erica carnea ‘Pink Spangles’
Erica carnea ‘Pink Spangles’
Erica carnea ‘Myretoun Ruby’
Erica carnea ‘Myretoun Ruby’
Erica carnea ‘Myretoun Ruby’
Erica carnea ‘Myretoun Ruby’
Erica carnea ‘Myretoun Ruby’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Eva Gold’ – a new one in our catalogue this year. The golden foliage of autumn has faded.
Erica x darleyensis ‘Eva Gold’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Eva Gold’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Eva Gold’
Erica x darleyensis ‘Eva Gold’
Erica carnea ‘Eva’
Erica carnea ‘Eva’
Erica carnea ‘Eva’
Erica carnea ‘Eva’
Erica carnea ‘Eva’

2019 – CHW
A few bits and pieces starting to make the garden ready for the impending visitor season.Prunus x incam ‘Okame’ is full out below the Tower On The Lawn. The other similar plants in the garden are still a few days behind.
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Camellia ‘Admiral Spry’ is a new variety for us. A bit similar to something else but I cannot think exactly what. It takes time to get the mind up to speed on camellias again after so long.
Camellia ‘Admiral Spry’
Camellia ‘Admiral Spry’
Camellia reticulata ‘Lasca Beauty’ with one flower out and huge buds.
Camellia reticulata ‘Lasca Beauty’
Camellia reticulata ‘Lasca Beauty’
Camellia reticulata ‘Lasca Beauty’
Camellia reticulata ‘Lasca Beauty’
The clump of Rhododendron ririei (Tom Hudson’s collection) is now full out. The Rhododendron barbatums further along the Main Ride are now dropping.
Rhododendron ririei
Rhododendron ririei
Rhododendron ririei
Rhododendron ririei

2018 – CHW
A trip with Karol to put out the first of his new home manufactured plant labels today for record Cornish trees. The design is excellent and, in time, will create a new business for us selling them online.

Cotoneaster franchettii still with all its berries intact despite the pheasants and thrushes. Rare for a show like this to survive the winter months intact.

Cotoneaster franchettii
Cotoneaster franchettii
Camellia ‘Salutation’ out early as usual (Camellia reticulata x Camellia saluenensis). Some frost/wind damage but not much near Georges Hut. A poor plant grows on the castle wall.
Camellia ‘Salutation’
Camellia ‘Salutation’
Camellia ‘Salutation’
Camellia ‘Salutation’
First flowers on the elderly Camellia ‘Grandiflora Alba’. Masses of buds to come on this huge plant. Strangely we do not seem to have website pictures of this but Karol needs to check the database properly. Is there another name?
Camellia ‘Grandiflora Alba’
Camellia ‘Grandiflora Alba’
Camellia ‘Grandiflora Alba’
Camellia ‘Grandiflora Alba’
Karol looking pleased with himself as we label Kalopanax septemlobus. Does not the blue label look great! Gold labels for UK and Ireland trees. Blue labels for Cornish (only) record trees.
Kalopanax septemlobus
Kalopanax septemlobus
Kalopanax septemlobus
Kalopanax septemlobus
Camellia x williamsii ‘Celebration’, the much darker form of Camellia ‘Donation’, which was found and propagated as a sport on a Trewithen plant. I like it more than ‘Donation’ which is a rather insipid pink.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Celebration’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Celebration’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Celebration’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Celebration’

2017 – CHW
First sign of colour on a couple of flowers on the magnolia through the arch which was out first on 3rd January 2016. A few days ago this blog showed the second outer velvety flower coverings still intact. Most still are so the wind last week has produced a few premature ejaculations.
First sign of colour
First sign of colour
First sign of colour
First sign of colour
First sign of colour
First sign of colour
You have to marvel at the Erica arborea in the brief sun today. Castellations of flower spikes and a pleasant scent close up. These are all self sown seedlings at the top of the rubus covered bank. You can readily cut back younger tree heather plants when they are 4-6ft tall. If they get larger and are older the pruning will probably kill about half of them. That is our experience with many old clumps here. Prefers full sun on a hot dry bank with poorish soil.
Erica arborea
Erica arborea
Erica arborea
Erica arborea
Erica arborea
Erica arborea
The dwarfish scented narcissi outside the Dining Room are just going over.
dwarfish scented narcissi
dwarfish scented narcissi
dwarfish scented narcissi
dwarfish scented narcissi
Genista ‘Porlock’, as I have always known it(now Cytisus ‘Porlock’), is is just starting to come out below the Nursery window.
Cytisus ‘Porlock’
Cytisus ‘Porlock’
I have been meaning to photograph Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’ (again below the Nursery) with its odd few, yellow variegated or virused leaves for some weeks. It has been in flower since December and is now going over with many petals on the ground in the east winds today. The plant nearest the first floor window has been severely pruned to let light into the passage and it seems to relish this. As formal a shape as an Italian topiary buxus or ligustrum. Few people still grow this tenderish plant which is a Camellia japonica x Camellia sasanqua cross but it has grown here since 1895 and been cut back many times to reinvigorate it. Between the two plants is a 1895 Magnolia stellata. So probably the oldest living magnolia and one of the oldest living camellias on the place. Well worth a wider audience but now we have the dark red single Camellia x vernalis ‘Yuletide’ available and ready to plant out this year it may have been superceded.
Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’
Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’
Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’
Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’
Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’
Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’
Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’
Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’
Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’
Camellia x vernalis ‘Dawn’
Clematis armandii is just starting into flower outside the School Room. A dense mat of a climber much favoured by nesting birds and especially flycatchers in summer.
Clematis armandii
Clematis armandii

2016 – CHW
Mum’s former birthday. She would have been 83 today. How time flies! It took two years to sort the headstone and the monumental mason said there was ‘a shortage of granite in Cornwall’ – hence the delay! How very Cornish.

