The magnolias on the drive up from the Hovel are always a week or so later than the rest of the garden so a trip to see them today. By no means all out as yet.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Water Lily’ has an upright and tall growing habit. Some years it is a sparse flowerer but not this. A Felix Jury, New Zealand, bred hybrid from 1967.
I took this picture of the first leaf on a sycamore on 21st March. I always try to record the first sycamore in leaf. Usually, it is above the big quarry but this year just below the Fernery on the drive.
Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’ on the drive is an excellent colour this year. This plant (from the same seedpod) is not as good, nor does it have as large sized flowers, as its sister which is the best ‘Caerhays Splendour’ by the veitchiis.
This peculiar and sadly unnamed deciduous azalea is out again two to three months before all the others. I saw the Burncoose plant also in flower last week.
This is the magnolia hybrid on the drive which is nearly good enough to name and register. I have missed the best of it this year.
Jaimie and Michael are magnolia hybridising today. They picked a number of flowers in tight bud last week (pollen parents) and kept them indoors to open so that nothing can get to their pollen before it goes onto another chosen magnolia (the seed parent) for the selected crosses. A vintage year to be doing this.
The Magnolia denudata on the drive which was smashed by a tree is now making a good show again.
I have never seen Parrotia subaequalis properly in flower like this. A plant we failed to get established several times over the years but now well away on Burns Bank.
2020 – CHW
The morning is spent ‘furloughing’ the majority of staff here. This new word means that the government pays 80% of their wages for up to three months if we send them home now. Quite how long the government will take to actually pay employers remains to be seen. Employers can opt to pay the wages of furloughed employees in full but they are not obliged to do so. The garden is now closed and we lock the gates on half the beach car park. No one to clean the loos.So all the Vean staff, holiday let staff, castle staff, marketing team and visitor staff are ‘furloughed’ until further notice. Tough on all those with zero hour casual staff contracts who are left without furloughing but there we are.
The most surreal and extraordinary few hours yet in this national pandemic. We all say goodbye and good luck to each other with very long faces and a tear or two in the eyes.
Lockdown is coming nearer for all non-essential businesses. Burncoose had a ‘normal’ weekend with nearly 300 mail order orders in the last three days (circa £30k). About normal for March. How much longer can we continue to operate under government guidelines? I will have to go there tomorrow perhaps ‘furlough’ them all too.
Nicola Sturgeon says in public this morning that all building sites should be shut amid her usual invective about our government being ineffective. Well done her! As I have said before it is time Boris nationalised the media in a time of war. The closure of KPK appears inevitable soon too. Then all our businesses will be totally fucked.
Everywhere is eerily silent with no staff or visitors. The only people still working here now are the farm staff (who are lambing and will soon be calving), the gamekeepers (who are collecting eggs for a possibly cancelled shooting season) and the garden staff. Ten out of thirty-five and I fear the gardeners may have to be furloughed soon too. The farm manager is in isolation due to the return of relatives from overseas and his deputy’s wife is a hospital nurse. Heaven alone knows how this may turn out.
A very sad email from Merlin Hanbury-Tenison (attached) about his father’s struggle with the disease. It does not look too hopeful. Sadness at the reality which we all now find ourselves in turns to ‘fear’. No more keeping calm and carrying on.
On another glorious day here are a few things to try to cheer things up. The NE wind persists and the ground is finally drying up.
Rhododendron canadense just coming out. An attractive dwarf rhododendron.
Rhododendron ‘Praecox’ showing its age.
A rather east wind battered Magnolia ‘Margaret Helen’ on the drive.
But a much less ruined Magnolia ‘Apollo’ just below it.
The unnamed deciduous azalea which is always early is now full out.
Camellia reticulata ‘Fée de l’Aulne’ with its first flower on the drive. Nothing that exciting.
One plant in a clump of Rhododendron schlippenbachii is now out. The rest not.
Prunus ‘Shirotae’ holds sway over the drive. Just out and not quite full out.
Magnolia ‘Serene’ is the last of the genuinely tree magnolias to come out. Here still mainly in bud and just a few flowers blown open high up. Three weeks or so early.
A decent young Rhododendron calophytum with its first flowers by Georges Hut.
