4, 5 & 8; a tale of slippery slopes.

I took the precaution of doing my voluntary day at Mt Edgcumbe yesterday, having seen the forecast for today. It’s raining and foggy, it was a good call. Yesterday it was blowing a hoolie but at least it was dry and sunny.

When I checked through the collection last summer, there were three sections that I walked away from at the time, intending to re-visit them this spring when they were flowering. I have taken some tentative nibbles at said bullet.

Area 4A. The Australia & New Zealand sections that were 4 and 4A, I have rolled into one as 4A, containing 46 plants at present. Two of these are all but dead. 20 have no label. The area has been badly affected by falling trees and two bushes are growing out of a tangle of uncleared branches.


‘Ballet Queen Variegated’, ‘Jury’s Yellow’ and ‘Thompsonii’ in area 4A.


The records show 17 other varieties as having been in the area, many of which are not shown on the plans. The area is steep and hard to access, but the path runs along the top so there are good views into the top of large bushes.


That may be ‘Aspasia Macarthur’ middle left, ‘Can Can’ top right. I can’t get near either of them to search for labels. Pass me that chainsaw….


Area 5A was one of the earliest parts of the collection, though how much of it is from the original planting and how much planted since is hard to tell and the records are incomplete. Many of the older plants were hard pruned about 4 years ago and are only just getting back to flowering freely. They are almost up to their original size and much bushier too.

The section is on a very steep slope under a tree canopy mainly of beech. It is deeply shaded in summer and very difficult to access, especially when the ground is wet. With 61 plants it is quite a large section and there are 18 unlabelled plants plus a suspicion that the odd fallen label may have been put back on the wrong bush.

Section 8, the singles collection, is in an area known as the quarry. Unsurprisingly, it is ridiculously steep. Of the 34 plants in it, 22 are unlabelled. As with all of the unlabelled plants, I don’t want to re-label them until I am fairly certain of their identity, so even if the plan makes it clear what a particular plant should be, I want to see it in flower and be confident of the name before giving it a new label.


‘Mattie Cole’,  ‘Jennifer Turnbull’ and ‘Hassaku’ from Area 8. None are labelled, the first two are probably correct, the last almost certainly wrong.

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