15th 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

A survey of the aftermath of the Beast after a week of awful weather. The wind has moved southerly and is just as strong but not so cold.

Magnolia ‘Todds Fortyniner’ has survived better than expected.

Magnolia ‘Todds Fortyniner’
Magnolia ‘Todds Fortyniner’
The Beschorneria have been frosted badly and their new growth blown open to the elements.
Beschorneria
Beschorneria
Beschorneria
Beschorneria
A raging sea and then something I have never seen in the garden before in a gale. I spotted a large white blob at the top of the weeping Styrax and assumed it was simply a bit of plastic. I thought no more until rounding the corner onto the Main Ride.
raging sea
raging sea
There I find more white blobs of what is foam from the raging sea which has blown at least 4-500 yards into the garden where it has fallen on plants. One on a magnolia, one on a camellia and one on an oak tree. The foamy bubbles will eventually pop and disintegrate but, in this one area, there still remains several foam blobs. The power of the gale has been incredible.
foam
foam
foam
foam
foam
foam
Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’ (yellow) has been shattered but still flowers left.
Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’
Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’
Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’
Rhododendron ‘Bo Peep’
Rhododendron leucaspis now full out and, surprisingly, intact and unfrosted.
Rhododendron leucaspis
Rhododendron leucaspis
The big leafed rhodos with their leaves turned over in the gale.
big leafed rhodos
big leafed rhodos
big leafed rhodos
big leafed rhodos
big leafed rhodos
big leafed rhodos
Pseudopanax ferox at 12-14ft. Attractive bark.
Pseudopanax ferox
Pseudopanax ferox
Pseudopanax ferox
Pseudopanax ferox
New growth appearing on a defoliated Embothrium despite the recent cold.
Embothrium
Embothrium
Camellia tsai and Fitzroya cupressoides.
Camellia tsai and Fitzroya cupressoides
Camellia tsai and Fitzroya cupressoides
Alarmingly buds have blown open on Michelia doltsopa but the tree has not partially defoliated as it did in 2018.
Michelia doltsopa
Michelia doltsopa
Michelia doltsopa
Michelia doltsopa
Camellia ‘Cinnamon Scentsation’ now properly out and smelling wonderful despite the wind when you get close to the individual flowers.
Camellia ‘Cinnamon Scentsation’
Camellia ‘Cinnamon Scentsation’
Camellia ‘Cinnamon Scentsation’
Camellia ‘Cinnamon Scentsation’
Camellia ‘Cinnamon Cindy’ is a double flower but equally good today.
Camellia ‘Cinnamon Cindy’
Camellia ‘Cinnamon Cindy’
Camellia ‘Cinnamon Cindy’
Camellia ‘Cinnamon Cindy’
Camellia ‘Fairy Blush’ exceptional too with no ill effects from the Beast.
Camellia ‘Fairy Blush’
Camellia ‘Fairy Blush’
Camellia ‘Fairy Blush’
Camellia ‘Fairy Blush’
Camellia ‘Fairy Blush’
Camellia ‘Fairy Blush’
Camellia ‘Fairy Blush’
Camellia ‘Fairy Blush’

All three are Camellia lutchuensis crosses and should be grown by all camellia lovers.

The four mystery and ancient hollies which have few if any lowdown branches have shed a few twigs in the gales. This has allowed me to photograph the leaves properly. You can clearly see masses of flower bud forming.

mystery and ancient hollies
mystery and ancient hollies
mystery and ancient hollies
mystery and ancient hollies
Here are the twigs photographed for identification purposes. Armed with Mr Galle’s huge book on ‘Hollies – the Genus Ilex’ I try to get closer to a solution. I investigate all the names for these trees which have been used in our records since 1965 or earlier.
twigs
twigs
twigs
twigs
twigs
twigs
twigs
twigs
twigs
twigs
Ilex forrestii (syn. corallina) – this keys out pretty accurately in all respects as regards leaf size, petioles, only one spine etc but the flowers are said to be on second year growth which they clearly are not here. I suppose they might be when the new growth emerges.
Ilex forrestii
Ilex forrestii
Ilex forrestii
Ilex forrestii
Ilex forrestii
Ilex forrestii

Ilex hookeri has (as you would expect) serrated leaves so this is a nonstarter.Ilex cyrtura – the leaf size is not as Galle describes and we already think this is the real name of the semi deciduous clump at Trewithen. Galle says it is an evergreen species but then this is a US book (perhaps we need to revisit our trees in the Rookery which were identified as I. cyrtura).

