2nd 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

A trip to the greenhouses to look for new plants which I had not (in the main) seen before.

Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ just coming out on a wall. The whole plant was cut back hard to four main stems but has reshot well. This is however its first decent flowering since the cutback.

Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'
Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’
Rosa banksiae 'Lutea'
Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’
The stock plant of Berberidopsis beckleri is now in a shady corner on the top wall in shelter. It is not a climber as such but we can train it up the wall in time I hope.
Berberidopsis beckleri
Berberidopsis beckleri
Hydrangea anomala spp. quelpartensis is a dwarfish semi-climbing or creeping hydrangea which the nursery once stocked and could now easily do again.
Hydrangea anomala spp. quelpartensis
Hydrangea anomala spp. quelpartensis
Hydrangea anomala spp. quelpartensis
Hydrangea anomala spp. quelpartensis
Quercus palustris ‘Flaming Suzy’ presumably performs in the autumn or have I missed a spring show?
Quercus palustris ‘Flaming Suzy’
Quercus palustris ‘Flaming Suzy’
Quercus palustris ‘Flaming Suzy’
Quercus palustris ‘Flaming Suzy’
Corylopsis spicata ‘Golden Spring’ living up to its name.
Corylopsis spicata ‘Golden Spring’
Corylopsis spicata ‘Golden Spring’
Corylopsis spicata ‘Golden Spring’
Corylopsis spicata ‘Golden Spring’
Staphylea colchica ‘Black Jack’ was a gift from a Swiss nursery friend. A new one for the Staphylea collection and well worth propagating by the look of it.
Staphylea colchica ‘Black Jack’
Staphylea colchica ‘Black Jack’
Staphylea colchica ‘Black Jack’
Staphylea colchica ‘Black Jack’
Quercus yunnanensis with a new set of leaves.
Quercus yunnanensis
Quercus yunnanensis
Quercus yunnanensis
Quercus yunnanensis
Illicium merrillianum with good new growth.
Illicium merrillianum
Illicium merrillianum
Extraordinary male and female flowers on show on Akebia longeracemosa.
Akebia longeracemosa
Akebia longeracemosa
Akebia longeracemosa
Akebia longeracemosa
Vaccinum ovatum full out beside the greenhouses.
Vaccinum ovatum
Vaccinum ovatum
Vaccinum ovatum
Vaccinum ovatum
Vaccinum ovatum
Vaccinum ovatum
Ilex spinigera with berries forming on a young cutting recently potted up.
Ilex spinigera
Ilex spinigera
New growth on Abies forrestii var. georgii. The new Hillier’s says this name should be var. smithii. Very slow growing and squat in habit so far.
Abies forrestii var. georgii. (var. smithii)
Abies forrestii var. georgii. (var. smithii)
Trachycarpus princeps with light bluish new foliage. Looks too tender perhaps for us.
Trachycarpus princeps
Trachycarpus princeps
Hydrangea sargentiana ‘Gold Rush’ is a standout plant in May! They will need dappled shade when planted out next spring for this effect to last well.
Hydrangea sargentiana ‘Gold Rush’
Hydrangea sargentiana ‘Gold Rush’
Hydrangea sargentiana ‘Gold Rush’
Hydrangea sargentiana ‘Gold Rush’
Deutzia subulata flowering nicely. Another newish deutzia (1981) introduction from China to propagate on for the catalogue soon.
Deutzia subulata
Deutzia subulata
Deutzia subulata
Deutzia subulata
Deutzia subulata
Deutzia subulata
Deutzia subulata
Deutzia subulata
Aesculus x mississipiensis with three flowers (properly Aesculus x bushii in the new Hillier’s).
Aesculus x mississipiensis
Aesculus x mississipiensis
Aesculus x mississipiensis
Aesculus x mississipiensis
Asia has propagated a fine batch of Ilex cornuta which can go into the next year’s nursery catalogue.
Ilex cornuta
Ilex cornuta
Magnolia fraseri var. pyramidalis with its first two flowers here. The old plants of M. fraseri which died out 15 to 20 years ago only flowered (yellowish) much later in the summer. Very odd mix of green, yellow and white in the two buds. Exciting to see them fully open in a few days.
Magnolia fraseri var. pyramidalis
Magnolia fraseri var. pyramidalis
Magnolia fraseri var. pyramidalis
Magnolia fraseri var. pyramidalis
The Daphnephyllum macropodum on the drive which I thought was nearly dead has put on some new growth and flowers!
Daphnephyllum macropodum
Daphnephyllum macropodum
Rhododendron ‘Assaye’ full out all over at 30-40ft tall in a clump.
Rhododendron ‘Assaye’
Rhododendron ‘Assaye’
Rhododendron ‘Assaye’
Rhododendron ‘Assaye’

2019 – CHW
To Exbury for a Garden Society tour and lunch in Exbury’s centenary year.

