5th 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

2019 – CHW

To Wakehurst by 9am to be met by Ed Ikin. 500+ acres of garden so, in three hours, we only really managed some of the Himalayan and Chilean garden plants and a few of the New Zealanders. Much talk of change and ripping up the past to create new things. An American prairie with bison or cattle in place of many Chinese things? Progress or change for the sake of political correctness dressed up as climate change science? Overall a superbly managed garden (and much more) with 37 gardeners on the staff. You need a week to see it all properly. 400,000 visitors but, under an ancient arrangement, National Trust members get in for free so you now pay to park as at the Savill Garden. 17,500 people have joined their own membership scheme.

A few of the superb specimen plants we saw:

Carpinus rankanensis in full flower

Carpinus rankanensis
Carpinus rankanensis
Carpinus rankanensis
Carpinus rankanensis
Carpinus rankanensis
An ancient Sorbus caloneura
Osmanthus yunnanensis – a feature plant with a circular appearance
Osmanthus yunnanensis
Osmanthus yunnanensis
Osmanthus yunnanensis
Osmanthus yunnanensis
Picrasma quassioides
Picrasma quassioides
Picrasma quassioides
Picrasma quassioides
Picrasma quassioides

 

 

Aesculus assamica – with flowers just starting

 

Aesculus assamica
Aesculus assamica
Aesculus assamica
Aesculus assamica
Carpinus cordata
Carpinus cordata
Carpinus cordata
Carpinus cordata
Carpinus cordata
Carpinus turczaninowii – with male and female flowers together
Carpinus turczaninowii
Carpinus turczaninowii
Carpinus turczaninowii
Carpinus turczaninowii
To lunch at Borde Hill with the Stephenson-Clarkes who are open spring to autumn and have 30,000 visitors. The garden is compartmentalised with the rose garden being Eleni’s creation. Sculptures everywhere in the Mediterranean garden and the Italian garden with more to do in the woodland area. Wonderful views and some spectacular older trees.
An ancient Magnolia obovata in full flower.
Magnolia obovata
Magnolia obovata
Magnolia obovata
Magnolia obovata
Alongside it an equally old Magnolia fraseri. Ours always used to flower in September/October but this was full out today. Much larger yellow flowers than I remember.
Magnolia fraseri
Magnolia fraseri
Magnolia fraseri
Magnolia fraseri
Magnolia officinalis completes the trio of magnolia trees all in flower.
Magnolia officinalis
Magnolia officinalis
Magnolia officinalis
Magnolia officinalis
A magnolia felled in the 1987 hurricane had reshot into a three stemmed tree in two places.
magnolia
magnolia
magnolia
magnolia
Chamaecyparis formosensis (Taiwan cypress) was impressive.
Chamaecyparis formosensis
Chamaecyparis formosensis
Meliosma alba (formerly Meliosma beaniana) in full flower. I have seen this only twice before at RBG Edinburgh and Caerhays. The flowers on the ageing Caerhays plant are greener with longer tassels. It has never produced the spectacle of the Borde Hill tree which apparently sets viable seeds. I must request some in the autumn. Absolutely wonderful and the best thing in the garden today.
Meliosma alba
Meliosma alba
Meliosma alba
Meliosma alba
Meliosma alba
Meliosma alba
Meliosma alba
Meliosma alba
Jim and Alison Gardiner were with the tour. This is Jim’s ‘Gardiner Grove’ of yellow magnolias.
Jim’s ‘Gardiner Grove’
Jim’s ‘Gardiner Grove’
Jim’s ‘Gardiner Grove’
Jim’s ‘Gardiner Grove’
This metal box was once a Hampton Court display before it moved to Borde Hill. You put your head through the holes to see the ‘garden’ of Pittosporum inside.
Hampton Court display
Hampton Court display
Hampton Court display
Hampton Court display
Paeonia ‘Anne Rosse’ – a Borde Hill cross between Paeonia delavayi and Paeonia lutea var. ludlowii.
Paeonia ‘Anne Rosse’
Paeonia ‘Anne Rosse’
Paeonia ‘Anne Rosse’
Paeonia ‘Anne Rosse’
Paeonia ‘Anne Rosse’
Paeonia ‘Anne Rosse’
Paeonia ludlowii – an especially fine form (previously lutea var. ludlowii).
Paeonia ludlowii
Paeonia ludlowii
Paeonia ludlowii
Paeonia ludlowii
Paeonia ludlowii
Paeonia ludlowii
Discaria discolor – a completely new genus and tree to me with contorted bark.
Discaria discolor
Discaria discolor
Discaria discolor
Discaria discolor
Discaria discolor
Discaria discolor
Unknown tree which might be a mulberry. None of the ‘experts’ present could give it a name.
Unknown tree
Unknown tree
Unknown tree
Unknown tree
The Emmenopterys henryi which flowered in 2011 and last year at Borde Hill. One of only two or three Emmenopterys ever to have flowered in the UK. The Caerhays plant is of similar age but never has.
Emmenopterys henryi
Emmenopterys henryi
Emmenopterys henryi
Emmenopterys henryi

