2020 – CHW
The morning is spent ‘furloughing’ the majority of staff here. This new word means that the government pays 80% of their wages for up to three months if we send them home now. Quite how long the government will take to actually pay employers remains to be seen. Employers can opt to pay the wages of furloughed employees in full but they are not obliged to do so. The garden is now closed and we lock the gates on half the beach car park. No one to clean the loos.
So all the Vean staff, holiday let staff, castle staff, marketing team and visitor staff are ‘furloughed’ until further notice. Tough on all those with zero hour casual staff contracts who are left without furloughing but there we are.
The most surreal and extraordinary few hours yet in this national pandemic. We all say goodbye and good luck to each other with very long faces and a tear or two in the eyes.
Lockdown is coming nearer for all non-essential businesses. Burncoose had a ‘normal’ weekend with nearly 300 mail order orders in the last three days (circa £30k). About normal for March. How much longer can we continue to operate under government guidelines? I will have to go there tomorrow perhaps ‘furlough’ them all too.
Nicola Sturgeon says in public this morning that all building sites should be shut amid her usual invective about our government being ineffective. Well done her! As I have said before it is time Boris nationalised the media in a time of war. The closure of KPK appears inevitable soon too. Then all our businesses will be totally fucked.
Everywhere is eerily silent with no staff or visitors. The only people still working here now are the farm staff (who are lambing and will soon be calving), the gamekeepers (who are collecting eggs for a possibly cancelled shooting season) and the garden staff. Ten out of thirty-five and I fear the gardeners may have to be furloughed soon too. The farm manager is in isolation due to the return of relatives from overseas and his deputy’s wife is a hospital nurse. Heaven alone knows how this may turn out.
A very sad email from Merlin Hanbury-Tenison (attached) about his father’s struggle with the disease. It does not look too hopeful. Sadness at the reality which we all now find ourselves in turns to ‘fear’. No more keeping calm and carrying on.
On another glorious day here are a few things to try to cheer things up. The NE wind persists and the ground is finally drying up.
Rhododendron canadense just coming out. An attractive dwarf rhododendron.
First flowers on Rhododendron impeditum ‘JC Williams’.
Off to Llanover Garden in Monmouthshire to give a ‘bursting into spring’ lecture to 42 ladies before they lunched. Mainly camellias on the table as still very few magnolias to offer. We had eight Camellia reticulata varieties on show which were the best thing.A tour of the gardens at Llanover.A rather battered Camellia ‘Cornish Snow’ against a wall.
2017 – CHWPlanted out one cartload of pot grown rhododendrons in the morning. Many more open ground ones to go from the three nursery beds.
Rhododendron Xiangense – four plants which we had grown from seed. The first tiny flowers on one of them.
Placed out around 15 more named magnolias for planting and some new bicolour hydrangeas (15) on the drive. On the way Jaimie and I made a record of the magnolias out in the sun today:Magnolia ‘Apollo’ – just coming out.
Another young Magnolia ‘Felix Jury’ with its first ever flower.
Beside it is another younger Magnolia ‘J C Williams’ also blown open and not dark enough.
Then the two together.
One of the original Magnolia mollicomatas is superb.
Magnolia denudata ‘Forrest Pink’ finally produces a decent flower. The rest were blown away.
The view down the drive taking in JCW and others.
2015 – CHW
Magnolia sprengeri var elongata now comes out by Tin Garden. On 9th February I was clearly wrong and the first magnolia out in this clearing (or indeed the garden then) was a rather poorly coloured Magnolia campbellii. The four 1920’s planted magnolias in this clearing have now all been identified.
1963 – FJW
First flowers on Camellia noblissima.
1958 – FJW
The Easterly wind came to an end in a fine gust. One big tree down below 4 in Hand. The east wind lasted about 10 days. Ripped leaves off the Giganteums.
1928 – JCW
Magnolias kobus, salicifolia, halleana, conspicua, brozzoni, soulangeana and denudata all showing flowers after the frost.
1922 – JCW
Hard frost which cuts the bloom but is a dry frost, the gardenia stood a night of it, a very cold wind.
1919 – JCW
No Narcissi Poets, M de Graaf open about three weeks behind 1913.
1913 – JCW
M de Graaf and many poets open, an odd cherry flower open, Thomsonii x has waned, Mrs Butlers have begun to wane, R fargesii shows colour, several reticulata blooms open but they are poor ones.
1911 – JCW
Much as in 1910, Rho arboreum at about their best and so Rho argenteum where they have missed the frost. Mag halleana a few, some mume, Camellia Lady Clare good, a few Cam reticulata, no cherries.
1910 – JCW
Very near 1902 in daffs. Rho hodgsoni open, some Fortunei, Arboreum hybrids opening, almost all the plain Arboreums are opening and very nice. Pissardi gone. Cherries not come.
1907 – JCW
Very near 1902, only about 2 (doubtful) Tiandrus x open, a few Mag halleana, hot and cold nights.
1903 – JCW
Two or three de Graaf, a few more Weardales, Citron well open, all King A. Mag halleana good. Cold nights.
1902 – JCW
The first Narcissi M hume, several (10 or 15) Sirius hybrids, several Emperor, many Horsfieldii, the first D Yorke, King Alfred half, G Bell half, Dante a few.
1898 – JCW
Some (Narcissi) G Mundi’s out, Torch open (one), one F Wilson, and a good few tulips in the grass. The bamboos have been moving a little all the winter.
1897 – JCW
Saw young wild ducks. Cherries coming out, Gloria mundi open, a Poetarum, first M de Graaf, Wilsoni Major and Carantius.