On the tables were superb displays:

‘Douggie Bettridge’ (fortunei x ‘Jalisco’)

‘Douggie Bettridge’ (fortunei x ‘Jalisco’)
‘Douggie Bettridge’ (fortunei x ‘Jalisco’)
‘Charlotte de Rothschild’ (fortunei subsp. discolor x ‘St Keverne’)
‘Charlotte de Rothschild’ (fortunei subsp. discolor x ‘St Keverne’)
‘Charlotte de Rothschild’ (fortunei subsp. discolor x ‘St Keverne’)
‘Naomi Paris’ (‘Aurora’ x fortunei 1926)
‘Naomi Paris’ (‘Aurora’ x fortunei 1926)
‘Naomi Paris’ (‘Aurora’ x fortunei 1926)
‘Hawk Crest’ (wardii x ‘Lady Bessborough’ 1940)
‘Hawk Crest’ (wardii x ‘Lady Bessborough’ 1940)
‘Hawk Crest’ (wardii x ‘Lady Bessborough’ 1940)
‘Gibraltar Bastion’ (‘Bibbani’ x elliottii 1939)
‘Gibraltar Bastion’ (‘Bibbani’ x elliottii 1939)
‘Gibraltar Bastion’ (‘Bibbani’ x elliottii 1939)
‘Ayesha’ (discolor x arboreum 1926)
‘Ayesha’ (discolor x arboreum 1926)
‘Ayesha’ (discolor x arboreum 1926)
‘Ilam Cream’ (loderi x ?)
‘Ilam Cream’ (loderi x ?)
‘Ilam Cream’ (loderi x ?)
‘Jessica Rothschild’ (decorum x hotei)
‘Jessica Rothschild’ (decorum x hotei)
‘Jessica Rothschild’ (decorum x hotei)
On the garden tour some notable (non rhododendron) plants in this amazing rhododendron garden:
Platanus orientalis – the original trunk and suckers which have now fallen sideways on this extremely elderly tree.
Platanus orientalis
Platanus orientalis
Platanus orientalis
Platanus orientalis
Cornus hongkongensis with bronzy new growth and flowers forming. A bit more colour in the new growth than in our tree of this species?
Cornus hongkongensis
Cornus hongkongensis
Cornus hongkongensis
Cornus hongkongensis
Laurelia serrata in flower which I had not seen before.
Laurelia serrata
Laurelia serrata
The very rare and record tree – Fokienia hodginsii which I had admired at Exbury twice before.
Fokienia hodginsii
Fokienia hodginsii
Fokienia hodginsii
Fokienia hodginsii
Sorbus harrowiana – in flower. Another new one to me although we have planted this.
Sorbus harrowiana
Sorbus harrowiana
All our old plants of Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ have died out but here was a superb clump.
Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’
Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’
Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’
Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’
The new Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’ which (unusually for a Davidia) flowers at a very young age. This plant was 6-8ft tall with 20 to 25 handkerchiefs.
Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’
Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’
Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’
Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’
Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’
Davidia involucrata ‘Sonoma’
At one end of the front of the house an elderly Diospyros kaki in flower but with old fruits from last season still in place. The tree has fallen and layered itself over many decades. Only Roy Lancaster could positively identify it.
Diospyros kaki
Diospyros kaki
Diospyros kaki
Diospyros kaki
Diospyros kaki
Diospyros kaki
Halesia monticola in full flower. Better flowers I think than Halesia carolina.
Halesia monticola
Halesia monticola
The presentation to Lionel de Rothschild.
Lionel de Rothschild
Lionel de Rothschild

2018 – CHW
A trip with Jaimie and Michael as planned to inspect what we have to cut down to reshoot after the cold spell. Not nearly as bad as I had feared. Some hoherias will need severe pruning, some not. We lightly pruned Carpinus kawakamii and Quercus insignis on the trip. The smaller michelia have dead buds but now new growth is thankfully starting. Lindera megaphylla, although leafless, is shooting all over the crown. Rhododendron stenaulum will be lightly pruned to start with but has more new shoots than we expected. It will get the Mount Congreve treatment to the stems. The drimys look much better than I feared and need a tidy up rather than hatstanding. The original Stewartia pteropeliolata has very few leaves left but is reshooting strongly. Even the ancient Camellia reticulatas which are leafless have new growth shoots breaking. Dung and fertiliser for them soon.