2018 – CHW
Getting rather dry! An amazing thing to say but the newly planted rhodos in Rookery Nursery Bed could do with a drink.

Betula albosinensis ‘China Ruby’ is starting to develop nice bark on its stem five or six years from planting.

Betula albosinensis ‘China Ruby’
Betula albosinensis ‘China Ruby’
Cornus florida ‘Eternal’ with its striking odd shaped double flowers has been standing out for a fortnight but by no means all its flowers are fully out yet when you look closely. Burncoose once listed this and should again. Very excellent plant!
Cornus florida ‘Eternal’
Cornus florida ‘Eternal’
Cornus florida ‘Eternal’
Cornus florida ‘Eternal’
Lithocarpus lepidocarpus with its wind-scorched old leaves and striking red new growth. Quite a find as this is a new species to us.
Lithocarpus lepidocarpus
Lithocarpus lepidocarpus
Lithocarpus lepidocarpus
Lithocarpus lepidocarpus
Another not quite so startling form of Rhododendron floccigerum above the main quarry. These were tissue culture raised plants by Ros Smith and planted in 2015. First flowering I think.
Rhododendron floccigerum
Rhododendron floccigerum
Rhododendron floccigerum
Rhododendron floccigerum
This looks like Rhododendron ‘Tally Ho’ but is not on the plans and is perhaps out a bit early.
looks like Rhododendron ‘Tally Ho’
looks like Rhododendron ‘Tally Ho’
Endless variation in Rhododendron yunnanense from rose to white. Falling leylandii have just crushed half the group here in the Rookery.
Rhododendron yunnanense
Rhododendron yunnanense
Rhododendron yunnanense
Rhododendron yunnanense
Hidden away is a huge and very late flowering Rhododendron sinogrande. The plant is on its side and surrounded by holly which had protected it in the March gales.
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
Rhododendron sinogrande
This is the new growth and flowers on Salix moupinensis. It looks very similar to what we saw on Salix fargesii a fortnight ago but the reference books say they are very similar.
Salix moupinensis
Salix moupinensis
Salix moupinensis
Salix moupinensis
I was quite wrong about Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. Despite all its leaves being browned off and frozen into certain death there is now vigorous new growth all over the plant.
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’

2017 – CHW

An elderly plant of the very dark coloured Azalea ‘Black Hawk’ in the Rockery with some sun scorching on the flowers. A nice contrast to the Rhododendron reticulatum behind it which we saw last week. Planted deliberately for the colour contrast 100 years ago I guess?

