23rd July

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

It took 3 ¼ hours and the slow route (due to A30 jams) to get to John Marston’s amazing garden at Upper Gorwell House on the edge of Barnstaple. A trip through Launceston, Hatherley, Bideford etc along the way with multiple tractors and caravans. We saw so much in our three hour visit that it is hard to know where to begin to champion this ‘garden of the year’ to Jaimie and I. John has been posting regular lockdown videos of ‘things’ flowering in his garden so we felt that we knew some of it and had a list of new things to see – which we did!

John started the garden in a field in 1979 and, today, it is a standalone fully sheltered and enclosed arboretum containing thousands of rare trees and shrubs many of which John collected himself in China, Mexico and Chile. I have never seen so much achieved in a lifetime’s work with rare trees and shrubs clustered together in semi maturity in their own little microclimates. A must visit garden which is open on Sundays with plenty to see in flower in any month of the year. John’s generosity with cutting material was much appreciated as coveting new things that one has not got is part of all gardeners’ psyche.

I cannot wait for my next visit!

Out of 220 photographs the following were exceptional today:

Hypericum forrestii

Hypericum forrestii
Hypericum forrestii
Mahonia haematocarpa
Mahonia haematocarpa
Mahonia haematocarpa
Seed on Vallea stipularis.
Vallea stipularis
Vallea stipularis
Maakia hupehensis (chinensis)
Maakia hupehensis (chinensis)
Maakia hupehensis (chinensis)
Carpinus fangiana with its enormous trailing ‘tassels’.
Carpinus fangiana
Carpinus fangiana
Carpinus fangiana
Carpinus fangiana
Zelkova serrata ‘Kiwi Sunset’ which goes on to produce wonderful autumn colour.
Zelkova serrata ‘Kiwi Sunset’
Zelkova serrata ‘Kiwi Sunset’
Zelkova serrata ‘Kiwi Sunset’
Zelkova serrata ‘Kiwi Sunset’
Corylus colurna which I turfed out here some years ago as boring. I was quite wrong!
Corylus colurna
Corylus colurna
Ligustrum japonicum ‘Texanum’ – dullish but different!
Ligustrum texonensis
Ligustrum texonensis
Tripterygium regelii had gone from flowering to seed mode. A huge scrambling shrub which I have twice failed to get going on the top wall here.
Tripterygium regelii
Tripterygium regelii
Tripterygium regelii
Tripterygium regelii
Magnolia conifera var. chingii. Ours blew over last winter having finally achieved flowering size.
Magnolia conifera var. chingii
Magnolia conifera var. chingii
Lindera reflexa which has failed here.
Lindera reflexa
Lindera reflexa
Lindera reflexa
Lindera reflexa
Quercus liucotrichocarpa
Quercus liucotrichocarpa
Quercus liucotrichocarpa
Quercus liucotrichocarpa
Quercus liucotrichocarpa
Quercus liucotrichocarpa
Quercus liucotrichocarpa
Carmichaelia odorata absolutely full out.
Carmichaelia odorata
Carmichaelia odorata
Litsea populifolia which has proved impossible to propagate. We will of course try but who knows if this is the right time of the year to try this?
Litsea populifolia
Litsea populifolia
Litsea populifolia
Litsea populifolia
Grevillea williamsonii
Grevillea williamsonii
Grevillea williamsonii
Araucaria angustifolia which again died here in the cold in February.
Araucaria angustifolia
Araucaria angustifolia
Aralia cashmeriana in flower. A new recent addition to the Burncoose catalogue but never seen (by me) in flower before.
Aralia cashmeriana
Aralia cashmeriana
Lysimachia pendrifolius (spelling may be wrong) – most peculiar!
Lysimachia pendrifolius
Lysimachia pendrifolius
Lomatia fraseri in full flower 15ft up.
Lomatia fraseri
Lomatia fraseri
Cathaya argyrophylla needing careful staking.
Cathaya argyrophylla
Cathaya argyrophylla
Orixa japonica and Hydrangea ‘Joseph Banks’.
Orixa japonica and Hydrangea ‘Joseph Banks’
Orixa japonica and Hydrangea ‘Joseph Banks’
Deutzia multiradiata in flower.
Deutzia multiradiata
Deutzia multiradiata
Deutzia multiradiata
Deutzia multiradiata
Escallonia ‘Elnor’ – covered in flower with a dwarfish compact habit.
Escallonia ‘Elnor’
Escallonia ‘Elnor’
Escallonia ‘Elnor’
Escallonia ‘Elnor’

In all we photographed 100 different plants of which about a third were totally unknown to us or had never been seen as mature specimens. Also about 15 plants which I would have thought were too tender to grow outside (Iochroma australe especially). Gorwell is S/SW facing with thin soil which gets a good baking in the heat of summer especially in his walled gardens.