On the trip we, of course, get wildly distracted by nice new things.

Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’ is new to us and not bad for yet another yellow.

Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’
Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’
Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’
Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’
Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’
Magnolia ‘Honeybelle’
Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’ excellent as usual.
Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’
Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’
Magnolia ‘Lois’ as good as ever!
Magnolia ‘Lois’
Magnolia ‘Lois’
Magnolia ‘Lois’
Magnolia ‘Lois’
Magnolia ‘Lois’
Magnolia ‘Lois’
A fine young Rhododendron decorum full out.
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron decorum
Rhododendron ‘Beauty of Littleworth’ which we must layer and try aerial.
Rhododendron ‘Beauty of Littleworth’
Rhododendron ‘Beauty of Littleworth’
Rhododendron ‘Beauty of Littleworth’
Rhododendron ‘Beauty of Littleworth’
Our old Litsea japonica tree died and fell over in the recent gales. At the base it has several root suckers. Strangely the new growth on some of the suckers is bronze and, on others, light green as you can see. It is different from Neolitsea sericea (formerly Litsea glauca) although I remember the old tree being called Litsea glauca? Neolitsea sericea has very different new growth.
Litsea japonica
Litsea japonica
Litsea japonica
Litsea japonica
Litsea japonica
Litsea japonica
Litsea japonica
Litsea japonica
Ribes longiracemosa with its first extended flowers in the Isla Rose Plantation.
Ribes longiracemosa
Ribes longiracemosa
Magnolia ‘Green Bee’ is another good one. Nearly as good as ‘Lois’ and ‘Daphne’
Magnolia ‘Green Bee’
Magnolia ‘Green Bee’

2017 – CHW
The first cut of Kennel Close is now complete and it all looks very smart here. Two more cuts will probably be needed.
first cut of Kennel Close
first cut of Kennel Close
first cut of Kennel Close
first cut of Kennel Close
A big campaign to cut all the ivy out of the deciduous azaleas on the drive is well underway and well overdue! Some will be cut back to reshoot during the ivy removal. A few hydrangea clumps will have to go as well and one of them had to be spared for a bit as it contained a nest of fledgling long tailed tits.
nest of fledgling long tailed tits
nest of fledgling long tailed tits
At last some flower on the semi evergreen Polylepsis australis but it is not that impressive! Tiny greenish flowers with reddish anthers. The bark on the trunk is lovely though on its own and as good as Rhododendron cubittii or Rosa roxburgii.
Polylepsis australis
Polylepsis australis
Polylepsis australis
Polylepsis australis
Polylepsis australis
Polylepsis australis
A good show on Azalea ‘Hotspur Red’ with its orange flash beside the polylepsis.
Azalea ‘Hotspur Red’
Azalea ‘Hotspur Red’
Azalea ‘Hotspur Red’
Azalea ‘Hotspur Red’
A fine clump of Rhododendron canescens hidden away in the back of the drive. I did wonder if these were Rhododendron viscosum but think not because of the extreme length of the anthers and stamens in relation to the flower. A very delicate pink in the shade.
Rhododendron canescens
Rhododendron canescens
Rhododendron canescens
Rhododendron canescens
Rhododendron canescens
Rhododendron canescens
Magnolia ‘Sunsation’ in a more shady area than the one above the greenhouse. This won the cup for the best magnolia spray at Rosemoor 10 days ago. More yellow and brownish in colouring without the pinkish flash you get in full sun.
Magnolia ‘Sunsation’
Magnolia ‘Sunsation’
Magnolia ‘Sunsation’
Magnolia ‘Sunsation’
Magnolia ‘Sunsation’
Magnolia ‘Sunsation’

