26th March

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

2020 – CHW

So we rattle around the castle in glorious isolation. No sound of cars or people and just the cock pheasants purring as they fight over the hens. Down now to eight staff who have not been furloughed and the police are in evidence. They visited Porthluney Beach which has both car parks locked but there were still a few cars and walkers parked in the road doing their perfectly legitimate exercise. The police visited Mays and Griggs agricultural stores who were apparently only selling dog food and told them to shut. The Horticultural Trades Association advises that garden centres must shut BUT “can continue home deliveries and online ordering”. This is something of a reprieve for Burncoose Nurseries who are continuing to pack and fulfil the 143 plant orders received online yesterday. The travel to work to keep the economy going if you cannot work from home advice was always going to be hard to interpret in reality on the ground. Hopefully when things settle into the new routine ‘they’ will leave us alone with our mail orders.

Although KPK has closed in a panic many large building sites are staying open with social distancing etc. I fear we were too hasty – and unfair to the subcontractors. How can you furlough your staff with individual letters that they need to sign if someone is not in an office sorting it out. March wages are paid today across the estate businesses – £90k. Come late April we will mainly be paying 80% of this and will hope that the government can and does pay us on the same date. Will they? Not unless a lot of time is spent in offices applying online with every individual’s PAYE records to hand. Could our accounts team work from home? Possibly but in the mad rush to get home cloud connections Richard’s kit does not yet work and he is still waiting for his new laptop computer ordered a while ago. Bugger the guidelines – apply common sense and distancing to survive!

Even the dogs are puzzled and restless at the new people and dog free regime. They know it is spring and it is not just the cock pheasants feeling randy.

Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’ on the drive. Is this better than Magnolia x loebneri ‘Powder Puff’ which grows in Forty Acres? I will go and see tomorrow but there is not much in it. Both very good.

Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Mags Pirouette’
Despite being smashed down to a 6ft stump two and a half years ago this Magnolia denudata ‘Forrest’s Pink’ has had plenty of flowers on the drive.
Magnolia denudata ‘Forrest’s Pink’
Magnolia denudata ‘Forrest’s Pink’
The two record Magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’ full out today. I do a vlog of this for the Caerhays website with film also of Magnolia ‘Star Wars’ and a young Magnolia doltsopa. The makeover was ‘what you are missing today’. Karol kept the requisite 2m away so ‘social distancing’ was maintained during filming.
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’
The pure white single Camellia x williamsii ‘Francis Hanger’.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Francis Hanger’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Francis Hanger’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Francis Hanger’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Francis Hanger’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Francis Hanger’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Francis Hanger’
The unnamed near white with a hint of pink Camellia x williamsii bred by my father which grows not far from ‘Francis Hanger’. It is well worth naming if we have not already?
Camellia x williamsii
Camellia x williamsii
First flowers on Rhododendron ‘Elizabeth’ on the bank at the Four in Hand.
Rhododendron ‘Elizabeth’
Rhododendron ‘Elizabeth’
Buddleia crispa var. farreri which I could not name the other day is still out with no leaves. Asia had kindly given it a new label. Hillier’s says it flowers in April but it has already been out here for a month and is now going over. The plant is very quick growing and already 4-5ft tall with a similar spread in just a few (three?) years.
Buddleia crispa var. farreri
Buddleia crispa var. farreri
Buddleia crispa var. farreri
Buddleia crispa var. farreri
A very fine Camellia ‘Drama Girl’ on the drive is just about full out. Ten to twelve feet tall with a similar spread after circa 25 years and in a windy situation.
Camellia ‘Drama Girl’
Camellia ‘Drama Girl’
Camellia ‘Drama Girl’
Camellia ‘Drama Girl’
As expected this huge clump of white Rhododendron arboreum is 25% dead and the rest will succumb to old age soon.
Rhododendron arboreum
Rhododendron arboreum
Another clump nearby is fine and flowering away. Did Asia collect seed of this last year I wonder? Probably still time to find seeds in last year’s seed heads if she did not.
Another clump
Another clump
First single flower on Magnolia ‘Avocet’ is quite nicely imbued with pink but still another dullish white really. This is a 2003 hybrid between Magnolia x veitchii ‘Isca’ and Magnolia x soulangeana so it should become a huge tree eventually. One for Burncoose to propagate and stock in due course.
Magnolia ‘Avocet’
Magnolia ‘Avocet’
Magnolia ‘Avocet’
Magnolia ‘Avocet’
Amomyrtus luma (formerly Myrtus lechleriana) is coming out as a 25ft tall tree above Orchid House Nursery.
Amomyrtus luma
Amomyrtus luma
Amomyrtus luma
Amomyrtus luma
Magnolia ‘Phelan Bright’ is listed as a Gresham hybrid but I seem to remember Jim Gardiner telling me that there was more to it than this. It perhaps looks more like a fairly decent Magnolia campbellii ‘Alba Group’ to me and certainly has that growth habit.
Magnolia ‘Phelan Bright’
Magnolia ‘Phelan Bright’
Magnolia ‘Phelan Bright’
Magnolia ‘Phelan Bright’
Magnolia ‘Phelan Bright’
Magnolia ‘Phelan Bright’
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’ is just opening and the flowers will open out flat which is the great attribute of this Japanese magnolia. So far it does not look to be going to grow too big. A ‘must’ for a smaller garden.
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’
Magnolia pseudokobus ‘Kubushi-modoki’
Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’ has sprung out in the sunshine this week. Firmly in bud last Sunday.
Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’
Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’
New fronds on a tree fern are already 4ft or more long.
tree fern
tree fern
This is a Magnolia x veitchii seedling from the Cholipo Arboretum in South Korea. It is in an imposing place and should develop into a huge and very visible tree.
Magnolia x veitchii seedling
Magnolia x veitchii seedling
Magnolia x veitchii seedling
Magnolia x veitchii seedling
Magnolia ‘Sweet Merlot’ is just out nearby and developing into a fine tree visible from the castle lawn.
Magnolia ‘Sweet Merlot’
Magnolia ‘Sweet Merlot’
Magnolia ‘Sweet Merlot’
Magnolia ‘Sweet Merlot’
Magnolia ‘Sweet Merlot’
Magnolia ‘Sweet Merlot’

2019 – CHW
A trip to the greenhouses to see what new is out.The first full out patch of bluebells in the sun and not even April yet!

bluebells
bluebells
A young Magnolia ‘Cup Cake’ with its first two flowers in the frame. Nothing startling really.
Magnolia ‘Cup Cake’
Magnolia ‘Cup Cake’
Magnolia ‘Cup Cake’
Magnolia ‘Cup Cake’
Magnolia ‘Black Velvet’ is a surprising white with, I admit, a blackish velvety stem. Wrongly named? No idea as it is entirely new to me and not in any reference book.
Magnolia ‘Black Velvet’
Magnolia ‘Black Velvet’
Magnolia ‘Black Velvet’
Magnolia ‘Black Velvet’
Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Silver King’ was a gift from Windsor Great Park and John Anderson. No doubt it will get more silvery.
Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Silver King’
Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Silver King’
Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Silver King’
Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Silver King’
Rhododendron arboreum (pink form) by the greenhouses in a huge mature clump.
Rhododendron arboreum
Rhododendron arboreum
Rhododendron arboreum
Rhododendron arboreum
Attractive new growth on Salix moupinense.
Salix moupinense
Salix moupinense
Salix moupinense
Salix moupinense
A few lower flowers on Magnolia x veitchii ‘Isca’, the white form. The tree is so tall that one seldom gets close to a flower. The other tree is more white in flower than this one.
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Isca’
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Isca’
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Isca’
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Isca’

