2022 – CHW
Overcast but still mild with a hint of drizzle as for several days.
Camellia ‘Contessa Lavinia Maggi’ with its first flower. One of the old original japonicas on the wall by the arch. An Italian bred variety introduced to the UK from Belgium in 1858. Arrived here around 1903.
Last night the RHS announced that Chelsea 2021 is to be moved from late May to late September. Not a great time of the year for delphiniums, lupins, iris, bedding, tulips, herbaceous or woody plants which are mainly spring/summer flowering and the mainstays of the floral marque and, either forced, or held back. Salvia, dahlia, asters and fruit will be “great for a change” they say but it is a bit early for autumn colour. The RHS used to have a Great Autumn Show in Vincent Square in October but, apart from those selling dry spring bulbs, there was never that much to see. Since the RHS never got beyond allocating us a notional space at Chelsea last October with reduced attendances and an extra show day I wonder what the threat or bribe will be now? I cannot see it will be worth our while financially or that we could mount a decent stand of any sort of size in late September. That is production time on the nursery and not show selling time. I do not blame them for trying but I suspect many longstanding exhibitors will take a similar view to ours. Their show tunnels, like ours, will be stocked with May flowering plants. Will the public get a raw deal? I see tickets are transferable but at the original high prices.Separately, the RHS President, Mr Weed, has demanded more ‘diversity’ in show judges. Judging used to be based on knowledge, experience and a collective committee vote by recognised experts in individual plant sectors. More recently a ‘fairer’ (?) and simplistic points system with less judges, many of whom are not experts in certain plant specialities, has been adopted. Now, I suppose, we are to have a ‘woke’ judging system based on diversity, ‘fairness’ (ie bias) and BLM rather than plant knowledge. All judges have to be ‘trained’ and you can guess what in. Roy Lancaster was invited to be trained as a judge when aged nearly 80. He said he had been doing it for 40 years and did not need much plant training so would decline their offer! What are Mr Weed’s gardening credentials and pedigree? Might the RHS be following the National Trust in trying to make a change to their traditions, purpose and approach in response to a minority opinion set against that of their older, loyal members who dislike any ‘change’ on principle? The old guard of lifetime Chelsea exhibitors will have a view but the RHS will not care unless it further hurts their bottom line which it may.
The first ‘wild’ daffodil is out at the Four in Hand.
Plenty of new growth on the evergreen Carpinus kawakamii.
The clump of taller growing snowdrops beside the drive is suddenly full out.Rhododendron siderophyllum, the pinker form, is full out beyond the Rockery. The white forms seem some way off coming out yet.
2018 – CHW
Jaimie finds the old plant of Illicium anisatum full out above Crinodendron Hedge. We have seen young plants in flower before in February but never quite this early I think.
2017 – CHW
Despite a few nights of mild frost the echiums remain untouched and ready to flower in the summer. Several leaves blown off in the recent east winds though. Still cold, wet and windy most of today.
2016 – CHW
Arum italicum (lords and ladies) a good eight inches into growth already. Rivalling the bluebells. It does not seem long since the seed pods were visible here outside the front arch with their prominent orange seeds.
1993 – FJW
Very warm – flower on Michelia – sycamore seed germinating in the Big Quarry. At least 20 Rhodo’s full out and Williamsii Camellias at their best.
1981 – FJW
Davids first appearance on television ( ¼ second).
1975 – FJW
Philip picked Magnolia mollicomata x by steep steps.
1934 – JCW
Camellia speciosa is the best thing we have. There is a C speciosa x japonica 2 ½ years old with 14 buds on it. Moupinense is good, H mollis wanes, it has been very good.
1932 – JCW
Some Barbatum open, moupinense good, parvifolium long over. Arboreum x Thomsonii open. Camellia speciosa has been good for 3 weeks.
1924 – JCW
R barbatum, strigillosum, mucronulatum, moupinense, scabrifolium, parvifolium, lutescens and dahuricum and a few red arb’ms x Thompsonii now in flower. Bobs heath is very nice. Leucojum vernum, C coum, wild snowdrops and Aconites open also Camellia speciosa.
1921 – JCW
Rhodoⁿ species showing colour about 20, E darleyense is the best thing, Crocus open and snowdrops. A few aconites about 3 days ago.
1919 – JCW
Much as in 1911, lutescens is quite nice, not near 1912 in species. Motor plough engine rolled the drive for the first time.
1912 – JCW
R praecox, ciliatum, arboreum, lutescens, dahuricum, argenteum, scarlet hybrid (arbo x Thomsonii), barbatum are all opening, various daffs, Camellia Lady Clare, Clematis armandii, snowdrops and Coums nice.
1911 – JCW
R praecox shows colour, the first trumpet opening in the top garden, snowdrops good, several Thompsonii Arboreum x show big in the bud, one or two show colour, Barbatums coming out, a Soleil d’or or two.
1907 – JCW
Picked the first daffodill ( not open) in the Tin Garden, lately had hard frost, one Camellia open scarcely any of the above but snowdrops and aconite.
1906 – JCW
At least a dozen trumpets out mostly Min and Cyclamineus x. The rest as above except R praecox which is at its best, several seedling Ciliatums open, a mild early season so far. Crocus such as there are well on. C imperati over.
1901 – JCW
R praecox just one flower open. I picked three seedling trumpets breaking bud these are the first. Coum, Snowdrops, Aconites are at their best, Anenome blanda one or two, several Camellias.