2016 – CHW
A tour with our Canadian cousins (originally from Muskoka) occupies half the day which is damp and overcast but the garden is not! Magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’ still has a few flowers out low down on this enormous tree.
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’
Magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’
A fine new clump of Azalea ‘Melina’ has semi double flowers and is quite a show – well worth propagating.
Azalea ‘Melina’
Azalea ‘Melina’
Azalea ‘Melina’
Azalea ‘Melina’
You cannot miss the scent of Rhododendron edgworthii x leucaspis on the main ride. One passes this a hundred times during the year without a glance but just now you have to stop!
Rhododendron edgworthii x leucaspis
Rhododendron edgworthii x leucaspis
A new plant of Rhododendron decorum (white form) flowers for the first time below Tin Garden.
Rhododendron decorum (white form)
Rhododendron decorum (white form)
Rhododendron decorum (white form)
Rhododendron decorum (white form)
Over the weekend I have finished the article for publication on ‘Michelia Puzzles’ about the naming and identification of our 90 year old michelias. Just the photographs to sort now. Here is the much newer Michelia ‘Mixed up Mess’ in flower properly. The petals turn in on themselves rather than opening flat. As michelias go not that exiting and quite a small flower.
Michelia ‘Mixed up Mess’
Michelia ‘Mixed up Mess’
Michelia ‘Mixed up Mess’
Michelia ‘Mixed up Mess’
An ancient white form of Rhododendron racemosum. Normally this is pink.
Rhododendron racemosum
Rhododendron racemosum
Rhododendron racemosum
Rhododendron racemosum
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’ is rushing into flower and will be well over by Chelsea. Another candidate is out far too early.
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’
The gorgeous scented Rhododendron ‘Ann Teese’ which we saw for the first time last year is again rather special. Staggeringly good.
Rhododendron pseudochrysanthemum is finally full out. The leaf undersides are more spectacular than the flower itself. It is normally a shy flowerer but not too bad today.
Rhododendron pseudochrysanthemum
Rhododendron pseudochrysanthemum
Rhododendron pseudochrysanthemum
Rhododendron pseudochrysanthemum
Then a complete surprise. A Magnolia campbellii ‘Peter Borlaise’ full out above Hovel Cart Road. A plant never seen in flower before but how can a Magnolia campbellii form really be out so late in the year? Close up, however, the buds and flowers do have a campbellii shape so this may be a rather special plant which merits more investigation and propagation. Peter Borlaise was the former head gardener at Lanhydrock.
Magnolia campbellii ‘Peter Borlaise’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Peter Borlaise’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Peter Borlaise’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Peter Borlaise’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Peter Borlaise’
Magnolia campbellii ‘Peter Borlaise’
Nearby a young Magnolia ‘Peachy’ has its first flowers. The big tree below Tin Garden is full out today. ‘Tropicana’ is a much more pleasing colour mix I think.
Magnolia ‘Peachy’
Magnolia ‘Peachy’
We have never really established the parentage of this startling big leafed rhododendron. The colour very quickly fades to creamy yellow which is hard to believe looking at it today. It may be Rhododendron hodgsonii but it is not quite pure. We showed it at Rosemoor last year but I cannot remember the expert’s conclusions.
big leafed rhododendron
big leafed rhododendron
big leafed rhododendron
big leafed rhododendron

As it rains we rush back home seeing:More overpowering clumps of Rhododendron edgworthii x leucaspis (Caerhays bred but not named)

Rhododendron edgworthii x leucaspis
Rhododendron edgworthii x leucaspis
Rhododendron edgworthii x leucaspis
Rhododendron edgworthii x leucaspis
A very pale form of Rhododendron augustinii looking delicate in the rain
Rhododendron augustinii
Rhododendron augustinii

The dwarf Rhododendron valentianum just coming out

Rhododendron valentianum
Rhododendron valentianum
2015 – CHW
A filthy day with strong wind. The plants are enjoying it.

A view over magnolias and rhododendrons at Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, UK
A view over magnolias and rhododendrons at Caerhays Castle, Cornwall, UK

2001 – FJW
The rain that had begun in mid September and kept going until May 1st. Record rain in many places.

1926 – JCW
Auklandii pure is going back fast and zuelanicum x not come out yet, the soulei x campylocarpum very very pretty. The Davidia not quite open.

1911 – JCW
Recurvas not open as much as in 1909. Daff crossing over. Montana ⅓ open and so Auklandii’s.

1909 – JCW
No recurvas yet, a little of Campylocarpum. Auklandii not quite, ⅓ cushion Iris, frost at night, nearly finished crossing.

1906 – JCW
All recurvas open and late recurvas seedling. Rhodo yunnanense, campylocarpum, thomsonii, falconeri, auklandii, royali, augustinii, dalhousii (nearly) etc, etc. Crimson Hookeri shows colour. Roses opening in beds. Cushion Iris nearly all out, and crossing mostly over.

1901 – JCW
Picked some recurvas, sent two fine Poet flowers to Appleshaw.

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