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’)
‘Charlotte de Rothschild’ (fortunei subsp. discolor x ‘St Keverne’)
‘Naomi Paris’ (‘Aurora’ x fortunei 1926)
‘Hawk Crest’ (wardii x ‘Lady Bessborough’ 1940)
‘Gibraltar Bastion’ (‘Bibbani’ x elliottii 1939)
‘Ayesha’ (discolor x arboreum 1926)
‘Ilam Cream’ (loderi x ?)
‘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.
Cornus hongkongensis with bronzy new growth and flowers forming. A bit more colour in the new growth than in our tree of this species?
Laurelia serrata in flower which I had not seen before.
The very rare and record tree – Fokienia hodginsii which I had admired at Exbury twice before.
Sorbus harrowiana – in flower. Another new one to me although we have planted this.
All our old plants of Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ have died out but here was a superb clump.
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.
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.
Halesia monticola in full flower. Better flowers I think than Halesia carolina.
The presentation to 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.
Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’ excellent as usual.
Magnolia ‘Lois’ as good as ever!
A fine young Rhododendron decorum full out.
Rhododendron ‘Beauty of Littleworth’ which we must layer and try aerial.
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.
Ribes longiracemosa with its first extended flowers in the Isla Rose Plantation.
Magnolia ‘Green Bee’ is another good one. Nearly as good as ‘Lois’ and ‘Daphne’
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.
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.
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.
A good show on Azalea ‘Hotspur Red’ with its orange flash beside the polylepsis.
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.
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.
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.
A fine new clump of Azalea ‘Melina’ has semi double flowers and is quite a show – well worth propagating.
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!
A new plant of Rhododendron decorum (white form) flowers for the first time below Tin Garden.
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.
An ancient white form of Rhododendron racemosum. Normally this is pink.
Rhododendron ‘Countess of Haddington’ is rushing into flower and will be well over by Chelsea. Another candidate is out far too early.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As it rains we rush back home seeing:More overpowering clumps of Rhododendron edgworthii x leucaspis (Caerhays bred but not named)
A very pale form of Rhododendron augustinii looking delicate in the rain
The dwarf Rhododendron valentianum just coming out
2015 – CHW
A filthy day with strong wind. The plants are enjoying it.
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.