2023 – CHW
To the remarkable 60 acre Arboretum at Batsford which is a jewel! In marked contrast to my views on Ventnor Botanics last summer which stirred up a public furore this arboretum is extremely well cared for, full of new planting and perfectly labelled throughout. All the things which the National Trust now regards as irrelevant in so many of its once great gardens. Educating the public to the wonders of trees is exactly what the Batsford Trustees are all about. A remarkably good Souvenir Garden Guide as well. Cannot wait to revisit in a different season. With a pH of 7-7.5 they cannot grow many Rhododendrons but Magnolias are thriving. The best collection of mature Carpinus species I have ever seen all in full flower tassel mode. A visit to Batsfords National Collection of cherries is certainly on my list for next spring.
Here are a few general photographs of the Arboretum and Batsford House (private).
2022 – CHW
Exciting news from Asia and seed germination this spring. Magnolia sapaensis had one seedpod last year (and has eight flower buds today) but loads of good looking seedlings now.
2021 – CHW
The Crown Inn at Benson which Hook Norton Brewery acquired over a year ago. It has traded only for eight weeks since renovation was completed last September. About an hour from Hook Norton itself in a large well heeled village near RAF Benson. A gastro pub but with plenty of outside space for rather cheaper food offering from a secondary kitchen. A good investment which has yet to get going after COVID and the 47 diners nearly all sat outside last night in the heatwave conditions.
A quick trip to the greenhouse to find some plants for Trelawny & Olivia Williams for their new garden near Port Isaac in North Cornwall.Platycrater arguta is now out in flower and these pictures will nearly fill the missing website slots. What a peculiar little hydrangea-like thing it is with what looks like separate male and female flowers. Looks tenderish and a greenhouse thing but I may be wrong.
A visit to Bonython last Friday for a Great Gardens meeting and quick tour of the garden which was looking splendid 20 years on from the Nathan’s acquiring the estate. How it has developed and progressed! A spring and summer garden now with much to interest all types of gardener and including many South African herbaceous plants.Cornus kousa ‘Satomi’ in full flower in the sun in a corner of the walled garden.
Here freestanding at the edge of a border and creeping onto the path. You can see why it needs a host plant to climb over.
2018 – CHW
Azalea indicum has many coloured forms from mauve-purple to red and dark red. The clumps on the drive, in the Auklandii Garden and outside the front gate are full out now and flowering more copiously than I can remember before. The flowers are single or in pairs. This marks the very end of the azalea flowering season for another year. Asia ought to have a go at propagating some of these rather neglected plants which may be a bit dull until June but are a pleasure then.
You can always find something absolutely new in the garden flowering away for the first time ever if you take the trouble to look properly – even when the season is ‘over’!Fuchsia ‘Lady Bacon’ which I bought last year in the Isle of Wight is out beside the greenhouse. I rather like it and it looks tough.
Magnolia sieboldii sinensis x virginiana now full out after its wind battering last week.
Trying out the new camera today. Hard to focus!The deciduous but rare Rhododendron weyrichii has popped open in a couple of fine hot days. More flower this year than usual. How many deciduous species from China and the US have we shown in the last fortnight – six?
A Great Gardens of Cornwall meeting at Tregrehan. Plans for the 25th anniversary book are well in hand and it appears to be costing the members very little.The meeting ends in complete hilarity when, for some bizarre reason, Jonathan Jones from Tregothnan suggests we must pay more attention to ‘naked gardening’. Apparently this was prompted by London’s new restaurant where you get your kit off to eat (waitresses included presumably). Jonathan muttered something about ‘naked magnolias’ which may or may not have been a phallic time warp or perhaps the meeting was dull enough for his mind to wander dangerously into unchartered territory.
2015 – CHW
A Rhododendron royalii hybrid (‘Royal Flush’? Yellow or apricot) has survived powdery mildew and a clump is flowering sparsely. This one is yellow and pink and nowhere near as good as the pinks and yellows now long dead.
A very late evergreen azalea (unnamed) has the merit of lateness but not much else.
Deutzia subulata is just going over. A Roy Lancaster introduction.
Several late azaleas above and below Bond Street
Azalea ‘Jock Brydon’
Azalea ‘June Fire’ – still in tight bud in shade. The season for deciduous azaleas does go on longer than you might think and although visitor numbers are now sparse there is still quite a bit to see if you look.
A frog has made it into the dog kennels and two buzzards are eyeing up the chickens on the Lawn. Bad year for moles and little joy with the traps on the Lawn.
2002 – FJW
A very misty week – sea seldom seen – very dreary and gloomy.
1928 – JCW
I came from Scotland, some trees and shrubs are doing very well, the Eriogynums and Griersonianums are good, the late Maddeni hybrids and the late Maddeni species of Forrest. Some Mag parviflora are open, some hypoleuca. M delavayi is not open yet but a lot of buds.
1924 – JCW
Came from London, much rain in the last three weeks and the best growth I ever saw in a short three weeks. Griersonianum and the Harrow hybrids are very good. Eriogynum is open. Cornish Loderi is just over. Mc is very good indeed for size of flowers in the NP8.