16th May

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

I rather rate the economic journalist, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. He writes bluntly. Here are a few paragraphs from his recent article in The Telegraph which sit pretty comfortably with those of us trying to understand the COVID disaster within the “saintliness” of Florence Nightingale and the NHS. He refers to what a COVID cardiologist at a top London hospital wrote to him.

Every mistake that could have been made, was made. He likened the care home policy to the Siege of Caffa in 1346, that grim chapter of the Black Death when a Mongol army catapulted plague-ridden bodies over the walls
“Our policy was to let the virus rip and then ‘cocoon the elderly’,” he wrote. “You don’t know whether to laugh or cry when you contrast that with what we actually did. We discharged known, suspected, and unknown cases into care homes which were unprepared, with no formal warning that the patients were infected, no testing available, and no PPE to prevent transmission. We actively seeded this into the very population that was most vulnerable. We let people die without palliation. The official policy was not to visit care homes – and they didn’t (and still don’t). So, after infecting them with a disease that causes an unpleasant ending, we denied our elders access to a doctor and denied admission to hospital. Simple things like fluids, withheld. Effective palliation like syringe drivers, withheld.”
The public has yet to realise that the great quest for ventilators was worse than a red herring. The overuse of ventilators was itself killing people at a terrifying ratio.
“When the inquiry comes, it will show that many people died for lack of oxygen supply in hospitals, and this led to early intubation,” writes the doctor. “Boris survived because they gave him oxygen. High flow oxygen wasn’t available as a treatment option for all patients.”
By all means let’s clap NHS staff but are we implicitly also being asked to clap the managerial and bureaucratic structure responsible for these policies? Is it taboo to raise a whisper of criticism against the edifice?

[…]
“The striking thing is how consistently the Government failed, in every single element of the response, everywhere you turn (the Army excepted),” writes the doctor. “This is probably the most expensive series of errors in the country’s history.”
[…]
British exceptionalism has brought an exceptional outcome. We have both an eye-watering number of avoidable deaths and a staggering amount of avoidable economic damage.

The government may have got it all wrong (in Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s opinion) and will take the blame eventually but it was the NHS hospital administrators who chucked their elderly and senile patients into care homes and not Boris!

Lonicera serifera showing up well as a 4-5ft tall shrub. Delicate flowers that go from yellow to white.

Lonicera serifera
Lonicera serifera
A couple of groups of Rhododendron yakusimanum flowering prolifically on Burns Bank in dappled shade.
Rhododendron yakusimanum
Rhododendron yakusimanum
Rhododendron yakusimanum
Rhododendron yakusimanum
Rhododendron yakusimanum
Rhododendron yakusimanum
Rhododendron (Azalea) calendulaceum ‘Sandling orange-red form’ recently planted.
Rhododendron (Azalea) calendulaceum ‘Sandling orange-red form’
Rhododendron (Azalea) calendulaceum ‘Sandling orange-red form’
Rhododendron (Azalea) calendulaceum ‘Sandling orange-red form’
Rhododendron (Azalea) calendulaceum ‘Sandling orange-red form’
Viburnum rhytidophyllum (not Viburnum x pragense as I thought a few days ago) out and over in a week. V. x pragense has different flower heads.
Viburnum rhytidophyllum
Viburnum rhytidophyllum
A good young Rhododendron lindleyi in the Higher Quarry Nursery flowering for the first time.
Rhododendron lindleyi
Rhododendron lindleyi
A clump of Rhododendron tethropeplum is setting a lot of seed above Higher Quarry Nursery. One for Asia to collect in the autumn as I suspect these plants are nearing the end of their lives when they set seed like this.
Rhododendron tethropeplum
Rhododendron tethropeplum
A small newly planted clump of Rhododendron yunnanense.
Rhododendron yunnanense
Rhododendron yunnanense
Rhododendron yunnanense
Rhododendron yunnanense
Strangely Rhododendron floccigerum still has flowers several weeks after I first saw them.
Rhododendron floccigerum
Rhododendron floccigerum
I am stuck on the name of this rhododendron species. Pale yellow or nearly white with a hint of pink when open. Sadly not on the planting plans but close to other species from Alan Clarke.

