My granddaughter Lamorna goes collecting pheasant eggs (aged 2).
The rainstorms brought down a conifer on Laundry Hill.
Weigela florida ‘Variegata’ full out but with a few branches reverting to green.
Below 4-in-Hand this clump of rhododendrons came from Trewarthenick are were, I am told, bred there. No name!
A good crop of flowers on Rehderodendron macrocarpum.
Magnolia ‘Coral Lake’ is not quite as dull as I had thought when I look closely.
Paulownia kawakamii just coming out in Kennel Close. It will be the best thing in the garden in a week or so. Paulownia tomentosa ‘Lilacina’ is also out but nowhere near as good as this.
The first time this young Embothrium has flowered on the top of the bank above Roger’s Quarry. A ghastly dry site with very poor stoney soil. Just what they like!
Lashings of rain have spoilt Rhododendron crassum (and many others).
Magnolia sieboldii ‘Michiko Renge’ nicely out.
Magnolia sieboldii sinensis also out beside it.
Magnolia ‘Silk Road’ bashed up by wind and rain but some flower buds still fine.
At last a true to name Staphylea bumalda (BSWJ 11053)
Another poor form of this species. Rhododendron orbiculare. Small flowers and smallish leaves.
2022 – CHW
A rush to see things in flower before the distraction of the Chelsea publicity work. The lorry has been loaded over the last two days for the off to London tomorrow, a week before the show actually opens. The team this year for the smaller wall stand are Christine, Molly and Justin.
A nice group of Rhododendron floccigerum on from the front gate.
Four species of Carpinus well into leaf on Sinogrande Walk.
Carpinus henryana ‘Simplicidentata’ (a gift from Bluebell Nursery) – now that the huge suckers from the graft have been removed we can see the real thing.
Carpinus laxiflora has quickly made a large tree. Planted 2009.
Carpinus x schuschaenensis – also a large tree. Planted 2009.
Carpinus nimopli – name may be a misspelling as I cannot find it. A very dwarf growing species anyway.
Acer campestre ‘Postelense’ with its reddish seedpods already fully developed. If it had yellowish leaves initially these have long since faded.
Malus ‘Comtesse de Paris’ is another striking five year old plant in the Isla Rose already performing well. I first saw this variety trained against a wall at Llanover House.
The rhododendron species flowering in the recently planted former Orchid House Nursery bed:
Rhododendron smirinowii flowering for the second year. Flowers hidden in the foliage.
Rhododendron neriiflorum ssp. phaedropum with multiple flowers this year.
Magnolia ‘March till Frost’ still covered in flowers albeit faded in colour.
2021 – CHW
As so often a trip to inspect new plants in the greenhouse on Sunday.This is a bought in Ilex colchica in flower. Susyn Andrews needs to confirm its identity next weekend. Another new species of holly to try here.
First flowers, and impressive ones, on Crataegus crassicarpa.
Vallea stipularis just into flower. Forgot to plant these out this year.
Ilex fargesii subsp. fargesii var. fargesii (what a daft name!). It does not look like a holly so naming to confirm by Susyn here also.
This Metrosideros robusta has been grown on under cover for several years but has now been planted outside exactly where its huge predecessor once grew and flowered well.
Prostanthera calycinca – the limestone mint bush – with its first flowers here. Not sure where this came from but clearly a greenhouse plant.
Hemiptelea davidii with viscous spines (Zelkova davidii). Introduced to the UK in 1908 but native also to Korea.
Chorizema cordatum now nicely out. I bought this a few weeks ago.
Corylopsis spicata ‘Golden Spring’ with its new leaves as wonderful as ever. A difficult plant to get properly established in the garden as I have found to my cost.
Morus cathayana with catkin flowers. Entirely new here as far as I know but a Wilson 1907 introduction.
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.
A couple of groups of Rhododendron yakusimanum flowering prolifically on Burns Bank in dappled shade.
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.
A good young Rhododendron lindleyi in the Higher Quarry Nursery flowering for the first time.
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.
A small newly planted clump of Rhododendron yunnanense.
Strangely Rhododendron floccigerum still has flowers several weeks after I first saw them.
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 decorum (NN 0907) flowering away. Pink in bud and a smaller flower than other forms here.
A good Embothrium in the distance above Hovel Cart Road.
Azalea ‘Corneille’ above Hovel Cart Road. The colour has bleached a bit in the sun.
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.
The largest Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’ in flower at 30ft+.
Rehderodendron kweichowense (WWJ 12019) flowering for the second time ever and rather more profusely.
Rhododendron ‘Tinkerbird’ three years on from planting. It has a more spreading habit than you expect when you first see it in a pot.
A good new bit of layering on Rhododendron griffithianum.
Rhododendron griffithianum have been toppled over a bit by the laurel hedge which was removed a few years ago.
Magnolia caveana (NJM 13.037) with a good set of new growth. It has been slow to get going in a sheltered spot.
Magnolia dealbata still in tight bud. Even in this very early year I would not expect to see it out for another three weeks.
Camellia ‘Bokuhan’ still has decent flowers in full shade but they are now paler in colour.
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.
Pinus patula had a trim up yesterday to stop it denying light to other rhododendrons.
An odd unnamed deciduous one in Old Park.
Azalea ‘Soir de Paris’ as a big clump on Bond Street.
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.
Along the way Magnolia ‘Judy Zuk’ is now full out. An odd mix of colours but not unattractive.
One forgets how plain the flowers are of the dwarf 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.
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.
Loading the last lorry and away to Chelsea once again.
2018 – CHW
The two huge branches of Schefflera macrophylla look impressive but will they fit as they are onto the lorry?
The cut stuff for Chelsea is assembling beside the cold store. It is cool and light rain which is good.
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.
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.
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 ‘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’.
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.
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!
The Rosa bankiae ‘Lutea’ which we pruned hard and shaped in the winter is reshooting vigorously.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The true and original Enkianthus cernuus rubens is out and just may make it for Chelsea as it is still in tight bud.
‘Pheasant Eye’ narcissus still out in full shade in mid-May above the cash point! And in such an early year! Amazing.
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.
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 (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’ – 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’ – 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 – 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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