2021 – CHW
Off to Burncoose for a day of rather exciting pre year end planning and development meetings. I cannot ever remember being in the pleasurable position in the nursery of agreeing to spend £100k on new equipment in one day in 40 years in the business. After the pandemic we can afford it and the volume of business continues to grow while plant stocks run ever shorter and so much on our website is sadly ‘currently unavailable’.
I have written two website news items today. One seeking new staff for the nursery and one apologising for but explaining that it takes time to grow more plants to meet demand! The whole nursery industry is short of stock and garden centres are too.
We have improved our packing shed and computer systems in 12 months more than we could have expected to do over five to seven years.
All one can do is have a nice look at all our plant production coming on as we move into warmer weather in the spring. All these pictures are in the growing area of the nursery which the public do not see.
Agapanthus for the summer rush.
The Burncoose magnolias in front of the house have been frosted but not as badly as I had anticipated, and yesterday’s gales have done no damage.
Magnolia sprengeri diva ‘Burncoose’ beside the house. As usual some flowers blown open and pale while others are a good ‘red.
2020 – CHW
Jaimie and the team (now four) have been cutting furiously for the Rosemoor show on Saturday and trying to bring things indoors out of the hailstorms. The magnolia flowers are all individually wrapped in loo paper for the show and one of our (rather few) visitors remarked in a Covid free moment that this was clearly the reason for the spate of panic buying of soft tissue loo paper in Asda in St Austell.
Karol and I have been trying to work out why people are panic buying loo paper rather than food or aspirin. We could not think of a logical answer which made any sense. Meanwhile four or five group tours, Vean accommodation, holiday let cancellations today. The tip of a sad iceberg we all fear as the economy, tourism and business begin to shut down for the great coronavirus pandemic. The marketing team want a crisis meeting but what is there to say apart from the obvious?
After a very dull CLA forestry conference at Morval the sight of our exhibits is more cheerful. We seem to have entered every class in the show with two entries (no less) for the three sprays of magnolias which is the most difficult class to enter with perfect blooms.
Exciting new camellias and Michelias found in flower today. I am told that my daily diary entries are getting far too long and boring but, frankly, I find this all very exciting as the spring season really takes shape and do not give a ‘fig’ (no ‘u’ in fig!). As we spend hours placing out new things for planting in the garden this week this is the joy of the end result. With our high rainfall growth rates the ‘end result’ can come pretty quickly. The first day for many months that I can spend most of it ‘indulging’ in plants. Put up with it please if you can!Spanish bluebells now full out outside the front gate (in full leaf in the diary in January). An invasive species or so say the Remainers. Brexiteers may have a different view. At least they are not French!
2018 – CHW
A day of filming with a Chinese Film Crew making a TV programme for the Chinese about George Forrest’s plant hunting expeditions in Yunnan. We concentrate on camellias and avoid any mention of pillaging the country to fill the gardens of Western Europe! They were an efficient crew but this stuff is tedious and time consuming.Magnolia zenii is full out at last. Relatively undamaged by frost.
2017 – CHW
A drab day here with heavy rain so here are some other plants from Rosemoor yesterday.
Eucalyptus pauciflora subsp niptiophila – showing its bark to best effect.
First day of the RHS Rosemoor Early Spring Show at Rosemoor Gardens. After a frost the last two nights and the north wind this week exhibitors will be struggling to find perfect and un scorched blooms. Indeed they were! Jaimie and Michael plus Rob and Tim all spent six hours setting up on Friday and entering loads of classes. They work hard and do it well with great enthusiasm. An example to other public gardens who cannot be bothered to enter.Our three vases/sprays of magnolias in the main magnolia class looked magnificent when finished. They were this year:
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’ (Jaimie’s hybrid registered last year)
Magnolia ‘Philip Tregunna’ (the younger plant where the old ‘Diva’ grew)
Magnolia sprengeri diva ‘Burncoose’ (from below Slip Rail)
Karol and I took up the (Chelsea) screen for the exhibition room yesterday with a rolling display of interviews and historical information about the foundation of the Rhododendron Society in 1916. There was also an exhibition of old manuscripts etc in a small cabinet and six display boards with copies of historic maps and pictures (plenty from Caerhays). John Marston, the Rhododendron Camellia & Magnolia Group Southwest chairman, in a huge state of excitement but Karol and I sneak off to take photographs in Rosemoor Gardens while there was enough light. There were more visitors at Caerhays Gardens today than at Rosemoor on Friday!Now on to the show itself today. Justin brings up some magnolias early on from Burncoose for a selling table and I give him a hand to set up. Justin is a natural salesman whose lack of plant knowledge is amply covered by his charm and ‘sales technique’ (bullshit). Not since Trevor Wright (insurance salesman who helped at Chelsea for 40 plus years) have we had anyone half as good. A joy to watch him operate.