Ilex corallina – the leaf shape is about right but no mention here of recessed petioles on the upper side of the leaf which our leaves have. Mention of spines on immature leaves which we do not have the chance to verify. Problem too with the reference to flowering only on second year growth.

Ilex dipyrena – these twigs could not possibly be from I. dipyrena which has a leaf form rather closer to Ilex bioritsensis with five spines (the Owen Johnson identification of two of the four veterans as this is totally wrong).

Ilex insignis, another name used for these trees in 1965, does not register at all in Galle’s book! That does not mean it does not exist I suppose but Galle maintains that this is simply a synonym for Ilex kingiana which we are pretty clear we have identified properly already.

After my hurried and rather inerudite examination I have to conclude that we are probably looking at I. forrestii (syn. corallina). These plants were Forrest introductions after all and I would rate Philip Tregunna’s original identification before those of more recent, and very differing, identifications from various subsequent experts.

I thought I had better finish off the last part of the holly puzzle.

The contention has been that the two veteran trees below Rogers Quarry are the same as two of the three by the Podocarpus salignus clump.

There are no lower branches or even branches you could reach even with long handled pruners so I am forced to rely on windblown twigs as shown here. The leaves are inevitably smaller from 60ft+ up the tree than those from the plants we looked at earlier.

However I am reasonably confident that they are the same and therefore also Ilex forrestii (syn. I. corallina). The petioles on the leaf surface look the same as do the flower buds and shape of the leaf.

Ilex forrestii
Ilex forrestii
Ilex forrestii
Ilex forrestii
Ilex forrestii
Ilex forrestii

To settle matters further I went to the Rookery where former tree recorders say there are three elderly trees which have, again, been given different names over the years including Ilex forrestii and I. cyrtura.There is only one veteran still alive here and one self-sown younger version. I have pictured fallen twigs from both trees. The twig from the veteran is from the crown and has huge leaves while the twig from the younger tree is from near ground level with smaller leaves with some immature leaf serrations or small spines on the leaf edges as is normal.

veteran
veteran
self-sown younger version
self-sown younger version
self-sown younger version
self-sown younger version
veteran
veteran
To my mind there is no doubt that both those trees are Ilex kingiana. Old records may have recorded other species but this is all that remains there now!

2020 – CHW
It rains for 24 hours as Storm Dennis does its worst. Severe flooding to come in the water meadows tomorrow but I manage a few pictures before the heavy rain arrives.

The yellow flowered Magnolia campbellii is now full out and undamaged by Storm Ciara. We have stupidly forgotten to take scions of this for grafting in the batches taken recently but we can still rectify this.

yellow flowered Magnolia campbellii
yellow flowered Magnolia campbellii
yellow flowered Magnolia campbellii
yellow flowered Magnolia campbellii
yellow flowered Magnolia campbellii
yellow flowered Magnolia campbellii
yellow flowered Magnolia campbellii
yellow flowered Magnolia campbellii
The record Magnolia campbellii is now full out and ‘Spring has Sprung’ at Caerhays in time for our opening to the public on Monday.
record Magnolia campbellii
record Magnolia campbellii
record Magnolia campbellii
record Magnolia campbellii
First colour showing on Magnolia ‘Philip Tregunna’ – blown out unfortunately.
Magnolia ‘Philip Tregunna’
Magnolia ‘Philip Tregunna’
Flowers blown open high up on one of the Michelia doltsopa.
Michelia doltsopa
Michelia doltsopa
Michelia doltsopa
Michelia doltsopa
First forsythia flowers out. We had some secondary flowering on this plant in the autumn as we saw then.
forsythia
forsythia

2019 – CHW
Off to David Knuckey’s funeral at Camborne crematorium. David was a founding partner of Burncoose Nurseries in 1984 together with his son Philip and my brother and I. David just made it to Dad’s funeral on 19th January but died a week later. Very sad! One of the greatest and most successful exhibitors at RHS and other shows. His show stands were admired by hundreds of thousands of people over at least four decades.This is Karol’s new ‘video blog’ kit which we refer to as ‘vlog’! You will see these weekly on the Caerhays site and perhaps in this blog too if that is technically possible?
new ‘video blog’ kit
new ‘video blog’ kit
The original 1913 Magnolia campbellii this time with some sun on its front.
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Magnolia campbellii
Had a visit from ITV crew yesterday about a ‘Spring has sprung’ feature as part of the Cornwall Spring Story, see the report and news clip here.