rhododendron species
rhododendron species
rhododendron species
rhododendron species
rhododendron species
rhododendron species
Rhododendron decorum (NN 0907) flowering away. Pink in bud and a smaller flower than other forms here.
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
A good Embothrium in the distance above Hovel Cart Road.
Embothrium
Embothrium
Azalea ‘Corneille’ above Hovel Cart Road. The colour has bleached a bit in the sun.
Azalea ‘Corneille’
Azalea ‘Corneille’
Magnolia fraseri (when full out) does not look much different to the Magnolia fraseri var. pyramidata seen yesterday and is paler than Jim Gardiner’s picture in the Eisenhut book. I do not remember M. fraseri flowering this early even in a very early year.
Magnolia fraseri
Magnolia fraseri
Magnolia fraseri
Magnolia fraseri
The largest Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’ in flower at 30ft+.
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Rehderodendron kweichowense (WWJ 12019) flowering for the second time ever and rather more profusely.
Rehderodendron kweichowense
Rehderodendron kweichowense
Rehderodendron kweichowense
Rehderodendron kweichowense
Rehderodendron kweichowense
Rehderodendron kweichowense
Rehderodendron kweichowense
Rehderodendron kweichowense
Rhododendron ‘Tinkerbird’ three years on from planting. It has a more spreading habit than you expect when you first see it in a pot.
Rhododendron ‘Tinkerbird’
Rhododendron ‘Tinkerbird’
Rhododendron ‘Tinkerbird’
Rhododendron ‘Tinkerbird’
Rhododendron ‘Tinkerbird’
Rhododendron ‘Tinkerbird’
A good new bit of layering on Rhododendron griffithianum.
layering on Rhododendron griffithianum
layering on Rhododendron griffithianum
Rhododendron griffithianum have been toppled over a bit by the laurel hedge which was removed a few years ago.
Rhododendron griffithianum
Rhododendron griffithianum
Rhododendron griffithianum
Rhododendron griffithianum
Rhododendron griffithianum
Rhododendron griffithianum
Magnolia caveana (NJM 13.037) with a good set of new growth. It has been slow to get going in a sheltered spot.
Magnolia caveana
Magnolia caveana
Magnolia dealbata still in tight bud. Even in this very early year I would not expect to see it out for another three weeks.
Magnolia dealbata
Magnolia dealbata
Camellia ‘Bokuhan’ still has decent flowers in full shade but they are now paler in colour.
Camellia ‘Bokuhan
Camellia ‘Bokuhan
No idea what this small multi-stemmed small tree is. Best guess is a malus. We had lost the label when we planted this group of three.
multi-stemmed small tree
multi-stemmed small tree
multi-stemmed small tree
multi-stemmed small tree
Pinus patula had a trim up yesterday to stop it denying light to other rhododendrons.
Pinus patula
Pinus patula
An odd unnamed deciduous one in Old Park.
unnamed deciduous
unnamed deciduous
Azalea ‘Soir de Paris’ as a big clump on Bond Street.
Azalea ‘Soir de Paris’
Azalea ‘Soir de Paris’
Azalea ‘Soir de Paris’
Azalea ‘Soir de Paris’

2019 – CHW
Collecting and choosing the cut stuff for Chelsea between meetings.

All the Enkianthus species and varieties are either over or too far out already to cut as I expected. The exception is Enkianthus hirtinervus which seems perfect. We cut one huge spray from the clump of three plants.

Enkianthus hirtinervus
Enkianthus hirtinervus
Enkianthus hirtinervus
Enkianthus hirtinervus
Along the way Magnolia ‘Judy Zuk’ is now full out. An odd mix of colours but not unattractive.
Magnolia ‘Judy Zuk’
Magnolia ‘Judy Zuk’
Magnolia ‘Judy Zuk’
Magnolia ‘Judy Zuk’
One forgets how plain the flowers are of the dwarf Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Wallaby’.
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Wallaby’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Wallaby’
The first lot of Caerhays cut stuff in the game larder by the cold store. There was something rather pungent in the cold store left by the keepers so we have left the flowers outside the store for the moment.
Caerhays cut stuff
Caerhays cut stuff
This dwarfish and compact Trachycarpus in Kennel Close has its first flower. This variety takes its name from a volcano in Italy but, in the haste for Chelsea, I do not have time to look it up.
Trachycarpus
Trachycarpus
Trachycarpus
Trachycarpus
Loading the last lorry and away to Chelsea once again.
Roy & last lorry load Chelsea
Roy & last lorry load Chelsea

