14th 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

Another really foul cold day where going into the garden is not a pleasure especially when the cold rain started.

The wind has covered our new plants for planting out with leaves and debris. Asia has attempted to put proper scratch labels on each plant before we get cracking, hopefully next week, as the Beast finally moves on. The wind is now southerly and just as strong and still bitingly cold.

plants for planting out
plants for planting out
Some Burncoose plants at the cash point for the public but everything has been blown about as you can see.
plants at the cash point
plants at the cash point
plants at the cash point
plants at the cash point
The shop will be closed but a rather attractive window display has been put together by Gillian.
window display
window display
No leaflets of course any more for the Great Gardens of Cornwall (at least until lockdown ends) so now it is a QR code for their main website and location map.
Great Gardens of Cornwall
Great Gardens of Cornwall
The signage is all up.
signage
signage
Flower buds blown off Rhododendron sutchuenense before they could open.
Rhododendron sutchuenense
Rhododendron sutchuenense
A yew tree growing from a fallen tree fern trunk which I found by accident.
yew tree
yew tree
Big leaf rhododendrons hate the cold and droop their leaves in protest when the weather is as it has been.
Big leaf rhododendrons
Big leaf rhododendrons
Some have also been shredded in the east wind which is why they must be planted in semi shade and shelter.
shredded in the east wind
shredded in the east wind
Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’ (now apparently renamed as Quercus x crenata ‘Lucombeana’) has shed many of its leaves but by no means all. Its pale grey bark and fissured trunk is developing nicely. A gift from the staff and Cornwall County Council members when Dad retired as chairman. I think I helped them get it and checked that we didn’t already grow it.
Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’
Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’
Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’
Quercus x hispanica ‘Lucombeana’
I took this on Friday as Tim cut the lawn in what was then another arctic day. I doubt many people in the UK would have been lawn mowing in the Beast but everything has to be right for opening!
Fatsia polycarpa now full out. This really is a very good ornamental plant and, flowering now, rather more exciting than Fatsia japonica.
Fatsia polycarpa
Fatsia polycarpa
Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ resilient in the background of a Michelia which still has its leaves intact despite the wind.
Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’
Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’
The clump of dead Chusquea gigantea has been dug out leaving a nice bit of shady space for planting next week.
shady space
shady space
The windblown laurel leaves on the Main Ride are now a carpet.
laurel leaves
laurel leaves
laurel leaves
laurel leaves
A windblown twig from the Trevanion Holly on the drive for identification. I had earlier thought it might be Ilex altaclarensis ‘Balearica’ but it is also pretty close to Ilex aquifolium ‘Pyramidalis’. We might get closer if we had immature leaves perhaps with more spines than here. The only spine on these leaves is at the tip. Both these options fit as both are erect growing conical trees and both are self-fertile as is the Trevanion Holly. I am not competent to judge so this is another one for Susyn Andrews post lockdown.
Trevanion Holly
Trevanion Holly
Up the drive a little further I planted a Williams Holly some 30 years ago to also grow into a mature tree. It had to be a variegated holly to annoy Dad who detested all plants with variegated leaves. Of course I cannot remember the name but it may be Ilex aquifolium ‘Pyramidalis Aureomarginata’. The single stemmed tree is already at least 30ft tall and has also quite a bit of Phytophthora leaf drop on its lowest branches. Here is a leaf blown twig by way of comparison. If I am right it is self-fertile. However I cannot say I have noticed any berries but may not have looked properly at the right time of the year.
Williams Holly
Williams Holly

2020 – CHW
First colour on one solitary flower on the tiny (still) 1955 planted Magnolia ‘Lanarth’ opposite the Georgian Hall.
Magnolia ‘Lanarth'
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’
Magnolia ‘Lanarth'
Magnolia ‘Lanarth’
A young Magnolia ‘FJ Williams’ flowers for the first time above Crinodendron Hedge. Sadly the flowers have been blown open prematurely. The original plant in the Auklandii Garden is still in tight bud. Still the colour is good for a first flowering even if the flowers are small.
Magnolia ‘FJ Williams’
Magnolia ‘FJ Williams’
Magnolia ‘FJ Williams’
Magnolia ‘FJ Williams’
The Magnolia campbellii seedling nearby which was out before Storm Ciara has escaped more or less intact and Karol and I do a video blog (vlog apparently in the parlance) of the tree to encourage visitors to come to see magnolias next Monday when we open.
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Jaimie has found another (different) Lapageria in flower behind one of the Camellia sasanquas against the castle wall. This is not a ‘picotee’ form (as we saw in October) but a ‘spotted’ one and rather special when you look into the flower. I cannot remember the name of it but it was a present from David Knuckey’s friend in Kent who was a retired doctor and a serious Lapageria breeder. We have had four different forms of Lapageria rosea in flower here since September this year.
Lapageria
Lapageria
Lapageria
Lapageria