Much to ponder, look up and research. Quite a few things here to move into more suitable positions. Many common problems – how do you get Cladastris to flower, Emmenopterys also. We must persevere with the Mexican dahlia species which we lost in ‘The Beast’. Maakia are much better trees than we first thought and we need to start again where there is more room.Carmichaelia are well worth trying in the right place – Ventnor had put me off. Vallea stipularis needs a wall or a large deciduous host.

I leave you with a few pictures of exciting plant combinations:

Clethra barbinervis and Stypholobium japonicum ‘Pendula’
Clethra barbinervis and Stypholobium japonicum ‘Pendula’
Clethra barbinervis and Stypholobium japonicum ‘Pendula’
Musa basjoo and Romneya coulteri
Musa basjoo and Romneya coulteri
Musa basjoo and Romneya coulteri
Clematis x durandii and Acca sellowiana
Clematis x durandii and Acca sellowiana
Clematis x durandii and Acca sellowiana

2020 – CHW
Cotinus ‘Grace’ with its second set of new growth

Cotinus ‘Grace’
Cotinus ‘Grace’
Cotinus ‘Grace’
Cotinus ‘Grace’
The flower heads are left as skeletons with just a very few seeds still holding there.
flower heads
flower heads

Last September this was the site of a bonfire which burnt for a fortnight as we felled beech trees. The base of one of them was exactly here where an extraordinary fungus (only seen once before) is appearing. It starts as a series of brown shell like swirls and then matures into a half football sized mound of extraordinary white foaming mush before collapsing and going brown again. As you can see from the small stones is has pushed up it matures quickly. We did not plant anything here assuming the soil had been sterilised by the fire but clearly we produced exactly the right conditions for this fungus to develop. We need to identify it!

Jaimie has kindly given me a guide to mushrooms and toadstools. Even worse to get to grips with than the Flora of Cornwall and yet more new Latin names. This fungus appears to be Leafy Brain, Tremella foliacea.

fungus
fungus
fungus
fungus
fungus
fungus
fungus
fungus
Then off to inspect 55 acres of land at Ventonveth which we took back in hand in the spring and are using to run circa 40 young bought in cattle. The fields were in a shocking state with low nutrients so most have been put into ryegrass but this field is in a herbal seed mix. This is a deep rooted mixture of traditional wildflowers, legumes, clovers and varied grasses which regenerate quickly after strip grazing. This is now the third field we have planted in this way. A great biodiversity gain as these pictures readily show. This is the way ahead with ‘public money for public good’ under the new 2024 ELMS. Herbal leys will last for 10 years without reseeding unlike ryegrass.
This is the way ahead
This is the way ahead
This is the way ahead
This is the way ahead
The view across the Portholland valley to Parnalls Hill wood.
Portholland valley
Portholland valley
A sadly elm diseased clump of Cornish elms. Another hedgerow is still untouched.
Dead elm
Dead elm
These are not sloes growing on blackthorn but, rather, smallish plums or bullens on a small naturalised hedgerow plum tree.
plum tree
plum tree
A small growing and late flowering form of cow parsley which I think is Pieris hieraciodes or Hawkweed Ox-tongue.
cow parsley
cow parsley
cow parsley
cow parsley
This is Stachys sylvatica, Hedge Groundwort, which I thought at first was a Lamium or a Teucrium.
Stachys sylvatica
Stachys sylvatica
Stachys sylvatica
Stachys sylvatica
The view from Ventonveth to Corwenna hills which we restored from scrub in the 1990s.
Corwenna hill
Corwenna hill
The hedges are a mess and need rebuilding.
hedges
hedges
Lesser burdock or Arctium minus.
Arctium minus
Arctium minus
Arctium minus
Arctium minus
Arctium minus
Arctium minus
This is Gallium mollugo or Hedge Bedstraw which is very common in Ventonveth hedgerows.
Gallium mollugo
Gallium mollugo
Gallium mollugo
Gallium mollugo
Wonderful hedgerow displays of Vicia cracca, Tufted Vetch, which are here clinging onto other plants and grasses and a good 3ft tall.
Vicia cracca
Vicia cracca
Vicia cracca
Vicia cracca
Vicia cracca
Vicia cracca

2019 – CHW
Then down to Burncoose for a full day where the following new plants for the 2020 website impressed in the brief moments between meetings, architects and our interesting new leasehold tenants in The Old Packing Shed who are producing ‘Wild Spirit’ a nearly non-alcoholic bubbly drink. We had a bottle in the heatwave.

A first flower spike with just two fading yellowish flowers on Puya mirabilis.