2018 – CHW
The two huge branches of Schefflera macrophylla look impressive but will they fit as they are onto the lorry?
Schefflera macrophylla
Schefflera macrophylla
Schefflera macrophylla
Schefflera macrophylla
The cut stuff for Chelsea is assembling beside the cold store. It is cool and light rain which is good.
cut stuff for Chelsea
cut stuff for Chelsea

More or less complete now.

More or less complete now
More or less complete now
The lorry is full and ready to hit the road to Chelsea. It will arrive we hope at 7.00am.
The lorry is full
The lorry is full

Tim, Jaimie, Michael and Rob

Tim, Jaimie, Michael and Rob
Tim, Jaimie, Michael and Rob

2017 – CHW
Plenty of rain over the weekend has perked the garden up but hurried the end of the rhododendron flowering season. There will be plenty of deciduous azaleas still to cut for Chelsea on Thursday.Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’ is now full out outside the arch. A young plant which will flower more in maturity but these all make a good addition to the flowering spectacle of the drive as the azaleas approach their best.
Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’
Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’
We looked at Fagus sylvatica ‘Aurea Pendula’ last week. This is Fagus sylvatica ‘Zlatia’ by the Four in Hand. The new yellow leaves glow in the sun and the beech ‘mast’ is forming. Very attractive. I wonder why this is not just named ‘Aurea’?
Fagus sylvatica ‘Zlatia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Zlatia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Zlatia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Zlatia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Zlatia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Zlatia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’ – one of my first purchases from David Knuckey and the old South Down Nurseries 35 to 40 years ago. Silly place to have put it with hindsight! Planted at the same time as ‘Zlatia’.
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’
Fagus sylvatica ‘Asplenifolia’
When we cleared Sinogrande Walk of ponticum this single surviving Rhododendron sinogrande was fully exposed to the wind. To my surprise it has survived and is now even flowering. The laurel hedge now gives it some protection.
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
Our last surviving old Styrax japonicus is losing its crown and will soon join the other two recent casualties. You can see that we have cut off all the side shoots from the base of the trunk which will prolong its life by a year or two perhaps? What an odd ‘nobbly’ trunk!
Styrax japonicus
Styrax japonicus
Styrax japonicus
Styrax japonicus
The Rosa bankiae ‘Lutea’ which we pruned hard and shaped in the winter is reshooting vigorously.
Rosa bankiae ‘Lutea’
Rosa bankiae ‘Lutea’
The newspapers have been full of a 16ft tall Echium pininana grown at the Welsh Botanic Gardens. Theirs was grown inside of course so, even though early into flower, it is still no different to ours featured here which are out too as we saw a few weeks ago. We have cut a stem for Chelsea to see if it will last in water. This is doubtful but we have never tried before. What we do know is that the three plants in the show tunnel are already over. Quite whether any of our echiums are over 16ft tall is something I cannot be bothered with but pretty close I suspect even if not this particular clump. One got blown over recently by the Library window. Amazing blue flowers which then individually fade to light pinkish.
Echium pininana
Echium pininana
Echium pininana
Echium pininana
Echium pininana
Echium pininana

2016 – CHW

We have placed our and planted all the largest plants from Crug and nearly all the French large camellias without too much problem finding spaces although it is very dry and far too late to be planting out really. Now the quest for more cut stuff for Chelsea.First thing this morning we loaded the huge Rhododendron sinogrande and a large Rhododendron yakusimanum dug from the garden in tight bud onto the first lorry going to Chelsea. Denis (with a beard) was just back to work with his new hip well into his 70s to tell us how to load them and some cut greenery ‘properly’. Denis has worked at Burncoose for well over 40 years and seen plenty of Chelsea loadings before.