2019 – CHW
A trip to Penvergate to see what is out here. Nothing much yet in the centre of Forty Acres in the American magnolia collection.Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’ is absolutely full out and, unlike last year or for several years before, totally undamaged. See how the colour lightens after first opening a darker pink.
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Sidbury’
I have always been rather rude about Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’ for various reasons not all of which are quite fair or related to the plant itself. Here it is not too bad when, for once, not damaged by salt winds. It is a 1985 Tina Durio cross named after Sir Peter Smithers. Judging by the parentage listed (soulangeana x veitchii) I cannot really see how this plant is in fact correctly labelled. However it came originally from Sir Peter’s nursery (Eisenhut). Could it be that this is a pot and kettle labelling situation Sir Peter?
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’
Magnolia ‘Peter Smithers’
The first magnolia to show from afar above the castle.
from afar
from afar
Outside the back yard these two are nearly fully out.
Outside the back yard
Outside the back yard
Outside the back yard
Outside the back yard
Had the ITV film crew here today about a ‘Spring has sprung’ feature for the Cornwall Spring Story, see the report and news clip here.

2018 – CHW
More labelling. It takes two hours for Karol and I to place out 50 to 60 record tree labels.A good young plant of Quercus uvarifolius is getting away. This was grown from a cutting. An extraordinarily rare plant.
Quercus uvarifolius
Quercus uvarifolius
Quercus uvarifolius
Quercus uvarifolius
First flowers high up on Rhododendron moulmainense (we still call it Rhododendron stenaulum). Rather earlier than usual I believe.
Rhododendron moulmainense
Rhododendron moulmainense
Likewise on the semi-deciduous Rhododendron ‘Chink’.
Rhododendron ‘Chink’
Rhododendron ‘Chink’
Rhododendron ‘Chink’
Rhododendron ‘Chink’
This camellia was collected from seed in Hong Kong by Toots Williams in the 1960s. Tender, clearly, and probably a form of Camellia sinensis, the tea tree, I assume? Rather delicate. We must propagate this even if it is a conservatory plant really.
Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis
Camellia sinensis
Berries still on Ilex dipyrena which is today labelled a Cornish record tree. I have never seen it set seed before myself but it is easy from cuttings. The seed improve an otherwise rather dull, rare and prickly species.
Ilex dipyrena
Ilex dipyrena
Ilex dipyrena
Ilex dipyrena
Ilex dipyrena
Ilex dipyrena
I photographed this spectacular but rather odd rhododendron hybrid in flower last year. Quite a clump of them and we need to do some layering here. No idea of its name but large trusses with red edging to each bell. Can anyone enlighten me please? Well worth a name and propagating as it flowers so early. On the path towards Rookery Gate. [Edit: please see Anthony Synott’s comment below – it is irrorata anthosphaerum!]
rhododendron hybrid
rhododendron hybrid
rhododendron hybrid
rhododendron hybrid
rhododendron hybrid
rhododendron hybrid
A good plant of Rhododendron rireii in full bloom in The Rookery. FJW planted this area in the early 1970s and a more ancient plant of this species survived here until quite recently. Quad bikes and pheasant feeding upset its root system near the path.
Rhododendron rireii
Rhododendron rireii
Jaimie’s Rhododendron ‘Maisie’ is out rather early above the Magnolia x veitchii and sadly a bit frosted. I forget the parentage but it is all registered properly. Named after Jaimie’s dog (or was it a dog?!)? No it was in fact his grandmother so a naughty remark. Its parentage is Rhododendron moupinense x Rhododendron chrysodoron.
Rhododendron ‘Maisie’
Rhododendron ‘Maisie’
First colour showing on Magnolia zenii although the light is fading now above the greenhouse. About as early as last year and very like Magnolia amoena but rather earlier into flower. Endangered in the wild I believe.
Magnolia zenii
Magnolia zenii