2018 – CHW
A garden tour in the evening with Evelyn Boscawen and Jonathon Jones. Jonathon literally just back from Canada and off the plane with no coat. Raining and cold.Stachyurus praecox ‘Joy Forever’. S. praecox has shorter and chubbier flower tassels than Stachyurus chinensis. Flowering properly here for the first time. The leaves are yellow variegated.
Stachyurus praecox ‘Joy Forever’
Stachyurus praecox ‘Joy Forever’
Stachyurus praecox ‘Joy Forever’
Stachyurus praecox ‘Joy Forever’
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’ was, thankfully, having a year off from flowering this year but a couple of solitary buds are about to open and appear undamaged.
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’
Magnolia sprengeri ‘Diva’
Prunus ‘Collingwood Ingram’ flowering for the first time here. A seedling of Prunus kursar but with much darker flowers. Raised in Belgium in 1979 and named in honour of Captain Collingwood Ingram who was the introducer of many Japanese cherries to UK cultivation.
Prunus ‘Collingwood Ingram’
Prunus ‘Collingwood Ingram’
Prunus ‘Collingwood Ingram’
Prunus ‘Collingwood Ingram’
Rhododendron gongshanense flowering for the first time that I have noticed here anyway. The pocket guide to rhodo species has no picture of a flower but says that the flowers are red? Not listed in Hillier’s. A recent introduction by the Cox family. The original label reads Rhododendron gongashanense which is presumably our spelling error or is this another species? The leaves look correct as far as the pocket guide goes. Another welcome new addition to the species collection.
Rhododendron gongshanense
Rhododendron gongshanense
Rhododendron gongshanense
Rhododendron gongshanense
Rhododendron gongshanense
Rhododendron gongshanense
Camellia x williamsii ‘Ladys Maid’ has attractive delicate flowers that hang down from its dense foliage. USA origin but well worth its place here. Makes a robust hedge/windbreak.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Ladys Maid’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Ladys Maid’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Ladys Maid’
Camellia x williamsii ‘Ladys Maid’
Two young plants of Camellia reticulata ‘Captain Rawes’ are nicely out now as our three old plants are nearly dead below The Pound. Stripped of most leaves in the wind I doubt they will now recover.
Camellia reticulata ‘Captain Rawes’
Camellia reticulata ‘Captain Rawes’
Camellia reticulata ‘Captain Rawes’
Camellia reticulata ‘Captain Rawes’
Rhododendron praestans just emerging on Sinogrande Walk. The colour fades to creamy white and becomes less exciting. Another plant on Rookery Path which is not showing yet.
Rhododendron praestans
Rhododendron praestans

2017 – CHW
Another sunny day. Only the third here for the whole month when I think about it.Rhododendron ‘Praecox’ is flowering much more profusely than usual and a very good form.
Rhododendron ‘Praecox’
Rhododendron ‘Praecox’
Rhododendron ‘Praecox’
Rhododendron ‘Praecox’
Rhododendron ‘Praecox’
Rhododendron ‘Praecox’
The Magnolia dawsoniana seedling outside the front arch is at its best.
Magnolia dawsoniana
Magnolia dawsoniana
Magnolia dawsoniana
Magnolia dawsoniana
Magnolia dawsoniana
Magnolia dawsoniana
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Wildcat’. Although a much smaller plant than the ‘Powder Puff’ we saw yesterday is the flower really that different? Just as nice but perhaps the flowers do not open out quite as much and perhaps not quite so many tepals?
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Wildcat’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Wildcat’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Wildcat’
Magnolia x loebneri ‘Wildcat’
Rhododendron canadense (dark form) just coming out. We planted three Rhododendron cumberlandense (another US species) alongside it last week.
Rhododendron canadense (dark form)
Rhododendron canadense (dark form)
Rhododendron canadense (dark form)
Rhododendron canadense (dark form)
The vile racist discrimination against Spanish bluebells is misplaced as I have said often before.
Here are a few half castes nearby which are nice enough too.
half castes
half castes
half castes
half castes
This supposedly dwarf growing forsythia on the lawn was given to me to treasure and propagate by a very elderly gardener who had selected it from a batch of seedlings which he had grown as a forsythia breeder. It was at least 30 years ago and it is very dwarfish as you can see although whether it is indeed worth a name is anyone’s guess? We should propagate anyway. I must check the planting records for more information on the grower.
dwarf growing forsythia
dwarf growing forsythia
dwarf growing forsythia
dwarf growing forsythia

