30th 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

2021 – CHW

A warm and dry bank holiday weekend. An annoying brief power cut has upset the incubators, computers and camera systems.

Only a very few plants of the Crinodendron hookerianum hedge as it once was remain. Even the replacements largely failed as the site is too cold and overshadowed today.

Crinodendron hookerianum
Crinodendron hookerianum
Tristaniopsis laurina into new growth one year on from planting. The one put out at Burncoose was squashed by a tree and the nursery plants shed a lot of leaf in the cold in tunnels this spring.
Tristaniopsis laurina
Tristaniopsis laurina
Further confirmation that the flowers of Halesia macgregorii are quite small and less standout than other species.
Halesia macgregorii
Halesia macgregorii
Interesting new growth on Nyssa leptophylla.
Nyssa leptophylla
Nyssa leptophylla
The double flowered and ancient Azalea ‘Narcissiflorum’ just out.
Azalea ‘Narcissiflorum’
Azalea ‘Narcissiflorum’
Syringa josikaea just showing too.
Syringa josikaea
Syringa josikaea
Mixed colours of aquilegia outside the old village school.
aquilegia
aquilegia
Azalea ‘Whitethroat’ full out on the drive.
Azalea ‘Whitethroat’
Azalea ‘Whitethroat’
Rhododendron (Azalea) kiusianum has very few flowers this year.
Rhododendron (Azalea) kiusianum
Rhododendron (Azalea) kiusianum
Jaimie has discovered that a (French) partridge has laid a clutch of 13 eggs near the greenhouses. The same pair roosted together in the shelter of the side door earlier in the spring cold and gales, I suspect, much to the dogs’ annoyance. Odd for them to be nesting in a woodland context but, not altogether stupid, if they are to have any chance of raising a successful brood. A one in a hundred chance sadly.
eggs
eggs

2020 – CHW
A visit to Burncoose reveals the drive now cleared of the fallen Turkey oak. Still a burn up of the twigs to complete.
Fallen Turkey oak
Fallen Turkey oak
It narrowly missed a large Magnolia sieboldii on the other side of the drive but skimmed an Azalea ‘Amoena’.
Magnolia sieboldii
Magnolia sieboldii
Magnolia ‘Charles Coates’ full out on the Burncoose drive nearby (Magnolia sieboldii x Magnolia tripetala).
Magnolia ‘Charles Coates’
Magnolia ‘Charles Coates’
Magnolia ‘Charles Coates’
Magnolia ‘Charles Coates’
Magnolia ‘Charles Coates’
Magnolia ‘Charles Coates’
My sister in law and niece line up for a bit of packing duty with Andrew as has been normal throughout lockdown.
My sister in law and niece
My sister in law and niece
An amazingly good Crinodendron hookerianum in Carnon Downs.
Crinodendron hookerianum
Crinodendron hookerianum
Rosa canina full out in the hedgerows by Treberrick. Pink and white forms. Good news that hedges cannot be cut in the summer nowadays except on roads.
Rosa canina
Rosa canina
Rosa canina
Rosa canina
Rosa canina
Rosa canina
Rosa canina
Rosa canina
I collected Indigofera himachalensis from the nursery today. Another novelty from Roundabarrow nurseries.
Indigofera himachalensis
Indigofera himachalensis
Indigofera himachalensis
Indigofera himachalensis
And Araucaria angustifolia – a new species to try if it is hardy enough? Araucaria bidwillii has survived but I have lost this species before.
Araucaria angustifolia
Araucaria angustifolia
Araucaria angustifolia
Araucaria angustifolia
Outstanding in the nursery today were:
Iris ‘Jane Phillips’
Iris ‘Jane Phillips’
Iris ‘Jane Phillips’
Iris ‘Jane Phillips’
Rehmannia elata
Rehmannia elata
Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘Milky Way’
Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘Milky Way’
Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘Milky Way’
Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘Milky Way’
Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘China Girl’
Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘China Girl’
Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘China Girl’
Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘China Girl’
Styrax japonicus ‘Pendula’
Styrax japonicus ‘Pendula’
Here are some leaf pictures of Tilia henryana to complete the Tilia leaf species photographs of a week or so ago.
Tilia henryana
Tilia henryana
Tilia henryana
Tilia henryana
Tilia henryana
Tilia henryana
Jaimie came across an 8in long baby grass snake.
Grass snake
Grass snake
These are apparently Mullein moth caterpillars or so Jaimie has identified them.
Mullein moth caterpillars
Mullein moth caterpillars
The widow of David Hunt kindly sends us back his files of tree recording here in 1988-9 which were useful for yesterday’s exploration of Photinia and Ilex species growing here with Tom Hudson. David died recently which we were sadly unaware of. I met David first at Trevarno looking at conifers. Thirty years ago he planned to rewrite Thurston’s 1930s book about trees growing in Cornish gardens and visited Burncoose to look at our monkey puzzles.

