A CASTANOPSIS hunt today. These are evergreen trees with (eventually) prickly fruits like those of a sweet chestnut.
This 2008 planted tree is labelled Castanopsis chinensis. It is not evergreen as you would expect a Castanopsis to be. However, there is winter dieback again as the new growth struggles to come out 12-18” from the tips of last year’s twigs. The few old leaves on the ground do look like Castanopsis.
Next to it in slightly more wind exposure is Castanopsis sclerophylla (also 2008 planted). Also, leafless but with minimal dieback and its new growth is much further advanced. New Trees says that Castanopsis sclerophylla is better known by its synonym which is Castanopsis chinensis! So, the two plants may well be the same thing. In the US New Trees says C. sclerophylla has tolerated -9°C as an evergreen. Our plants may be rebelling against the cold east winds in February this year? It has been collected in China in broadleaved forests but at low altitudes of 200-1,000m above sea level.
This may explain the position of our two plants. New Trees (published 2009) says no trees in the UK then.
I now need to go and look at our fairly young Castanopsis sieboldii which came from Burncoose (via Sandeman Seeds in France as seedlings) and the nursery has had a few plants for sale since circa 2016/7. This certainly is an evergreen species with us as you can see.
To try to complete the Castanopsis collection here:
This is apparently a veteran tree of Castanopsis orthacantha which Forrest collected in Yunnan (F26848 or F24758), so it is stated in New Trees although I have never heard this name before! We used to have Castanopsis cuspidata and Castanopsis concolor as veteran trees. I am never sure if this is cuspidata or another species. Philip Tregunna argued that we once had Castanopsis chrysophylla (today Chrysolepis chrysophylla) as a third species, but I have my doubts as this is a species originating from the USA rather than China.
This Castanopsis concolor was planted in 2001 and has tried unsuccessfully as yet to form prickly seedpods. A rabbit has had a go at the base of the trunk but could not get its teeth through the bark entirely.
2020 – CHW
Good heavens, a mobile phone app which can trace your movements and tell (as yet on the Isle of Wight only as a trial) where you are and who you have been near to to report your COVID symptoms. The Big Brother is watching fraternity and the civil liberties people will hate that and claim Chinese style state control.
All nonsense of course because your phone (when on) can be traced by the police and security services anyway as has been the case for some time. In theory they need a warrant to do so and some phones have upset the police when encrypted. Of course GCHQ has been tracking extremists on their phones for years presumably without a warrant. So what is actually new about all this?
Fortunately mobile phones largely do not work here, and not indoors without a good Wi-Fi connection, so we do not bother and will not be part of the government hoped for 60% signup to the new scheme by mobile phone owners. I wonder if the government will achieve that or if the conspiracy theorists will put many of us off?
On another tack the unions, and rail unions in particular, are not keen on any easing of lockdown and actually having to go back to work. None of the NHS sentiment here about carrying on and doing the job. They have enjoyed their time off and see no reason why that should not continue on full pay doing nothing. The trade unions are going to become even more irrelevant as forced redundancies and bankruptcy fears inflict every business. What can they realistically say to British Airways about the 12,000 redundancies? That is why lifting lockdown will not be good news for union members.
Jaimie has found another large stick insect on a jasmine. Not the first but perhaps earlier in the year than usual.
2019 – CHW
In our absence Jaimie has installed the two paths to the shed in Tin Garden. We have used chipped bark supplied to us by the tree surgeons trimming trees to facilitate the installation of fibre optic cable to 37 properties on the estate. Soon we too will have Superfast broadband with speeds of (hopefully) 70mbs rather than the current 2-4 which makes work with pictures on social media and our website so time consuming and difficult at the moment.
A trip around the garden with some shooting friends and clients from St Tudy. No prizes for guessing which rhododendron we had to seek out!Rhododendron davidsonianum ‘Caerhays Pink’ at its best in the Auklandii Garden.
Some gentle rain over the weekend but not enough!Fagus sylvatica ‘Aurea Pendula’ glowing with its new leaves. This tree was grown by Less & Co and once went to Chelsea. We pruned the nearby camellia last year to give it more room.
2016 – CHW
The best thing today at Wisley were the matsumae Japanese cherries. When will these become more widely available to the trade? The best we saw were:
Prunus matsumae – hayazaki
Jim Gardiner recommended a new US book on magnolias by Andrew Bunting. It shows a Magnolia officinalis var biloba with bright red flowers. The Wisley plant we saw had large and very pale creamy flowers. Ours in Penvergate on Thursday was a nice pink but this appears to be a real red. Photoshop?Staying at the Runnymede on Thames hotel is far from dull. Every sort of activity beside the river which made us all look our age but the food was rather better than expected.
The best exhibits in the show yesterday were:
Rhododendron calophytum (a Keith Rushford collection with gorgeous striping – 142)
Rhododendron ‘Cornish Cross’
Election day. I suspect no other castle has a polling station in it. Under the Rabbit Warren infact with two lady returning officers who are going to be bored rigid by 10pm as there are only about 75 electors at Caerhays and a fair few have already voted soon after 7.30am. The liberal candidate (our current MP) had a surprising victory last time round with Tower Hamlets type allegations about the last few ballot boxes counted – or so it is rumoured. Thank heavens I am no longer High Sheriff and do not have to stay up all night to formally announce the result. I am corrected by the returning officer who says we have 146 electors and our area covers more than the parish of Caerhays.
So we had better photograph something nice and blue – Rhododendron ‘Saint Tudy’(augustinii x impeditum) and hope for the best!
Nearby is Rhododendron ovatum; a rather insipid pink with nice bronze new growth. Perhaps a colour more reflective of the likely outcome. Less boring anyway than the political crap on the radio which I gave up listening to weeks ago.
Ok, let us balance things up! Three reds:
To complete the election set here are two very yellow liberals (surprisingly perhaps) which were Caerhays bred.
Planted together they make a nice election poster but hopefully not the balance of power.
2004 – FJW
Fair amount of rain, but main falls have missed us and passed by on eastern side. Some good Big Leaved Rhodo’s flowering on Rookery Path.
1928 – JCW
Loder’s White as in 1926. No Factum. Mag Wilsonii ⅓ open. Mag nigra good. Not 6 pips of Maddeni hybrids to be seen. Some Azaleas good.
1926 – JCW
Loder’s White in the Rockery is by far the best thing now, Auklandii are nearly over. The first Factum opened 10 days ago, it is very fine indeed. Double Avium is open in the 40 Acres. Baileys Maddeni is nearly open.
1923 – JCW
Maddeni hybrids are at their best and have been nice for a month or more. Auklandii good but a short crop of flower. Azaleas starting but not much flower bud.
1912 – JCW
Auklandii have begun to wane, Mrs Butler lovely, Azaleas good, Clematis montana poor this year. Berberis stenophylla good. Falconeri really fine for the first time. Azalea amoena V.G.
1905 – JCW
Recurvas nearly all open, and picked my last seedling today, just about 1898.
1902 – JCW
Most of Recurvas open, but not the back bulbs.
1899 – JCW
Just at the above, I picked a pod of ripe Triandrus indoors. I have been moving a lot of seedling daffs.
1898 – JCW
Clematis montana well out, Maples at their best, P recurvas well open. Altaclarence open,Doronicums quite good, several I lortetti.