first lorry going to Chelsea
first lorry going to Chelsea
first lorry going to Chelsea
first lorry going to Chelsea
first lorry going to Chelsea
first lorry going to Chelsea
Staphylea colchica was looking especially good but far too far out to cut for Chelsea. Staphylea pinnata nearby is nearly over and far less floriferous.
Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica
Staphylea colchica
Delighted to find Rhododendron ‘Corona’ full out. I first saw this in Corona North’s garden at Altimont in Eire near Tullow some 15 years ago. Bred by her father I believe. Did not know we had it!
Rhododendron ‘Corona’
Rhododendron ‘Corona’
Rhododendron ‘Corona’
Rhododendron ‘Corona’
Rhododendron ‘Corona’
Rhododendron ‘Corona’
The true and original Enkianthus cernuus rubens is out and just may make it for Chelsea as it is still in tight bud.
Enkianthus cernuus rubens
Enkianthus cernuus rubens
‘Pheasant Eye’ narcissus still out in full shade in mid-May above the cash point! And in such an early year! Amazing.
‘Pheasant Eye’ narcissus
‘Pheasant Eye’ narcissus
Now off to Burncoose to supervise the cut stuff from the garden there to cut on Wednesday. This year we will be struggling to fill the stand without really good cut material.
2015 – CHW
Another bit of cheating but it fills a gap.  Here are a few things well worth searching for in the garden today although I saw them last Thursday.Rhododendron ‘Assaye’ – the old clump is nearly defunct by Crinodendron Hedge but the clump on the drive is late out but thriving and needs propagating.  It is a Rhododendron calophytum x Rhododendron sutchuanense hybrid bred by JCW and registered by my father in 1963.
RHODODENDRON 'Assaye' 02
RHODODENDRON ‘Assaye’
RHODODENDRON 'Assaye'
RHODODENDRON ‘Assaye’
HALESIA diptera
HALESIA diptera

Halesia diptera – this is a shrub with a twisted spreading habit and is said to be a shy flowerer.  I have not seen this plant in flower at Caerhays before but it does not look very shy!

SORBUS reducta
SORBUS reducta

Sorbus reducta (top-grafted) – this is basically a creeping, suckering, rockery plant but here top-grafted so it has remained the same size for 20 years.

SORBUS 'Hilling Spire'
SORBUS ‘Hilling Spire’
SORBUS 'Hilling Spire' 02
SORBUS ‘Hilling Spire’

Sorbus ‘Hilling Spire’ – this plant was a present from Trevor (Yorkshire) Green who grafts sorbus as a sideline and has introduced many fine new clones and species to the garden.  Most of them are on the drive and the berries can be a picture in autumn unless the pheasants get at them first.

SYRINGA vulgaris 'Primrose' 02
SYRINGA vulgaris ‘Primrose’
SYRINGA vulgaris 'Primrose'
SYRINGA vulgaris ‘Primrose’

Syringa vulgaris ‘Primrose’ – I do not really like common (vulgaris) lilacs because they remind me of Chelsea time.  There have always been one or two on the drive and below the tower on the lawn.  This one is not too bad and now around 15 years old.  The ‘primrose’ pretty quickly fades to white and the scent reminds me of toilet air freshener.  How vulgar is that!

ALECTRYON excelsus
ALECTRYON excelsus

Alectryon excelsus – this unusual and supposedly evergreen tree has extraordinary and rather beautiful new growth.  It is in a coldish spot and has struggled after being hit by a fir branch.

1995 – FJW
Rain came after 6-8 weeks of good weather – the Garden seldom better – which included the Camellias. Michelias hung on well.

1992 – FJW
Flower Show party and hot weather started.

1954 – CW
Still very dry and rain wanted. Odd flowers still on Mag veitchii, parviflora, Wilsoni, sinensis coming out. Auklandii at best also Saffron Queen and many Azaleas. A few daffodils as well as Recurvas. Peonies as Lutea beginning and an odd rose bud – single white Camellia and some Japonica and Saluenensis left.

1917 – JCW
The Auklandii just about its best and 50 other species more or less in flower. Zealanicum’s would be good but are frosted. Very few azaleas. It is very dry for May.

1907 – JCW
I pavonia and Korolkowi both at their best. No more daffs, it has been a very good season for them for more than two months.

1904 – JCW
Picked the first Prian seed from [? ] Forte.

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