A visit to The Garlic Farm and Colin Boswell to view their traditional wild flower meadow beside the shop and restaurant. A real tourist trap. The meadow was just going over its maximum flowering but still impressive. It is replanted each autumn after two doses of rather unorganic round up which is of cause not talked about. These plants would all have grown in island cornfields 80 to 100 years ago.
This flower is a ‘corn rattle’ which is hardly ever seen today. Caws called it a ‘corncrake’ which upset Boswell.
Poppies galore with cornflowers.
Allium ameloprasum, elephant garlic, was one of several small plots of garlic species growing amid the wild flowers.
Then on to Tipsy Wight, a small farm business employing four people making vodka based liqueurs flavoured with natural handpicked fruits growing in the fields and hedgerows on the farm. Summer fruits, beech leaves, quince, rosehips, bullace, sloes etc. About 20 flavours at 24% proof and hand bottled into bottles with misshapen bottoms as you can see. Stocked by English Heritage in its shops and available by mail order. The solution for me to the annual Christmas present problem. We sampled the quince and it tasted far nicer than I dared expect from this foul smelling fruit. They want to grow Ugni molinae for its red fruits which taste like strawberries. Perhaps a sale for Burncoose here but they will need a couple of hundred plants to produce a viable crop.
A nice market but expensive bottles and packaging. The vodka is bought in neat. The whole business in three rooms of former stables.
The wonderful view from the Lovegrove’s Hill Farm near Bembridge facing south. Ash disease is taking hold all over the farm.
2018 – CHW
The garden here in Seaview is pretty bare and unloved.
The Phygelius x rectus ‘Devils Tears’ is in full flower and the best thing here at present. About 5ft tall and very much in its prime despite the cold in March which you might have thought would have cut it back to ground level. The inside of each of the tubular flowers is flashed with yellow which you only see if you turn an individual inverted flower to face you.
The Rhododendron ‘Harrow Hybrids’ on the drive are just coming out and what a sight these huge clumps are. Clearly Rhododendron auriculatum in the parentage to get such late flowering and the leaf clearly shows this too. I wonder how these three separate huge clumps came to be in the garden (actually there are four) and from what era, breeder or nursery? At least we have successfully layered this clump to ensure its survival although the layers are now too big to transplant. Just an extension of the clump in reality.
A party given by my brother for Savills staff at Burncoose to ‘launch’ the house on an overcast evening. You are seeing the ‘well behaved’ bit although I was dragged away at 7pm. Not since the last village fete or major staff party has there been so much ‘action’ around the house.
Ventnor Botanic Gardens moved from public to community trust ownership two years ago. Last year you could see the standards of care had risen but not so sure this time. Plenty of bindweed, still pathetically few name labels for a botanic garden and just how many Echium fastuosum can you stick? Soon time to restart whole areas but I guess they are struggling for cash although entry price is now £7.50 (ticket readmits free for a week which is an idea holidaymakers would like). Although my visit is exactly the same time as last year much is over. The Echiums are absolutely over as are the Cistus, Puya and most of the Callistemon. Many of the Lampranthus colours, there were six or eight, have died out or gone.
Three outstanding things did however catch the camera: Fucraea longaeva by the café were 15 feet or more tall in flower. Very different in flower to the Beschorneria yuccoides which flowers at Burncoose by the packing shed. These promptly die after flowering and two were already going in the succulent section. What an unusual sight and, of course, no label for the public on any of them.
Sisyrinchium striatum in profusion on a very dry bank under a pine tree. Better than a stand of foxgloves today and the second best spectacle in the garden. Burncoose stocks it and the variegated form called ‘Aunt May’.
Magnolia grandiflora out and delavayi the last few weeks. Styrax japonica best thing in the place. Then the young leaves of the Rho Sir Charles Lemon. Several good Auriculatum hybrids. Didymum Rho good, also one Prophantum. Wet the last 3 weeks after a long dry spell.
1927 – JCW
Only a few Giganteum but they are good. Late rhodo’s remain. Late Plagianthus are hardly open. Griersonianum nice yet and so Eriogynum. There has been a lot of rain on and off for two weeks. American Pillar X X X.
1907 – JCW
Lilium giganteum just opening.