And a Rhododendron sinogrande with one flower two years on from planting out. Probably about eight years on from being a seedling but still a very quick performer by the standards of most young big leaved rhodos.
A Magnolia ‘Yakeo’ as good as I have seen it. This one had secondary flowers in the autumn.
The best magnolia in the garden today is ‘Star Wars’ which is a better (less muddy) colour this year than usual.
There are three seedlings from Michelia doltsopa ‘Silver Cloud’ which have clearly crossed up with the M. doltsopa near the original ‘Silver Cloud’ growing above the Camellia japonica clump. This is the best of the three 20 or so year old plants in flower today. The other two have very different and smaller leaf forms which are much more doltsopa (nearly as good as Tom’s M. maudiae on Friday?).
Rhododendron kendrickii nearly over just below the three Michelias.
Flowers aplenty on the young Rhododendron singogrande seedling which travelled up to Chelsea in 2017 for the Rhododendron Society centenary exhibit on the Burncoose stand. No flowers on it then but it has done well upon its safe return.
This has not really cheered me up at all. A foul day which leaves me feeling as though a close relative has just died. One we will all not forget for a furloughed wage packet or two.
2019 – CHW
First flowers on Rhododendron impeditum ‘JC Williams’.
Rhododendron ‘Endsleigh Pink’ at its best.
Rhododendron pachysanthum just out.
Magnolia ‘Crescendo’ – first flowering and very good.
Prunus ‘Umineko’ just out.
Prunus matsumae ‘Beni-Yukata’ just starting.
Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ full out in Penvergate.
Magnolia ‘Scented Gem’ (from Kevin Hughes Plants) first flowering.
Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ just starting.
The Magnolia veitchiis stand out behind the castle.
Campbell Clarke and his friends after four hours in the garden.
2018 – CHW
Off to Llanover Garden in Monmouthshire to give a ‘bursting into spring’ lecture to 42 ladies before they lunched. Mainly camellias on the table as still very few magnolias to offer. We had eight Camellia reticulata varieties on show which were the best thing.A tour of the gardens at Llanover.A rather battered Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ against a wall.
Roses trained up a metal Harrod Horticultural support.
Quercus alnifolia with some leaves intact.
Pieris very fine.
Betula albo sinensis with catkins.
Quercus nigra ‘Beethoven’ – a record tree. Most leaves blown off.
Lithocarpus henryi was especially fine.
Wood anemone just appearing.
Quercus dentata – supposedly a record tree but I wonder? Some old leaves still on the tree as you would expect.
Nyssa sinensis – another record tree.
Amazingly Quercus insignis was virtually untouched by the cold – unlike ours.
Stewartia pseudocamellia Koreana Group had fine splitting bark on a young tree.
Sorbus scalaris with an enormous trunk.
Occasionally you see balls of dense growth on scots pines like this. I forget the proper name but the bonsai growers would fight over this if it ever fell as this is the source of new dwarf scots pines for the rockery.
The display of camellias for the lecture.
The Camellia reticulata.
2017 – CHWPlanted out one cartload of pot grown rhododendrons in the morning. Many more open ground ones to go from the three nursery beds.
Rhododendron Xiangense – four plants which we had grown from seed. The first tiny flowers on one of them.
Rhododendron suoilenhense – just coming out. We planted another form of this nearby today with rather different leaves collected by Alan Clarke. Earlier than last year I think.
Rhododendron irroratum ‘Polkadot’ as also exhibited last night by Exbury.
The New Zealand bred Magnolia ‘Purple Platter’ with young michelias behind also in flower.
Rhododendron ‘Red Centurion’ – one plant just coming out. Cut some to go to the RHS rhododendron registrar.
2016 – CHW
Placed out around 15 more named magnolias for planting and some new bicolour hydrangeas (15) on the drive. On the way Jaimie and I made a record of the magnolias out in the sun today:Magnolia ‘Apollo’ – just coming out.
The unknown/unnamed magnolia seedling created by Philip Tregunna which I thought a fortnight ago was not worth naming is now looking rather more promising. At a guess it has Magnolia campbellii (pink) x Magnolia campbellii Alba seedling as its parents. This may well be one to propagate.
