2020 – CHW
A little bit of history to add to the absurdities and real problems of lockdown. My daughter has been trying to get married to an army colonel who is about to go on active service overseas in Africa. I will not bore you here but will put the saga in the handwritten diary for posterity which is an email from the regimental chaplain to a government minister outlining the predicament and how church law has little leeway to do anything when churches and registry offices are closed.
Quercus laurifolia had some dieback and was very slow into leaf but now the drought is over things are looking up. Nice bark developing on the trunk. We used to have a row of three Q. laurifolia which were small trees in the Rireii Opening but the last blew over a few years ago.
I went to check the younger plants in the Stewartia collection but nothing out yet and, like the Styrax, there does not seem much bud compared to last year. Even the mature Stewartia rostratas have only 25% of the flowers they produced last year. Stewartia x henryae still in tight bud in Kennel Close.
Escallonia tucumanensis is a gorgeous species from Argentina. Its drooping panicles of flowers are a delight. Asia should propagate lots! I suspect it would root very easily now. It has been perfectly hardy here for six to eight years and needs no trimming.
2019 – CHW
Ninety-five to lunch and tour here yesterday to raise funds for the Cornwall Historic Churches Trust. We kept the flower festival going in the church and prompted them to drop in on their way home – £87 extra raised. Thankfully that is about it for house tours and house group visits for this year.
Ross Collins has now felled and split all the trunks of the five big beech trees. We will do the burning up ourselves but we agreed on site to extend the new planting area for next spring by grubbing out some additional old camellias and the odd rhododendron.
2018 – CHW
A fine crop of blueberries are emerging on the newly planted plants in the Isla Rose Plantation. Isla is now walking without support at 15 months old so she might just get to taste them later.
Clematis florida ‘Taiga’ really is an outstanding show.
2017 – CHW
I stopped in Carnon Downs on the way to Burncoose today to photograph this amazing clump of pink lampranthus full out in the sun.
Day trip to Hook Norton Brewery for a monthly board meeting.
Another styrax full out; Styrax obassia with the largest leaves of any species and white racemens of flowers hidden amid the foliage.Cornus kousa ‘National’ (I think) on the drive has large faintly star shaped flowers. This was planted in 1991 and is a good sized tree.Behind it a clump of three white Rhododendron decorum coming into their prime but flowering rather later than the older and ancient original plants in the garden, some of which were out a month ago and all of which are now over.On the Hovel Cart Road the evergreen Cornus hongkongensis is starting the odd flower. The US reference book on cornus does not even mention this variety which one has to say is a pretty dull collector’s item. The other one was pruned up by deer.Near Georges Hut a fine 15 year old replacement clump of Rhododendron auriculatum flowering its heart out.Touching them is a 1991 vintage Stewartia rostrata with its first few huge camellia-like flowers with a splodge of pink. This is, to my mind, the best of the stewartias with superb dark purple, almost black autumn colour.In Kennel Close we find a styrax (ex Crug) which is flowering profusely and the first time seen by me. About six years from planting and now bushy and about eight feet tall. Some leaves are oval and some more elliptical. The reference books are unclear. I think it is Styrax wilsonii but it may be Styrax officinalis which grows rather taller; twice the size in fact.A new Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’ has its first three flowers where we can see them unlike the main 1991 planted tree.Primula helodoxa is flowering just outside my study window. There used to be quite a collection of candelabra primulas in the Auklandii Garden where they would self sow themselves on damp bare earth patches. It was interesting to note that over time all the new seedlings became yellow and still a few pop up (as here) from time to time. Primula helodoxa clearly has the dominant gene and the only survivor.
1917 – JCW
The Wilson Fortunei’s are starting to open. A Mikado is very good and A arborescens, also some of the Harrow hybrids. Papa gontier [rose] is good and also R maddeni, hardly a bud was touched by the great frost.
1897 – JCW
The waterlilies are at their best. Bambusa nigra at full length, Henonis at ¾ of their length, Mitis only now starting in some cases and so nitida.