2019 – CHW
Pterostyrax corymbosa just coming out on Bond Street.

Pterostyrax corymbosa
Pterostyrax corymbosa
Pterostyrax corymbosa
Pterostyrax corymbosa
A huge clump of Rhododendron ‘Sappho’ in Forty Acres. Biggest clump in the UK perhaps? Absolutely perfect today.
Rhododendron ‘Sappho’
Rhododendron ‘Sappho’
Rhododendron ‘Sappho’
Rhododendron ‘Sappho’
Rhododendron ‘Sappho’
Rhododendron ‘Sappho’

2018 – CHW
A few new plants for the 2019 catalogue captured today in the nursery as the post-mortem of Chelsea is recorded in a meeting with plans for next year’s stand.

Rosa pomifera with its bluish green foliage and single pinkish flowers with white centres.

Rosa pomifera
Rosa pomifera
Rosa pomifera
Rosa pomifera
Rosa cantabrigrensis a species with yellow single flowers fading to white. Out early in the season for a rose species?
Rosa cantabrigrensis
Rosa cantabrigrensis
Rosa cantabrigrensis
Rosa cantabrigrensis
A new foxglove to Burncoose which may be a bit tender but rather pretty. Rehmannia elata with drooping flowers and trumpets with yellow spotted insides.
Rehmannia elata
Rehmannia elata
Rehmannia elata
Rehmannia elata
Rehmannia elata
Rehmannia elata
Salvia ‘Ost Friesland’ is a good low growing hardy salvia favoured by landscapers for mass plantings.
Salvia ‘Ost Friesland’
Salvia ‘Ost Friesland’
Salvia ‘Ost Friesland’
Salvia ‘Ost Friesland’
Fagus orientalis looks an interesting new species. Zigzag shaped new growth and large leaves.
Fagus orientalis
Fagus orientalis
Fagus orientalis
Fagus orientalis