The original Magnolia ‘J C Williams’ is out but rather blown out and not a great colour this year except on the lower branches.
A young Magnolia ‘Charles Raffill’ is coming out. Very similar to Magnolia ‘Princess Margaret’ I think.
Another young Magnolia ‘Felix Jury’ with its first ever flower.
Another slightly later into flower (in fact our third tree) of Magnolia ‘Shirraz’ with The Vean behind.
Beside it is another younger Magnolia ‘J C Williams’ also blown open and not dark enough.
Then the two together.
One of the original Magnolia mollicomatas is superb.
A second (seedling) Magnolia ‘Caerhays Splendour’ is not as good as the now named plant but the flowers are improving in both size and colour. Loads more buds to come yet. This is only the third time it has flowered and it is hereby saved from the chainsaw which was its likely fate on first flowering which was a muddy white.
Magnolia denudata ‘Forrest Pink’ finally produces a decent flower. The rest were blown away.
The view down the drive taking in JCW and others.
Below the Four in Hand we have Magnolia mollicomata ‘Tennis Court’. This is the only nearly completely white form of M mollicomata that I know of. It grows in a line of three mollicomatas above the tennis court at Burncoose. This is a well grown grafted plant from there which is untouched by wind or frost and dazzling in the early evening light. You can just see a tiny hint of pink at the base of the flower and the pollen bearing anthers are pink too. Arnold Dance (former head gardener at Burncoose for 40 years) and David Clulow (magnolia collector and breeder from Kent) both rated this plant very highly.
On the way we spot Lindera cercidifolia full out on Hovel Cart Road. I photographed this in bud two to three weeks ago. The scent is delicious!
2015 – CHW
Magnolia sprengeri var elongata now comes out by Tin Garden. On 9th February I was clearly wrong and the first magnolia out in this clearing (or indeed the garden then) was a rather poorly coloured Magnolia campbellii. The four 1920’s planted magnolias in this clearing have now all been identified.
The wedding magnolias nearly all survive to grace the Cornwall Red Squirrel Project dinner (175 people) in the wedding tent for a fund raising dinner.
1963 – FJW
First flowers on Camellia noblissima.
1958 – FJW
The Easterly wind came to an end in a fine gust. One big tree down below 4 in Hand. The east wind lasted about 10 days. Ripped leaves off the Giganteums.
1928 – JCW
Magnolias kobus, salicifolia, halleana, conspicua, brozzoni, soulangeana and denudata all showing flowers after the frost.
1922 – JCW
Hard frost which cuts the bloom but is a dry frost, the gardenia stood a night of it, a very cold wind.
1919 – JCW
No Narcissi Poets, M de Graaf open about three weeks behind 1913.
1913 – JCW
M de Graaf and many poets open, an odd cherry flower open, Thomsonii x has waned, Mrs Butlers have begun to wane, R fargesii shows colour, several reticulata blooms open but they are poor ones.
1911 – JCW
Much as in 1910, Rho arboreum at about their best and so Rho argenteum where they have missed the frost. Mag halleana a few, some mume, Camellia Lady Clare good, a few Cam reticulata, no cherries.
1910 – JCW
Very near 1902 in daffs. Rho hodgsoni open, some Fortunei, Arboreum hybrids opening, almost all the plain Arboreums are opening and very nice. Pissardi gone. Cherries not come.
1907 – JCW
Very near 1902, only about 2 (doubtful) Tiandrus x open, a few Mag halleana, hot and cold nights.
1903 – JCW
Two or three de Graaf, a few more Weardales, Citron well open, all King A. Mag halleana good. Cold nights.
1902 – JCW
The first Narcissi M hume, several (10 or 15) Sirius hybrids, several Emperor, many Horsfieldii, the first D Yorke, King Alfred half, G Bell half, Dante a few.
1898 – JCW
Some (Narcissi) G Mundi’s out, Torch open (one), one F Wilson, and a good few tulips in the grass. The bamboos have been moving a little all the winter.
1897 – JCW
Saw young wild ducks. Cherries coming out, Gloria mundi open, a Poetarum, first M de Graaf, Wilsoni Major and Carantius.