Azalea ‘Black Hawk’
Azalea ‘Black Hawk’
Azalea ‘Black Hawk’
Azalea ‘Black Hawk’
A young plant of Rhododendron tethropeplum; one of the parents to Rhododendron ‘Emma Williams’.
Rhododendron tethropeplum
Rhododendron tethropeplum
Rhododendron kiuisianum in the Rockery. The larger clump on the drive has a faint whitish star in the centre of the pink flowers but this is not quite out yet. Rather too hot a position for it really.
Rhododendron kiuisianum
Rhododendron kiuisianum
Flowers on Vaccinum urceolatum also in the Rockery. We have seen seeds on this very rare plant but I do not remember photographing the strange reddish globular flowers as far out as this before. I see this listed in Hillier’s but John Hillier and many others failed to identify or recognise it over many years.
Vaccinum urceolatum
Vaccinum urceolatum
Vaccinum urceolatum
Vaccinum urceolatum
Strangely the huge Gunnera manicata bed in Old Park has been frosted. The damage looks bad but these robust plants will easily grow through this. One of those two very early morning frosts while we were in Wales a week ago must have done the damage. Odd but good that it caught nothing else in the garden.
Gunnera manicata
Gunnera manicata
Here are some pictures of yesterday’s RHS yellow magnolia lecture held in the warmth of the new conservatory at Burncoose. We had flowers of nearly 40 different yellow or yellowish magnolias on show and viewed 18 separate ones growing away in the garden during the tour. The attendees spent lunch hearing Chelsea anecdotes of some naughtiness!
yellow magnolia lecture
yellow magnolia lecture
yellow magnolia lecture
yellow magnolia lecture
yellow magnolia lecture
yellow magnolia lecture
The best magnolia show in the Burncoose garden then was Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Woodsman’ which might yet make it to Chelsea as there is still plenty of bud.
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Woodsman’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Woodsman’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Woodsman’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Woodsman’
Here is another picture of my granddaughter Isla Rose! Not sure if the thought police like babies loose on sofas!
Isla Rose
Isla Rose

2016 – CHW
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’ (‘Woodsman’ x ‘Butterflies’) is nicely out in Penvergate. Strangely Magnolia ‘Yellow Bird’ is nearly over beside it while ‘Yellow Fever’ is not showing at all. Normally they are out together and ‘Sunburst’ is later.
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
We have seen the rare Magnolia officinalis var biloba in flower before. Planted in 1997 it has been showing for four or five years. The buds are slightly windblown but still a superb delicate pink on opening.
Magnolia officinalis var biloba
Magnolia officinalis var biloba
Magnolia officinalis var biloba
Magnolia officinalis var biloba
Another smaller Magnolia ‘Sunburst’ on the drive is just showing. This is ‘up there’ with Magnolia ‘Lois’ at this stage of its flower but fades quickly as you can see on one flower.
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Sunburst’
Magnolia ‘Genie’ below Donkey Shoe is still quite a sight. These plants do flower for six to seven weeks which makes them pretty special in the magnolia world.
Magnolia ‘Genie’
Magnolia ‘Genie’
Hidden away below it is another fairly mature Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’ with rather more pink in the flower than Michelia x foggii ‘Allspice’ seen a few days ago.
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Black Beauty’ is looking good. The best thing is the light creamy white insides to the near black tepals.
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Black Beauty’
Magnolia x brooklynensis ‘Black Beauty’
Our largest Magnolia rostrata has flower buds showing pink very high up. This was given to us by Tom Hudson when our original plant died 20 plus years ago. We have another through the hedge beside Mr Rogers Quarry but no flowers here yet.
Magnolia rostrata
Magnolia rostrata
Magnolia ‘Randy’ is looking good. This one was inevitably always pinched when we planted it at Windsor.
Magnolia ‘Randy’
Magnolia ‘Randy’
Magnolia ‘Randy’
Magnolia ‘Randy’
Magnolia ‘Randy’
Magnolia ‘Randy’
Magnolia ‘Sunray’ is a very quick fader to a dullish cream colour.
Magnolia ‘Sunray’
Magnolia ‘Sunray’
Magnolia ‘Sunray’
Magnolia ‘Sunray’
Another Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’ seems to lack as much pink in the bud as the one seen earlier.
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’
Michelia x foggii ‘Jack Fogg’
The Lindera obtusiloba is finally full out with its ‘mustard yellow’ flowers. The one I photographed at Rosemoor in March was out much earlier and very pale by comparison.
Lindera obtusiloba
Lindera obtusiloba
Lindera obtusiloba
Lindera obtusiloba

A second glorious day with the garden overflowing with scent and people!