2017 – CHW
A batch of newly bought in Helleborus orientalis ‘Annas Red’ and new to the Burncoose catalogue too. Superb 2L plants from Javado in Holland. Quite the best Lenten lily I have yet seen although who Anna is or was I have no idea.
Helleborus orientalis ‘Annas Red’
Helleborus orientalis ‘Annas Red’
Helleborus orientalis ‘Annas Red’
Helleborus orientalis ‘Annas Red’
Helleborus orientalis ‘Annas Red’
Helleborus orientalis ‘Annas Red’
Helleborus orientalis ‘Annas Red’
Helleborus orientalis ‘Annas Red’

A nice showing of dwarf blue iris in pots too.

dwarf blue iris
dwarf blue iris

Despite the continuing cold the pace of spring’s arrival is massively speeding up at Caerhays. New things to see now every day which cheers everyone up a bit. Not a cascade as yet!Two 2003 (and one earlier) plants of Prunus x incam ‘Okame’ (‘Okame’ to us!), a Collingwood Ingram cherry hybrid, are just out by the tower. Hillier’s says it flowers in March. Each year these trees become more noticeable as they become yet more floriferous. Why is this not more widely grown and available from nurseries and garden centres?

Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
Prunus x incam ‘Okame’
The first clump of our huge new autumn planted daffodil clumps (10 to 12) is just about out below the tower as well. I have not caught up with the names again yet but this one is rather plain to put it mildly.
first clump of our huge new autumn planted daffodil clumps
first clump of our huge new autumn planted daffodil clumps
A rhododendron which is very probably Rhododendron brevinerve (Alan Clarke 4296 collection number) is nicely out and new to me. Planted in 2008 it definitely looks to be in the irrorata subsection rhododendron in terms of leaf shape and flowering time. Reminds me of Rhododendron ‘Endsleigh Pink’ in colour but the trusses are different in form and size.
Rhododendron brevinerve
Rhododendron brevinerve
Rhododendron brevinerve
Rhododendron brevinerve
Rhododendron brevinerve
Rhododendron brevinerve
Rhododendron siderophyllum is also just coming out near brevinerve. This plant has near white flowers with a flash of pink in the trumpet when full out. Some others are rather more pink. I had thought this to be a small growing (and relatively new species) but this plant is beginning to prove me wrong. Also a 2008 planting and there are a few other clumps in the garden which we raised from seed 15 plus years ago. Not a huge eye catcher for the public but a reliable flowerer over a long period.
Rhododendron siderophyllum
Rhododendron siderophyllum
Rhododendron siderophyllum
Rhododendron siderophyllum
Rhododendron siderophyllum
Rhododendron siderophyllum

Huge excitement today as the ‘Salvage Hunters’ (Drew and Tee) come to film at Caerhays and buy ‘junk’. We sell them eight 1960s toy cars for £920, a couple of outdoor steel chairs for £300, a gypsy table for £180 and two other arm chairs for £750. Even five seaside children’s tin buckets for £30! This all takes forever with many retakes in confined spaces in tiny rooms. Lizzie and Sian a bit tongue tied at the initial interviews but otherwise all fine. The filming team were six plus the two presenters. Drew’s antique/refurbishment business is based in Conway, North Wales. He certainly seems to know what he can sell but I think it may be him rather than us who was stitched up with the toy cars. He offers £4-5k for the two heavy white metal seats which came originally from The Rising Sun in St Mawes, and are now outside the front door, but we decline.The film crew arrived at 8.00am and left at 5.50pm with their ‘toys’ and the odd glass of wine. A profitably day which makes me think. What they bought was on Drew’s retail website before they left apart from the four chairs which will need work on before they are saleable.

Salvage Hunters camera crew
Salvage Hunters camera crew
Salvage Hunters camera crew
Salvage Hunters camera crew
Salvage Hunters camera crew
Salvage Hunters camera crew

2016 – CHW
More magnolias out on the drive though the Camellia x williamsii clump is already nearly over. I saw garlic in flower yesterday in Ponsanooth and Azalea ledifolia Alba (Azalea ledifolium now apparently) is showing colour.

