21st June

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 good show of bronzy new growth on the ancient Camellia sasanquas.

Camellia sasanquas
Camellia sasanquas
Stewartia rostrata just coming out on the drive.
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
In Roy & Ann Key’s garden at the Pound grows a tall biennial echium with reddish flowers. Is this a species or a hybrid? Very different in colour to our blue and pink Echium pininana. On looking it up it is Echium wildpretii which Burncoose stocks. Must grab a few seed from Roy later. From the Canary Isles. Its other name is Echium bourgaeanum.
Echium wildpretii
Echium wildpretii
Echium wildpretii
Echium wildpretii
Echium wildpretii
Echium wildpretii
Deutzia paniculata (BSWJ 8592) above the drive on from the Four in Hand. The (different) species next to it is over so I hope I have deduced this correctly. Very fine today anyway. When you google D. paniculata most of the pictures are so laughably muddled and wrong that one wonders quite why they bother. Disinformation rather than knowledge!
Deutzia paniculata
Deutzia paniculata
Deutzia paniculata
Deutzia paniculata
Deutzia paniculata
Deutzia paniculata

2020 – CHW
William Hague is the first of the really senior former politicians to dare to write openly this week about the economic disaster that the government’s response to the pandemic has caused. As I reread what I wrote in this diary earlier in April and May I am startled at how shell shocked we were as a country by lockdown in late March and how little thought was given then to the economic consequences of preserving our health at all and every cost.As the post mortems begin and blame is apportioned from an impoverished electorate and those now in poverty and on unemployment benefits there is little point repeating the obvious. Panic, overreaction, lack of a plan, consistent negativism and entitlement pleading from most of the media.Self-publicising and media encouragement has given oxygen to minority views which are now portrayed as popular and overwhelmingly necessary impositions on us all. They are not! When will common sense be allowed to prevail over street marches, strikes and thuggery.Much has changed and improved in our estate businesses during lockdown. Only a few staff will remain on furlough until the end of August and all will be working part time (we hope) by 4th July when tourism is to restart.There have been very few winners in the pandemic but, almost by accident, Burncoose Nurseries found itself in a growth situation which, with a supreme staff effort, it was able to sustain. Luck came into it and the bad luck of a secondary outbreak of infection could yet undo the good work. However you can fight for your own luck too.

I have not written like this for a few weeks as time has been shorter now that the wheels are gently moving again. Finishing the first draft of the Burncoose catalogue introduction was completed this week. However, I hope that future generations enquiring into the pandemic and wondering about what happened and why will derive one perspective from these diary entries. The full accounts of my heroes and villains of all this are locked away privately for posterity.

It has been fun to write while it lasted but now back to plants only. The number of diary readers has grown during lockdown despite (or perhaps because?) my perspective having, very occasionally, offended particular sensitivities as regards reality.

Jaimie was tidying up in Penvergate and, while removing a fallen dead tree, discovered a young slowworm.

slowworm
slowworm
slowworm
slowworm

The war on squirrels continues as the first crops of this year’s youngsters start to roam. Seventy-five so far this year since January in the main gardens (and the same again from the keepers). Sadly more than last year at this stage. Out of today’s seven all but one were young males seeking out new territories to fill the voids which we have created in drays and old hollow trees from the spring clear out. The older females will soon be producing their second batch of youngsters to plague us come the autumn. Much less evidence of bark damage on 20 to 30 year old trees so far so we may be making inroads in what I fear is an unwinnable battle without contraception.

First flowering here of Syringa pekinensis ‘Yellow Fragrance’. Not very yellow when full out but superbly scented.

Syringa pekinensis ‘Yellow Fragrance’
Syringa pekinensis ‘Yellow Fragrance’

We missed a few Tilia species when recording their leaf shapes a month or so ago:Tilia japonica ‘Ernest Wilson’ – regrowth after the rain from earlier roe deer nibbling.