The magnolia classes were all first (and in some cases also second/third) prize to Caerhays so we retained the magnolia cup which Jaimie received from David Millais, Rhododendron Camellia & Magnolia Group chairman. I think we may have given it to the show in the first place and we have held it ever since.
It was not a bad show considering the weather but not as good as previous years. Marwood Hill and Greenway Gardens won cups for camellias and shrubs and Barry Starling for Rhododendron vialli (tender and bright red). It is well run by the RHS and the Hayward sisters, Pam and Sally, for whom nothing is too much trouble.Good gossip in that Jaimie’s mate Harvey is to run Savill and Valley Gardens after Mark Flanagan’s untimely death. Bad gossip that Michael Heathcote-Amery died before his unique oak collection was properly transferred into a new trust at Chevithorne Manor to protect it.
2015 – CHW
Magnolia ‘Susanna van Veen’ superb above Crinodendron Hedge although only planted eight years ago. The same parentage as Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’ and pretty much identical even though of New Zealand origin. Strange that this hybrid performs exactly the same in both the northern and southern hemispheres when so many others do not (eg ‘Vulcan’, ‘Lanarth’, ‘Ians Red’, ‘Genie’, ‘Red as’)
2002 – FJW
Mag J C Williams, (thanks to CHW’s efforts and skills) secured an F.C.C. Nice flower picked on Acacia longifolia.
2001 – FJW
Early Magnolias well out – a good new one above the wall.
1972 – FJW
Strong easterly wind. Mr Gore full out, also campbellii and robusta and mollicomata hybrids on Georges bank. Donkey Shoe robusta ½ out.
1945 – CW
Some frost and very dry as last year. Daffodils short but more than half out. Magnolia campbellii and some mollicomata almost good. Sargentiana robusta one at its best, Kobus in 40 Acres good and below Engine House. Denudata nearly at its best. Rho lutescens covered as it used to at Greenway. Reds, pink hybrids, Arboreum and single Camellias all at best. Perhaps our best weekend.1944 – CW
There has been a little frost for some weeks which has left things back. Magnolia campbellii good and a big Salicifolia. Sargentiana and Mollicomata both have flowers open but some a little brown – over 50 of the purpurescens quite perfect. Camellias (single) past their best. Daffodils small and want rain. Michelia superba coming out but a bit frosted.
1928 – JCW
Two nights of frost have cleared the big Kobus of bloom and every Rhodo on the place and there was a lot of bloom.
1925 – JCW
(Handwritten note attached to Garden Book page)
R spinuliferum +
R albrechtii +
R quinquefolium +
R irroratum o
R decorum +
R lutescens o
R scintillans +
R impeditum +
R arboreum pink and white o
R sulfureum o
R mollicoma +
R raceosum o
R rireii o
R sutchuenense o
R scabrifolium o
R dahuricum(+ = not open in 1930)
(o = out in 1964)
1918 – JCW
Camellias cuspidata and reticulata opening, some doubles open and the single white. The best Rhodo’s are sutchuenense going over, calophytum well open, barbatum going back, Rho reticulatum and fargesii nice and oleifolium perhaps the best of all. Early scarlets and yellows amongst the daffs are open.
1912 – JCW
Camellia reticulata has had odd flowers open for some days.
1903 – JCW
Seen Dawsons and Ludgvan, hardly anything ahead of us.
1900 – JCW
Some Italian, several Cernuus, most of the G Spur, nearly all the maximus. The first Pallidus P breaks colour.