Magnolia denudata ‘Forrest Pink’ has a few flowers out and so does Magnolia ‘Pickards Ruby’ which is especially dark this year.
Magnolia denudata ‘Forrest Pink’
Magnolia denudata ‘Forrest Pink’
Magnolia ‘Pickards Ruby’
Magnolia ‘Pickards Ruby’
Rhododendron ‘Bo-Peep’ (pink form) is full out unlike the original up in the garden.
Rhododendron ‘Bo-Peep’ (pink form)
Rhododendron ‘Bo-Peep’ (pink form)
Rhododendron ‘Bo-Peep’ (pink form)
Rhododendron ‘Bo-Peep’ (pink form)
Rhododendron ‘Bo-Peep’ (pink form)
Rhododendron ‘Bo-Peep’ (pink form)
A poor sister seedling to Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’ is out on the track down to White Styles entrance. The worst of the four seedlings here but quite nice in its own way and much earlier than the others.
poor sister seedling to Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’
poor sister seedling to Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’

After rain all day Friday and Saturday the water meadows are properly flooded for the first time this year despite the very wet winter. The river Luney and the lake have merged into one.Magnolia ‘Red Lion’ from New Zealand is now full out on Bond Street; certainly it looks better today than Magnolia ‘Star Wars’, its sister seedling.

the water meadows
the water meadows
the water meadows
the water meadows
Magnolia ‘Red Lion’
Magnolia ‘Red Lion’
So is the second Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ lookalike below the Four in Hand. Although from the same seed pod as the original and quite nice it is nothing like the original despite the translucent pink hue.
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ lookalike
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ lookalike
Magnolia ‘Delia Williams’ on the lawn here has three flowers out which seem darker than usual.

2015 – CHW
Magnolia zenii starting to come out above greenhouse. Another endangered in the wild species. Not all flowers seem to come out at once. Very similar to Magnolia amoena and just as dull!

MAGNOLIA zenii in 2015
MAGNOLIA zenii in Feburary just starting to flower.

Magnolia ‘Tina Durio’ and Magnolia ‘Todds Forty Niner’ showing a hint of colour nearby but caused by wind blow I suspect.

MAGNOLIA 'Todds Forty Niner' in flower at Caerhays 2015
MAGNOLIA ‘Todds Forty Niner’

2001 – FJW
Giddle Orchard Magnolia shows colour.1959 – FJW
Two flower buds on Rho’ giganteum opening. Sutch hybrids good and Red Admiral on its way. Cyclamineus at front door showing colour.

1932 – JCW
Hard frost for three days no Rhodo’s left. Some daffs are opening.

1926 – JCW
Some daffs open, Cyclamineus for some days, 34 species of Rhodo of which the best are Sutchuenense and hybrids of the same. Strigillosum – Hookeri – Racemosum – Ririei – Barbatum – Irroratum – Lutescens – Scabrifolium – Argenteum – Thomsonii – Nobleanum hybrids. E darleyensis fine and so R praecox. Camellia speciosa is very nice.

1924 – JCW
We are far in front of 1897, I believe our earliest year. Cyclamineus has been open for a week, Camellia reticulata for several days, dismal small flowers from the lack of sun, Blood Red arboreums for over a week.

1919
The frost left and things like R scabrifolium began to come out, Prunus conradinae is open, one plant only. Nobleanums opening again but it has been quite a hard spell.

1918 – JCW
Barbatums very good. Oleifolium – Lutescens – Sutchuenense – Ciliatum – Thompsonii hybrids – Ririei and Nobleanum all oopening. Italian cherry and Wilson’s in bloom, also R hookeri.

1911 – JCW
Wilsons first batch of Conifer seed etc came.

1910 – JCW
No named daffs but citrinus open. Barbatum – Dahuricum – Lutescens – Blood Red Arbo’ and Argenteum all opening. Also Nobleanum, R praecox v good, hybrid Arboreum and Thom x Arboreum.

1903 – JCW
Picked and sent Pen a Campanelli. Fulgens good, Primula megasoefolia holding on and have done since October. Several Tenby open and a number of bad seedling Rho’.

1899 – JCW
Found Jacko up.

1898 – JCW
White hoops citrinus mostly out not all, nearly all the Maximus, Madam Plemp just through the ground, many of Engelhart’s things have failed to show yet.

1897 – JCW
One Golden Spur open, Cyclamineus out, Blood Arboreum opens, C reticulata shows colour, Minimus over, Lent Lilies out many, one double Telamonius, white hoops all out, and odd seedlings.

2 thoughts on “14th February

  1. The pink rhododendron looks a lot like irrorata anthosphaerum. Flowering time is probably about right in cornwall.

    1. Dear Mr Synott

      Thank you for your comment and apologies for the late reply.

      I have looked it up and you are spot on! Thank you so much – I will amend the diary accordingly.

      Best wishes

      Charles Williams

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