Tilia japonica ‘Ernest Wilson’
Tilia japonica ‘Ernest Wilson’
Tilia japonica ‘Ernest Wilson’
Tilia japonica ‘Ernest Wilson’
Tilia chingiana has leaves which droop one-sidedly.
Tilia chingiana
Tilia chingiana
Tilia chingiana
Tilia chingiana
Tilia chingiana
Tilia chingiana
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
Tilia mongolica ‘Harvest Gold’
Quercus maurii is trying to recover from the drought.
Quercus maurii
Quercus maurii
Tilia tuan var. chenmoui (Tom Hudson 1075 from Keith Rushforth)
Tilia tuan var. chenmoui
Tilia tuan var. chenmoui
Tilia tuan var. chenmoui
Tilia tuan var. chenmoui
Populus purdomii is getting away well as a tree. Wonderful veining in the leaves and purplish red new growth.
Populus purdomii
Populus purdomii
Populus purdomii
Populus purdomii
Populus purdomii
Populus purdomii
Trachycarpus wagnerianus has finished flowering and is setting seed.
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Trachycarpus wagnerianus
Styrax wilsonii absolutely covered in flowers and the best show yet on our replacement plant for the old dead one outside the back yard.
Styrax wilsonii
Styrax wilsonii
Styrax wilsonii
Styrax wilsonii
Styrax wilsonii
Styrax wilsonii
Styrax americanus (Kankakee Form) is not quite out yet.
Styrax americanus
Styrax americanus

2019 – CHW
The casualties from the April/May dry weather in the Isla Rose Plantation are far worse than after last summer’s drought. At least a dozen deads show up today with several more borderline cases which further dry weather will finish off.

Nonetheless Styrax japonicus ‘Farges Belle’ is making good headway and flowering properly for the first time. Largish flowers but near enough to Styrax fargesii so as not to be worth a name?

Styrax japonicus ‘Farges Belle’
Styrax japonicus ‘Farges Belle’
Styrax japonicus ‘Farges Belle’
Styrax japonicus ‘Farges Belle’
Styrax japonicus ‘Farges Belle’
Styrax japonicus ‘Farges Belle’
Styrax japonicus ‘Farges Belle’
Styrax japonicus ‘Farges Belle’
This is easily the best Rhododendron maddenii which we have here with the largest flowers. One for Asia to propagate from seed and cuttings. Did any root last year?
Rhododendron maddenii
Rhododendron maddenii
Rhododendron maddenii
Rhododendron maddenii
Ross has started to fell a few beech and sycamore trees above the greenhouse. One split in half a year ago and four others threaten the new plantings here of Styrax and Stewartia.
Ross has started to fell
Ross has started to fell
Rhododendron decorum – the pink form is always later than the similarly ancient and more common pure white ones. Asia must try this from seed to preserve what is such an exceptional late flowering rhododendron. This huge clump of three is very near the end of its life.
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum

2018 – CHW
What a fantastic plant Stewartia rostrata is. Despite what all the reference books say far and away the largest flower of any stewartia species. The buds are clothed in a reddish calyx and then emerge as pink buds. The open flower has pink blotches which remain pink even when the flowers are over and fall to the ground. The blotches are irregular and most pronounced in full sun. The blotching is on both sides of the petals. Not all the flowers come out at once so, even in hot periods, there is something to see for three to four weeks or more. One of our plants is in full shade and not out yet. Even last year’s seed pods which remain on the tree look interesting. Some flowers, when fully open flat, are 2.5in or 6-7cm across. What about that for a flowering tree in a woodland garden in mid/late June. AND the gorgeous purple/black autumn colour to come. It is a no brainer to add this to your collection!
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata
Stewartia rostrata