2015 – CHW
Still windy and unsettled.  The rhododendrons for Chelsea are rushing out in the coldstore and probably too far out now.  The new growth has started to etiolate so we have put them outside in the yard.  The trouble with coldstores, even with artificial light, is that they affect the natural metabolism of the plant and, in evergreens, can cause premature leaf drop.

Plants out of coldstore 1
Plants out of coldstore
LINDERA obtusiloba 02
LINDERA obtusiloba
LINDERA obtusiloba
LINDERA obtusiloba

Two linderas in flower.  The relatively newly discovered (and easy from seed) Lindera aggregata, an evergreen with silvery undersides to its leaves, has tiny and uninteresting flowers.  Lindera obtusiloba normally flowers in March, well before the leaves, but this year the flowers are only appearing now.  We have several new lindera species so more to look for with the planting plans.

LINDERA aggregata 02
LINDERA aggregata
LINDERA aggregata
LINDERA aggregata
The Pink form of RHODODENDRON 02
The pink form of RHODODENDRON edgeworthii
The Pink form of RHODODENDRON
The Pink form of RHODODENDRON edgeworthii

A few newer rhododendrons catch the eye: The pink form of Rhododendron edgeworthii is a stunner.  Rather better than our own ‘BertsOwn’ a similar but less striking edgeworthii hybrid.

RHODODENDRON johnstoneanum 'Double Diamond' 02
RHODODENDRON johnstoneanum
‘Double Diamond’
RHODODENDRON johnstoneanum 'Double Diamond'
RHODODENDRON johnstoneanum
‘Double Diamond’

Rhododendron johnstoneanum ‘Double Diamond’ may be a weak and insipid, short lived plant but it is superb too although here slightly blemished by the heavy rain.  I remember a mauve form growing at Trengwainton called, I think, ‘Johnny Johnstone’ but possibly different parentage? Presumably of Trewithen origin?

RHODODENDRON 'Silver Sixpence'
RHODODENDRON ‘Silver Sixpence’
RHODODENDRON 'Silver Sixpence' 02
RHODODENDRON ‘Silver Sixpence’

Rhododendron ‘Silver Sixpence’ – good nursery seller but I had forgotten we also had mature plants here.

1992 – FJW
1st day opened house – about 25.

1963 – FJW
Rhodo’s have had a good year and are about at their best. Worried about Nothofagus obliqua which looks far from well.

1946 – CW
Staphylea very good and Auklandii at their best – Aureum, Yellow Hammer and a good many Concatenans x Maddeni out. Kurumes going over. Peonies yellow very good. Many Azaleas out, a Royalii Maddeni hybrid but mostly frosted in the 40 Acres. All daffodils over but Recurvas.

 

1940 – CW
Mag sargentiana over for more than two weeks – Staphylea nearly gone. Many Azaleas out and Amoena in drive at its best – Rho Auklandii very good – Mag nitida fully out but flowers touched with frost – all daffs over – Rho augustinii at its best – several peonies out in Tin Garden – a pink Kurume at its best.

1933 – JCW
No Sargenti bloom for ten days. Staphylea very good for about three weeks. Pink Kurume has been open a week. Some red Azaleas show colour. Augustinii at its best.

1932 – JCW
Mag sargenti is just over, a late season. Cherries remain good. Back Gate pink Kurume is half open. Staphyleas are good.

1927 – JCW
The Back Gate pink Kurume is very good, the blue stuff is all over excepting the late Augustinii in the Auklandii Garden. The Zealanicums are opening, Cornish Loderi is moving just, some Azaleas are showing. Genestrianum is open for the first time.

1924 – JCW
Show Day at Truro. It is a very bad bud year for Rhodo’s, a lot of cold has also cut the buds. Pink Kurume at the Back Gate is very good indeed.

1908 – JCW
Recurvas well out much of it. Clematis montana rubra is good. Tubergans Iris have 40 to 50 blooms. Maples are good, some roses open, a few very late daffs to open yet.

1900 – JCW
Recurvas open. Marvel not properly and Glaucescens moving.

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