2017 – CHW
After two overcast drizzly days a pleasant walk around the garden with Isla Rose, John and Katie.Schizophragma integrifolium on the top wall is full out over a month early. This plant has taken many years to get going but is now quite a sight. A month early.
Schizophragma integrifolium
Schizophragma integrifolium
Schizophragma integrifolium
Schizophragma integrifolium
Schizophragma integrifolium
Schizophragma integrifolium
The strange semi climbing rhus from Crug Farm which we have never been able to identify conclusively has grown well and is covered in flowers on an old yew trunk.
semi climbing rhus
semi climbing rhus
semi climbing rhus
semi climbing rhus
Rhododendron stamineum is full out in the main quarry. Honeysuckle like and rare. Other younger new clumps are not out yet.
Rhododendron stamineum
Rhododendron stamineum
Rhododendron stamineum
Rhododendron stamineum
The large buds on what is clearly Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’ are now open in Kennel Close. Why are the buds and flowers so much larger than on the original?
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
Magnolia ‘Summer Solstice’
The Magnolia ‘Daphne’ in Kennel Close is still looking good. The others on the Main Ride are well over.
Magnolia ‘Daphne’
Magnolia ‘Daphne’
Magnolia ‘Daphne’
Magnolia ‘Daphne’
Crataegus laevigata ‘Pauls Scarlet’ is very fine too but in need (again) of re-staking. I wonder why we never grew this here before?
Crataegus laevigata ‘Pauls Scarlet’
Crataegus laevigata ‘Pauls Scarlet’
Crataegus laevigata ‘Pauls Scarlet’
Crataegus laevigata ‘Pauls Scarlet’
Aesculus carnea ‘Briottii’ has a few flowers out but nearly over.
Aesculus x bushii
Aesculus x bushii
Aesculus chinensis is also out high up. There is another plant above the tree fern or so I thought. On closer inspection it is Aesculus wilsonii.
Aesculus chinensis
Aesculus chinensis
Magnolia x wiesneri is now full out below Kennel Close.
Magnolia x wiesneri
Magnolia x wiesneri
Magnolia x wiesneri
Magnolia x wiesneri
Abies koreana has a particularly fine set of blue cones this year.
Abies koreana
Abies koreana
Abies koreana
Abies koreana
Magnolia obovata has a flower at the top of the tree.
Magnolia obovata
Magnolia obovata
Rhododendron ‘Loch Levan’ – a new one to me and quite nice.
Rhododendron ‘Loch Levan’
Rhododendron ‘Loch Levan’
Rhododendron ‘Loch Levan’
Rhododendron ‘Loch Levan’
Aesculus flava. I am getting into an aesculus muddle and need to regroup and think this all through. Edwina has however helped me out.
Aesculus
Aesculus
Aesculus
Aesculus

2016 – CHW
I thought all of you who missed Chelsea and posterity might perhaps like to see:Pictures of the RHS Rhododendron, Camellia & Magnolia Group’s centenary stand. Pictures of Millais Nurseries’ centenary stand next to ours.
Chelsea rhododendron society
Chelsea rhododendron society
Chelsea rhododendron society
Chelsea rhododendron society
Chelsea rhododendron society
Chelsea rhododendron society
Chelsea rhododendron society
Chelsea rhododendron society
Chelsea rhododendron society
Chelsea rhododendron society
The garden has gone over and nearly finished in the ten days we have been at Chelsea or recovering quietly at home. The transformation in the garden in such a short space of time could not be greater. All of the rhodos featured on our Chelsea stand have gone fully over. Even the deciduous azaleas have flowered and finished in this brief spell – several without me even glimpsing them. The leaf is fully on the trees, young rooks and jackdaws have fledged and new growth is everywhere on the magnolias and rhodos. A few camellias persist notably the mathotianas and ‘Waterlily’. Thankfully Jaimie and Michael have sorted most of the rhododendron layering while we were away.

Rhododendron falconeri is out and nearly over in ten days.

Rhododendron falconeri
Rhododendron falconeri
A rather nice old red rhodo by the Acer griseum is the best thing at the top of the garden. Looks like an auklandii x thompsonii cross.
old red rhodo
old red rhodo
old red rhodo
old red rhodo
Rhododendron ‘Conroy’ is a delight but very tender and we have lost two groups of this at Burncoose. Actually this has to be an incorrect name on our planting plans as ‘Conroy’ is orange. It is a Millais hybrid which came in 2009.
Rhododendron ‘Conroy’
Rhododendron ‘Conroy’
Rhododendron ‘Conroy’
Rhododendron ‘Conroy’
Rhododendron ‘Rabatz’ (also from Millais) is not doing that well but a dark red.
Rhododendron ‘Rabatz’
Rhododendron ‘Rabatz’
Rhododendron edgeworthii – pink form – one survivor from three planted by Georges Hut. Looks quite like our own hybrid, ‘Berts Own’.
Rhododendron edgeworthii – pink form
Rhododendron edgeworthii – pink form
A newish Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Palibini’ is plastered in flower although I am not certain of the naming here below Donkey Shoe. We have several ‘versions’ of this.
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Palibini’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Palibini’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Palibini’
Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Palibini’
Viburnum rhytidophyllum is flowering in full shade by Higher Quarry Nursery. This is better than I have ever seen this dullish species perform before. You could almost like it despite the nasty fragrance.
Viburnum rhytidophyllum
Viburnum rhytidophyllum
Viburnum rhytidophyllum
Viburnum rhytidophyllum