2018 – CHW
The garden rushes out and hence the need to record today exactly what is out for the ongoing historic garden diary.

The new plant sales area is very nearly complete.

new plant sales area
new plant sales area
Lindera angustifolia still has a few of last year’s leaves in place at the end of its twigs above the Auklandii Garden. Not very recognisable as a Lindera?
Lindera angustifolia
Lindera angustifolia
Candelabra primulas coming out of the ground nearby. Mainly yellow forms.
Candelabra primulas
Candelabra primulas
Lindera tonkinensis appears evergreen. Planted only in 2016 as a new lindera species to us.
Lindera tonkinensis
Lindera tonkinensis
Lindera tonkinensis
Lindera tonkinensis
Magnolia sargentiana ‘Blood Moon’ (2016 planted also) has one bud at the apex of the young tree.
Magnolia sargentiana ‘Blood Moon’
Magnolia sargentiana ‘Blood Moon’
Oemleria cerasiformis nearly out in flower.
Oemleria cerasiformis
Oemleria cerasiformis
Likewise Rhododendron ‘Ostara’.
Rhododendron ‘Ostara’
Rhododendron ‘Ostara’
First two flowers on Camellia x williamsii ‘Brigadoon’.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Brigadoon’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Brigadoon’
I suspect this is not nearly pink enough to be labelled as Pieris ‘Valley Valentine’ (which it is) but quite nice today.
Pieris ‘Valley Valentine’
Pieris ‘Valley Valentine’
Pieris ‘Valley Valentine’
Pieris ‘Valley Valentine’
First flower out on a 2015 planted Michelia ‘Fairy White’. Plenty of bud to come on such an immature plant. Excellent value as a nursery purchase.
Michelia ‘Fairy White’
Michelia ‘Fairy White’
Michelia ‘Fairy Cream’ nearby is still in tight bud with rather less buds formed.
Michelia ‘Fairy Cream’
Michelia ‘Fairy Cream’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Jovey Carlyon’ may get flattened later this week as the half split huge abies tree above it gets felled for safety reasons.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Jovey Carlyon’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Jovey Carlyon’
Camellia grijsii is now full out and rather fine. Too windy for much scent today.
Camellia grijsii
Camellia grijsii
Camellia grijsii
Camellia grijsii
Camellia grijsii
Camellia grijsii
Camellia grijsii
Camellia grijsii
Camellia x williamsii ‘Caerhays’ full out on Burns Bank. The bush is at least 15ft tall with a similar spread.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Caerhays’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Caerhays’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Caerhays’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Caerhays’
Camellia ‘Bobs Tinsie’ by the Playhouse has its flowers mainly intact but blown onto the ground. A pity but a good early show none the less.
Camellia ‘Bobs Tinsie’
Camellia ‘Bobs Tinsie’
Camellia ‘Bobs Tinsie’
Camellia ‘Bobs Tinsie’
Camellia ‘Bobs Tinsie’
Camellia ‘Bobs Tinsie’
The seven dogs have enjoyed the walk and none have buggered off to the beach for spring sexual encounters. Hence I am not in the shit with Mrs W.

2017 – CHW
The huge Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’ beyond the greenhouse is out early. BBC Spotlight get our press release about the naming of Rhododendron ‘Red Centurion’ and, typically, ring up wanting to do a piece on early rhododendrons. Red Centurion flowers in May!
Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’
Rhododendron ‘Cornish Red’
Next to it the Rhododendron grande clump is just coming out. Pinkish as the bud opens then fading creamy white. Not a good flowering year for this species with relatively few flowers.
Rhododendron grande
Rhododendron grande
Rhododendron grande
Rhododendron grande
Rhododendron aureum is out in the greenhouse. This species is much mentioned in JCW’s garden diary notes but is not one I have ever seen before here. Short lived I guess and appears a dwarf for the Rockery soon.
Rhododendron aureum
Rhododendron aureum
Also in flower inside is Eurya japonica ‘Moutiers’. Compact growing and almost a hedging plant for a flower border. Looks nothing at all like our old tree Eurya japonica in the Rookery. Tiny flowers in profusion. New to the Burncoose catalogue this year. The foliage has a slightly silvery hue on the underside of the leaves
Eurya japonica ‘Moutiers’
Eurya japonica ‘Moutiers’
Eurya japonica ‘Moutiers’
Eurya japonica ‘Moutiers’
Sorbus hedlundii still has three huge yellow berries on it. A new species to us to plant out. Nice foliage too Asia says but I have not yet had the pleasure.
Sorbus hedlundii
Sorbus hedlundii
Magnolia ‘Todds Fortyniner’ is out in colour as I said a few days ago. Very good value in terms of flower numbers on a small plant.
Magnolia ‘Todds Fortyniner’
Magnolia ‘Todds Fortyniner’
Magnolia ‘Todds Fortyniner’
Magnolia ‘Todds Fortyniner’