Puya mirabilis
Puya mirabilis
Puya mirabilis
Puya mirabilis
Huge flowers on the very dwarf growing Hypericum olympicum ‘Citrinum’.
Hypericum olympicum ‘Citrinum’
Hypericum olympicum ‘Citrinum’
The ‘bamboo fern’, Coniogramme japonica ‘Flavomaculata’, are still tiny liners, but look exciting.
Coniogramme japonica ‘Flavomaculata’
Coniogramme japonica ‘Flavomaculata’
Lobelia ‘Tania’ sold well at Hampton Court (where we had very good increased takings) but I am told that we ordered it in as young plants as something else which was delivered not true to name. For once ‘never mind’.
Lobelia ‘Tania’
Lobelia ‘Tania’
Lobelia ‘Tania’
Lobelia ‘Tania’
Needless to say the two large new lean-to glasshouses we propose to erect soon need steel fabrication, groundworks and then glazing by the Falmouth firm which we met who do the last bit. More complexity!

2018 – CHW
Delighted to be back from the Isle of Wight where the heat is slightly less intense and there is nobody banging on about yachting/boats/tides/barbeques and the like.Asimia triloba in flower for the first time on the drive. The flowers are rather smaller than the ones we saw in the nursery in April. Quite why the nursery plants flowered so much earlier I have no idea. Very smooth grey bark and beginning here to make a half decent tree. It looks as though it is an evergreen tree today but is actually deciduous. A real novelty as a flower and more people ought to try this. Best on a hot sunny bank as here.
Asimia triloba
Asimia triloba
Asimia triloba
Asimia triloba
Asimia triloba
Asimia triloba
Asimia triloba
Asimia triloba
Karol has made a good start labelling Kennel Close with his new home produced labels. These will, we hope, capture sales when the public see how good they look in situ as here.

2017 – CHW
In Seaview the late July garden is going over.Phlox ‘White Admiral’ is still looking good.
Phlox ‘White Admiral’
Phlox ‘White Admiral’
Trachelospermum jasminoides has covered the fence and is full out.
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Trachelospermum jasminoides
Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’ is similar.
Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’
Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’
Rhaphiolepsis umbellata is setting seed.
Rhaphiolepsis umbellata
Rhaphiolepsis umbellata
The climbing Fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’ has its first three flowers. Planted last year and doing well.
Fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’
Fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’
Fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’
Fuchsia ‘Lady Boothby’

2016 – CHW
Jaimie and Michael visited Seaview ten days ago to tidy up the jungle in the garden here. What a great job and careful too to leave in place the pittosporum and bay trees which block out the view of the neighbours from upstairs.A new extension since last year over the garden wall built (of course) by Will Caws.
tidy up
tidy up
tidy up
tidy up
Threats too of a planning permission to convert the green hut alongside into an ‘upraised garden’. We can readily object to this as it will overlook our brief fortnightly appearances here.
the green hut
the green hut

2015 – CHW
Hydrangea quercifolia, the US oak leaved hydrangea, has spectacular autumn colour but there are several ‘buts’! They are very short lived in our climate; perhaps only 20 to 30 years before they wither away. Perhaps very susceptible to honey fungus. Secondly they are very shy flowerers unless in full sun. It is arguable that you can get better flowers on a young plant in a large pot than later in the garden itself.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Burgundy'
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Burgundy’

We started with six or seven varieties of Hydrangea quercifolia most of which were planted in 2003. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Harmony’ failed completely. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Burgundy’ by the Top Lodge have grown well but have no flower at all in too much shade. Perhaps worth their place for the autumn display which can be excellent. The clump of three by the Rockery planted in 2008 have all died.Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Tennessee Clone’ by the Hovel has one survivor from three planted. It is dwarfish and the flowers are so large and heavy that they lie on the ground. Not widely available in the UK or listed by Hillier’s.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snowflake'
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake’ above Red Linney has double florets and shows its autumn colour even in summer. A vigorous plant in the nursery at Burnoose it is a bit stunted and slow growing when planted out as you can see. Fifteen years and only three stalks. Two survivors from five planted in 2003.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Snow Queen'
Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snow Queen’ has large florets which should show pink tinges later. More vigorous aged 25 years than ‘Snowflake’ and is said to hold its flower trusses better. However, on Hovel Cart Road, the plants are much larger (four to five feet) but no flowers today as too shady. One plant above the greenhouse flowering properly.

Hydrangea quercifolia
Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangea quercifolia (pure) has single and more open flowers than its named clones. Two plants survive of five planted above Red Linney. It normally flowers later in the summer but is in full sun here on a hot dry bank.

1966 – FJW
Earth tremor felt at 3 am.

1942 – CW
I leant this book to the Bishop of Truro to do some notes on Father [obituary] and only just back. Michelias during this period flowered well 4 in all – Engine House and bottom of Donkey Shoe. Also by Mr Rogers quarry and all forms. The various white Fortunei hybrid beginning to be good and the Auriculatum x and other pinks are now at their best – fuchsias just beginning to be good.

1900 – JCW
Just one or two Lapagerias open. Tea roses are good considering that it is their first year. Lilium longiflorum open.

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