The ancient huge wisteria by the playhouse is just going over. Hardly out pre Chelsea.

wisteria by the playhouse
wisteria by the playhouse
Here is my nephew George Williams with his girlfriend Sophie and the wisteria. Bank holiday fragrance and romance all around! (Rather a silly hat!)
George Williams with his girlfriend Sophie
George Williams with his girlfriend Sophie
2015 – CHW
Asia propogating at Burncoose
Asia propogating at Burncoose

The joy of being quiet and having time to think after two happy (part) days at Burncoose celebrating with the staff with a little pink fizz (36 bottles for 24).  No London traffic or weekend wedding celebration noise into the evening/night.  Total quiet and a start to thinking about our 2016 catalogue.  Karol (grumpy) and I photographed 26 plants yesterday as new entries to the 2016 catalogue but that is only the start of it (we will have 200 plus).  Now to set in motion the cuttings/seed propagation plans for Asia’s summer here.  What a joy to have a full time propagator at Caerhays running the greenhouse and supplying Burncoose with new stuff.  An expensive luxury which the garden desperately needs not least to keep the catalogue full of new things.  Asia has spent at least six years at Burncoose doing similar work with Louisa (whose brother was a Scottish Labour MP before the election wipeout of Labour in Scotland) but is a bit worried up by the new and exciting challenge.  So to lists for seeds and cuttings. We will start enkianthus cuttings and ‘smellie’ rhododendrons in about a fortnight if the weather stays hot to harden the new growth.

So, given plenty of time, my thoughts and research turn to azaleas.  The authoritative (and very dull) reference book is written by a Fred C Galle.  More pictures and less obscure Japanese names would be great.

How many times is one asked ‘are azaleas all rhododendrons or the other way around?’.  I suspect that like many (purporting to be) woodland gardeners I have never understood the reality of the question or the answer.  My father gave up on Galle and his handwritten notes in the reference tome are confused and irritated.

The answer is that ALL azaleas (evergreen and deciduous) are the product of hundreds of years of breeding from a relatively few species of deciduous and (even fewer) evergreen Chinese/Japanese rhododendron species.  Rhododendron indicum (Japan) has resulted in many series of hybrids (Nakahari/Wilson 50 etc).  Rhododendron species (deciduous) from China and USA are responsible for the breeding of all the main strains of the wonderful and hugely confusing deciduous azaleas which I have been picturing in the last week.  Ghent azaleas, Knaphill azaleas, Exbury azaleas (plus loads of USA breeding).  However they (deciduous) all go back to Rhododendron prinophyllum, Rhododendron mucronulatum, Rhododendron occidentale, Rhododendron mollis, Rhododendron vucosum etc etc.

Why was I so thick?  It is an obvious answer when you think about it and entirely logical.  Now for more research into Mr Galle’s book and the photographs and weird Japanese names.  Happy days! Apologies for no photos today, so take a look at the deciduous or evergreen Azaleas you can buy from Burncoose, or just view the pictures on Caerhays of rhododendrons we have raised and bred.

1959 – FJW
A very dry May. The Azaleas well over.

1909 – JCW
Viburnum plicatum nearly at best, Auklandii’s over, Azaleas very good, Fortunei sweet scented good but passing. C montana rubra over, Dalhousi passing, Bardon over, sweet scented Soulangeana hybrids nice.

1905 – JCW
Viburnum plicatum, later Azaleas coming on, no outside seed picked yet. The Arums have begun to be good and Polystichums are at about their best. Laburnums some open.

1901 – JCW
We are now a few days ahead of last year, being perhaps four or five days later than the above.

1900 – JCW
Most of the Pink Thorn in flower. I have picked H Irving but it is hardly ripe. Edgeworthi and Dalhousi are very good. Eremuri are opening. Carmine pillar good.

1898 – JCW
Pink Thorns coming out well. I have picked most of H Irving and G Spur, some Tenby.

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