2016 – CHW
A ghastly day of high wind and constant rain. Not a day for photography or the garden Easter egg hunt organised for visiting children. The wind is SW so not too much damage to the magnolias in the aftermath. It is going to be a very poor visitor weekend which will cost us dearly in revenue terms.

2015 – CHW
Garden tour with Anna Lisa De’Ath, editor of Land Love magazine, and some shooting clients/friends who appear with their new two year old labrador bitch. This is too much for our six male dog pack in spring and the tour is disrupted by mass (attempted) rape while the bitch runs for cover toppling the owners and everyone else in the process.  Below the Magnolia veitchii the orgy has to be ended.  Not sure if this is what Land Love magazine is all about or whether dogs or plants will get a mention. Photography censored.
MAGNOLIA Vulcan
MAGNOLIA ‘Vulcan’

Magnolia ‘Vulcan’  is hardly showing colour at Caerhays but is full out at Burncoose as Anna Lisa gets the full love in tour. In New Zealand ‘Vulcan’ is a large erect flower with a reddish hue and is as well thought of as ‘Lanarth’. In the UK it is slow growing with a unique rose like flower from which the tepals uncurl. It is also a light-medium pink as it opens darkening later.For years there has been debate about whether the New Zealander’s had muddled the labelling on the plants sent to the UK. However the plant at Burncoose is now starting to get ‘true’ flowers at the very top of the plant and others are experiencing this too. So current thinking is that the New Zealand ozone hole and/or the tribulations of transporting the plants 12,000 miles bare rooted has caused this discrepancy in the plants’ performance between the two hemispheres. This is not the same issue as with New Zealand ‘Lanarth’ and New Zealand campbellii ‘Alba’ set against the true forms mentioned earlier!

1997 – FJW
First two days of rain since about March 3rd and least good this year have been the Camellias.

1988 – FJW
Very mild winter continues – Magnolia veitchii out – Oaks, Nothofagus Procera, some acers in leaf. Open day 1320 people came – warm fine day in defiance of prophecy. Bad mildew in heart of wood. Bulldozer done.

1967 – FJW
Most of the above had been planted out permanently by this date.

1960 – FJW
1st of our new Rho seedlings planted out in Orchid House nursery.

1951 – CW
Magnolia Diva about its best, also big Robustas and most of young ones. Large Mollicomata not out but others at their best. Campbellii the same but later than Robusta. Daffodils late and ground very wet, still hail showing. Blood Reds going over, also some of Saluenensis hybrids. Pink Auklandii hybrids coming out. Ririei still nice. Michelia only just showing colour. Lutescens very fine for weeks and ciliatum. One Lapageria flower.

1924 – JCW
This is very near 1914. The best Rhodo’s are the Hippophaeoides set but frost and the cold of May 1923 leaves bare of Rhodo bloom. Rho fargesii is very good.

1914 – JCW
R barbatum going over, also some Thomsonii x Arboreum hybrids. Mrs Butler x Arboreums are very good. Daffs have been much knocked about, show is in four days time. Many Reticulatas open, Lady Clare is going over. R calophytum from Coombe Wood opens. Pyrus caloneura open.

1902 – JCW
Jacko open and all the above without forcing but it is cold and slow weather.

1901 – JCW
The above show colour except G Bell, have picked a C J Backhouse.

1900 – JCW
Have put under glass to open Emperor, Empress, Horsfieldii, Victoria, G Bell as all showing colour.

One thought on “26th March

  1. Charles,
    Enjoyed your diary, looking forward to reading the early entries. Sky bracing herself for the next encounter in October!
    Alan and Eileen

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