Attached is an article in final form about the longevity of rhododendron species from China to celebrate the centenary of the foundation of The Rhododendron Society in 1916 at Lanarth in Cornwall by J C Williams, P D Williams, C C Eley and J G Millais. We are now the RHS Rhododendron, Camellia and Magnolia Group (RCMG) and Rupert Eley (treasurer), David Millais (chairman) and I (committee member) are still attempting to help run the society/group as well as the same nurseries and gardens which our great grandfathers and great uncles inaugurated and ran 100 years ago. Quite a people and continuity story which I rather doubt many clubs or societies, let alone horticultural ones, could equal. A ‘human interest’ story for the media too at Chelsea in May.

Age of Rhododendrons At Caerhays

What a week of self indulgent PR! All bollocks really, as Dad would say, but this is the world of twittering we now all have to live in to drive our businesses and attract new customers to Caerhays Gardens and Burncoose Nurseries. How JCW and my great uncle Charles would have hated this sort of publicity in their very private garden diary which readers can now all see for themselves warts and all.
An interesting and very full day at Burncoose with the nursery and KPK builders meetings. The dozen or so (mainly) Magnolia mollicomata seedlings by the nursery entrance are full out but not that special. About 30 years old and windswept.
Magnolia mollicomata seedlings
Magnolia mollicomata seedlings
However Burncoose garden, on top of a hill as it is, is nowhere near as far on magnolia wise as Caerhays which is sheltered from the westerly gales. So much for wind blowing the flowers open or do they adapt?
The Dutch (bastard) form of Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’ is half out on the lawn but very little in the paddock. Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ is in tight bud on the lawn and in the paddock. Magnolia Charles Raffill is showing but not much.
Magnolia sprengeri Diva ‘Burncoose’
Magnolia sprengeri Diva ‘Burncoose’
Nothing even showing colour in the magnolia avenue above the tennis court or above it and nothing on the ‘Caerhays Belle’ seedling by the pond. For decades the first two magnolias out at Burncoose have nearly always been the pond ‘Caerhays Belle’ seedling and the mollicomata seedling through the hedge above the tennis court. How strange in this record early year but there have been some magnolias out since mid January so record early at Burncoose too (one and a half months).

Magnolia ‘Shirraz’ is out at the top as at Caerhays (two plants) but this is normally an April late flowerer!

Magnolia ‘Shirraz’
Magnolia ‘Shirraz’

The three big michelias (30 year old) at Burncoose are also out as at Caerhays.

three big michelias (30 year old)
three big michelias (30 year old)
Quite a poor and light coloured Magnolia sprengeri Diva ‘Burncoose’ seedling is out below the pond. Of the four big seedlings in the garden two are pure and two poor compared to the original right beside the main house. None of the others or the 1964 planted original have even a hint of colour as one would have assumed even in this abnormal year.
Magnolia sprengeri Diva ‘Burncoose’
Magnolia sprengeri Diva ‘Burncoose’
Vermin everywhere when I walk around the garden to devise a worklist with Robert Toy, the head and only gardener. He has done really well with the last list and it is all looking tidy and well managed even if I have not seen him for three months. Squirrels everywhere, ravens nesting and lots of new and essential rabbit guards in the nursery since my nightly rabbit shoots ended 16 months ago when we moved out of Burncoose.

2015 – CHW

AFROCARPUS falcatus
AFROCARPUS falcatus
AGATHIS australis in Feburary at Caerhays
AGATHIS australis in Feburary

Muddled Afrocarpus falcatus and Agathis australis in my mind and had to go into the garden above main greenhouses to check which is which. They grow side by side. The former is South African and endangered in the wild and the latter Australasian. They are quite different rare conifers in reality.

2002 – FJW
First Magnolia flower – drive hybrid closest to Auk. Garden – wet spell and stormy.

2001 – FJW
Still wet. No Magnolias yet.

1988 – FJW
Mag by steep steps almost out.

1962 – FJW
One flower out on George’s Campbellii.

1928 – JCW
Just as in 1927. Prunus defiscens is open. Mr Laren and G.W. Loder are here.

1927 – JCW
Daffs as in 1922. Sutchuenense x is open and very few buds on any of them. Prunus conradinae ½ open and Prunus salicina is swelling.

1922 – JCW
No daffs except cyclamineus, some Arboreum x Sutchuenense open. Wilsons Prunus mume is the best thing in flower. Several good blood red arboreum about.

1911 – JCW
Very few daffs, snowdrops very good and the aconite, coums also. 7 flowers of Mag clusii open, some of Mag hybrid. Scarlet Rhodo’s show colour, one Barbatum is nice in the wood.

1910 – JCW
Some cyc hybrids, no cyclamineus open, no Campanelli in the drive, very late R praecox very good, also hybrids and coums.

1909 – JCW
Some cyc hybrids and some cyclamineus open, Campanelli in the drive open, well behind 1898.

1906 – JCW
Hard frost, many daffs well on.

1900 – JCW
None of the above open or nearly open.

1898 – JCW
Many (nearly half) the H Irvings out, some Tenby, a good few Caerhays and many Tregony trumpets, nearly all the Cerulus and maximus, minimus nearly over. The first reticulata opens. Minor at its best, 2 or 3 Italian trumpets, several white hoops.

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