The greenhouses are stacked high with new young plants and seedlings. We need to send a lot to Burncoose to make more space for potting on this spring. All excellent work by Asia.Magnolia grandiflora ‘Symons Select’ still has a good bud to come and three flowers currently out. Amazing!

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Symons Select’
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Symons Select’
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Symons Select’
Magnolia grandiflora ‘Symons Select’
This huge Camellia japonica, perhaps our largest japonica since it has never been pruned like the ones on the back yard walls, has hung above and over the top wall since I was a child. Always out early, but not quite as yearly as Camellia noblissima by the front door, it stands proud and full out today. JCW called it Camellia japonica ‘Sodekakushi’ although he often spelt it slightly wrong in the diary. Today the accepted name is Camellia ‘Gauntettii’. This plant must be well over 100 years old and may well date from the 1890s or even earlier. JCW would have been readily able to see it writing his diary from his desk as can I. Hillier’s says it has a ‘weak constitution’. However you would be pushed to find a larger hardier plant in the teeth of the wind here.
Camellia japonica ‘Sodekakushi’
Camellia japonica ‘Sodekakushi’
Camellia japonica ‘Sodekakushi’
Camellia japonica ‘Sodekakushi’
The Cyclamen coum have seeded themselves and expanded all over the bank by the front door in different colours. Fifty years ago they were only to be seen under the ilex trees above the middle path and never as now. Mixed with the snowdrops here too which were transplanted from The Vean 10 years ago before building work started
Cyclamen coum
Cyclamen coum
Cyclamen coum
Cyclamen coum

2016 – CHW
Barbara Oozeerally and her husband have just left after a weekend of viewing magnolias to paint for her second major pictorial book on the subject. Absurdly early but we did manage to find her some new subjects:F J Williams, Bishop Michael, campbellii ‘Werrington’, Bishop Peter, Suzannah van Veen, New Zealand form ‘Lanarth’, Hawk, Shirraz, True ‘Lanarth’, campbellii ‘Sidbury’, campbellii ‘Lamellyn  Pink’, Red Lion, Delia Williams.She gave us the most beautiful original picture of Magnolia sprengeri ‘Burncoose’ which is quite outstanding and will go in pride of place when framed.

All the above have been photographed already and are in this diary over the last few days.

Caerhays Hybrids by Michelle Bennett-Oates
Caerhays Hybrids by Michelle Bennett-Oates

Barbara will need to come back again once or twice more this season if we are to move forward. She is the most accurate painter of magnolias of the three or four artists commissioned by us (with very different styles) over the last 30 years to paint Caerhays plants. Helen Hilliard, Michelle Bennett-Oates and one other.


2001 – FJW
Back yard Magnolia shows colour.2000 – FJW
Giddle Magnolia has several flowers.1972 – FJW
George Stoddart came to stay at the Barton.1964 – FJW
Mild and dry to date – not so advanced in flower as 1948.
All the Hamamelis species have flowered together.

1948 – CW
Rhodo’s praecox, barbatum, argenteum, moupinense, sutchuenense and its hybrids, some thomsonii x arboreum. About six Cam reticulata species opening. Also the Japonica hybrids very good. Unspoiled as a long mild spell. A few early wild daffodil. None in Tin Garden. Prunus pissardi and conradinae. Snowdrops, aconites and cyclamen for weeks, a few lapageria. Colour on Mag sargetiana and robusta, no others.

1933 – JCW
Rhodo’s open are Caucasicum, Praecox, Mucronulatum, Moupinense, Triflorum, Thomsonii x , Barbatum, Lutescens, Sutchuenense near sinogrande, Prunus conradinae – pissardi – p yunanense – p triflora. Snowdrops very good, no magnolias yet.

1901 – JCW
Cold has been on for sometime, a hard frost last night, nothing much moved since February 9th.

1899 – JCW
Rhodo praecox shows colour, snowdrops going back.

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