2023 – CHW
Camellias in flower in the nursery tunnels today.
Camellia ‘Polar Ice’.
2022 – CHW
A strange weekend as the whole country prepares for todays state funeral for H.M. The Queen. Its, quite rightly, a bank holiday so we are all glued to the television. At Churchill’s state funeral in 1965 I remember Dad standing to attention in front of a black and white TV in the Red Room for hours. I also remember running and catching a moorhen by Noah’s Ark and bringing it home in a hessian bag as proof. Dad not impressed even though it wasn’t bad for an 8 year old.. Strange memories but we all have them.
All travel plans and planned business meetings in chaos as a result of the funeral. My brother and I were scheduled to meet George Eustice (the Burncoose MP) for a chat on Saturday but this turned into a zoom meeting and I missed it and so did he. George is no longer the longstanding Secretary of State for Agriculture etc. so it was to a be a fuller and franker discussion than it might have been before Liz Truss, who was sworn in as Prime Minister at Balmoral only 2 days before the Queen died and sacked George when she won the ballot of Conservative party members over Rishi Sunak.
Over the weekend I write a letter of condolence on behalf of the family and the estate to H.M. King Charles III who first visited Caerhays (as Prince Charles) when he was a young naval officer and has visited several times since. Dad was on the Duchy Council for 19 years .
Tears all round for most of the day and quite a bit of standing to attention as in 1965. I write this in the hope that readers of this family garden diary (which started in 1897) will, in another 72 years, begin to understand the sadness, anguish and sense of loss which we all feel at Caerhays today at the end of monarchs reign.
God Save the King!
Just a few plants to look at, of course, on this day (and previous week) of mourning and sadness at the end of an era.
Podocarpus matudae showing drought stress on it leaves but with plenty of blue podocarps.
2021 – CHWThe Pinus wallichiana (a show stock plant which had visited Chelsea more than once) had been looking a bit sick last year after planting and after the cold in February. Now getting going and looking well.
Caerhays parish is currently joined with St Goran (and Gorran Haven), and we have a formerly retired, but excellent, part time vicar until November 2022. Thereafter we are told that there will be two vicars spread over eight parishes.
Our two deanery delegates have to vote on this for us on 29th September. No time for proper discussion at the parochial council meetings of course on this bizarre geographic mix. If the overall proposal is rejected at the deanery vote we are told that the diocese will impose it anyway. Such is church ‘democracy’.Only six of the eighteen parishes pay their Ministry & Mission Fund (MMF) levy to the diocese/deanery in full. Caerhays and Gorran have always paid their full MMF levy to help pay for our clergy (£25k per annum). So, this is all about money. The diocese say each vicar costs £53k per annum.
Nevertheless, the church is investing hundreds of thousands of pounds in new centres of worship in new buildings in Penryn and St Austell and selling vicarages to pay for it. This is the woke element of the Church of England. A new beginning for some in towns and the total abandonment of ministry in rural areas. (Quite how St Austell gets paired with Fowey seems bizarre.)
The deanery will not say if our vicarage is to be sold. Nor will it say which others will be sold.
The treasurer of Gorran parochial church council has proposed to the deanery and bishop that we have one vicar for a new grouping of Caerhays, Gorran, St Ewe and Mevagissey parishes. St Mewan is, in reality, a suburb of St Austell and Roche is miles away.
A lengthy speech in defence of the deanery reorganisation is made by one Gorran churchwarden. When the vote came, he was the only one to vote for it.
The vote against the proposals was around twenty with three abstentions. Many churchgoers were on holiday while others had simply no time to learn of this dramatic change.
In the Church of England church attendances are, we are told, falling by 2% per annum. Vicarless churches and the (unnecessary) pandemic closure of all churches has helped this enormously. Now we are to be permanently vicarless how will the position improve?
So, a new reformation of the church is upon us. Once the vicarages have gone, church closures will of course be next. The fat bureaucrats of the dioceses and their expensive advisors and consultants (£212k in Truro diocese on a turnover of £1.8m) can only be paid for by sales of church properties. Enormous wealth being used to preserve bureaucrats at the expense of the church structure and worshippers overall.
One might well ask, as several did, where ‘God’ might be in all this? The Church of England has not time for rural belief!
The abolition of the separate church law would be a good start from this government in cutting absurd Church of England bureaucracy. Merging the bishoprics of Truro and Exeter along historic lines to pay for more vicars would be another popular cost cutting move.
The most absurd element of this reorganisation was that the diocese instructed vicars in the spring lockdown to consult (online) non churchgoers for their views. Consulting churchgoers themselves was, naturally, avoided until the very last moment in this disgraceful fait accompli of ‘change’.
My guess is we will end up paying a retired vicar to take our services and reduce our contributions to the MMF accordingly in the future. Others are clearly thinking on similar lines.
2020 – CHW
Late yesterday evening I found Rhododendron ‘Yaku Fairy’ doing its secondary stuff in the Rockery.
Second grass cut now well underway and the three islands on the lake have just been strimmed.
A Photinia villosa comparison session. We did this once before in the diary but the plants have developed a lot since then.Photinia villosa var. coreana with more berries than ever seen before. Absolutely covered in fruit.
Today an inspection of the Kennel Close plantings from 2017. Ten years on there is much to see.What has suddenly massacred two new clumps of Hedychium gardnerianum planted out here from the main bed by the playhouse in the spring? Last week they were fine in flower but now shattered. What has done this? Roe deer, pheasants or rabbits? The pheasants have clearly pecked the exposed tubers but I doubt they could have felled the whole spikes. It looks a bit rough for rabbit damage. Large crushing teeth were involved here not nibbling. Since another clump 300 yards away deep in the garden is smashed too I strongly suspect deer. They would have a hard time getting to the main clump at the playhouse area because of the walls. I wonder if deer like the ginger smell of these ginger lilies?
Bulls at rest by the Top Lodge. The charolais is a nasty bastard and has had his moments both with Hamish on the farm and on shooting days.
Some really dull seeds discovered today which are not yet ripe:The rare Ilex spinigera with long drooping branches.
An even rarer symplocos whose species is unknown