2017 – CHW
The Wollemia nobilis or Wollemi pine has struggled at Burncoose for the last 10 years. It is now 7-8ft tall and I discover today male and female flowers for the first time. Presumably the females are the darker cone-like flowers lower down and the two male flowers are green. Perhaps I have this the wrong way around?
Wollemia nobilis
Wollemia nobilis
Wollemia nobilis
Wollemia nobilis
Wollemia nobilis
Wollemia nobilis
Wollemia nobilis
Wollemia nobilis
Wollemia nobilis
Wollemia nobilis
I could not resist more pictures of the Lonicera crassifolia this time in shade. We must try for this in our 2018 catalogue.
Lonicera crassifolia
Lonicera crassifolia
Lonicera crassifolia
Lonicera crassifolia
Lonicera crassifolia
Lonicera crassifolia
The sycamores are setting a plentiful crop of seed very early in this 10 day long heatwave. Insufferably hot again today.
sycamores
sycamores
sycamores
sycamores
Another mature Styrax japonicus on Bond Street which we all forget. Here is its top peeping above a cornus.
Styrax japonicus
Styrax japonicus
The bracts on the splendid Cornus kousa ‘Doubloon’ are now turning pink in the sun.
Cornus kousa ‘Doubloon’
Cornus kousa ‘Doubloon’
Plenty of flower heads on Viburnum betulifolium. A bumper crop of red berries to follow.
Viburnum betulifolium
Viburnum betulifolium
Acanthus mollis is a thug. Here it has taken root in the compost heap outside the arch. We have dug it out and got rid of it in the beds but it was a mistake to leave the roots on the dump. Quite pretty and unusual as it comes into flower though.
Acanthus mollis
Acanthus mollis
Acanthus mollis
Acanthus mollis

2016 – CHW
Beware the hornets are active around and about in the gardens. Not Brexit deniers from the continent I hope?
Hornet
Hornet
2015 – CHW
The Father’s Day charity fete was a tremendous success with at least 3,500 people attending the event (2,000 paying £3.00, 1,200 children free and 300 performers and stall holders). Probably the largest public event at Caerhays since 1977 when Jeremy Brett and Joanna David opened a similar fete here following the filming of the BBC remake of Rececca at Caerhays.
Charles with a microphone
Charles with a microphone
Kids on the bank
Kids on the bank
Crowds walking in
Crowds walking in
Michael Morpurgo, the official opener, signed his books for charity all day until every one was sold. Queues at the catering facilities were equally long. The Camborne junior town band, hot from winning national prizes, were excellent. The bar started with 720 pints of Hook Norton beer and no one can remember what was left over.
Camborne youth band
Camborne Youth Band
Music
Music
drums
Drums
All in all a very happy day all round with a marvellous atmosphere and many beaming faces amongst our staff, committee members and helpers. A profit of well over £10,000 was raised for local charities; the St Michaels Church flower festival raised a further £600 and Cornwall Hospice Care (who will share in the proceeds as well) raised £1,400 themselves. Ice cream sales were £1,500 and the scouts raised £421 on their traditional games stall which included the popular china smashing. A striking contrast to the cold wet day two years ago that attracted only 1,500 people.
Plate smashing
Plate smashing
Birds eye view
Birds eye view
Singers
Singers
stalls
Stalls
Cataclews
Cataclews

1990 – FJW
Walk with Philip. Flowers on following rhod – auritum, discolor, falconeri, argyrophyllum, macrostemon, decorum x by Diva, souliei x campylocarpum, lepidostylum, megacalyx, oreotrephes, Harrows hybrid and CW’s Harrows hybrids x, eriogynum, griersonianum, weyrichii, orbiculare, Tally Ho x Elliotii, stamineum, hypoglaucum, floccigerum, apodectum, didymum x, pink decorum x, venator, wilsons fortunei ( in quarry), the latter outstanding with Discolor in the A.G. – others not. Tropaeolum speciosum, Eucryphia intermedia (above Orchid House), Styrax wilsoni, Cornus cuspidata, kousa and walteri, Kalmia, Euonymus wilsonii, Styrax japonica (at its best) ditto Magnolia macrophylla – Mag sieboldii. Camellia mathotiana alba in two places flower vase worthy. A good soak yesterday.

1986 – FJW
The heaviest 24 hrs of rain I have seen – a thunderstorm for nearly 48 hrs – but a flower still visible on the early large un-named Williamsii by the front gate.

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