2023 – CHW
Rhododendron ‘Winter Intruder’ now at its best a good month later than most years.
2022 – CHW
So what did we all make of Storm Eunice yesterday? In the post pandemic era we shut down everything of course. One hundred and eighty Cornish schools shut, no refuse collection, no trains of any sort, no planes out of Newquay. The county council declared a state of emergency from their command bunker. So what actually happened?
The storm hit at 7am and I drove to Burncoose for a lengthy three and a half hour management meeting without seeing any trees down and with as little traffic as in April 2020 at the start of the pandemic. By 12.00 the storm had gone through and was just a windy day with sun and squalls of rain.
Radio Cornwall disgusted no one on the seafront was flooded on the hightide at 7am and hoped for better this evening. ‘Stay at home’ (in all circumstances) and ‘stay safe’; the usual covid cries repeated in another context. The highways authority said to Radio Cornwall that even van drivers should not go to work and most buses did not run. Total shutdown and totally unnecessary. A gross overreaction.
Nothing like as bad as the hurricane on 25/26th January 1990 and the weather charts showed that it was never going to be. ‘Keep safe’ and ‘do nothing’ a typical product of the current national work averse state of play. Frightening to older people but not that much worse than your typical Cornish westerly gale.
Three or four trees down at Burncoose and a few at Caerhays as you will see below and tomorrow. No electricity at Caerhays for about eight hours which was boring. About 10 to 14 days’ work to put back slates blown off quite a few estate roofs for the maintenance team but, as far as I know yet, not one insurance claim to raise. You might argue that we were just lucky but, those who remember January 1990, and any seafarer (which I am definitely not), would tell you that this was a very bad storm but hardly a national emergency. In a real hurricane the wind roars so loudly you cannot hear yourself speak.
Radio Cornwall reported five or six roads closed in the county due to fallen trees and two due to roof debris at 4pm. If the storm had come overnight I doubt many would have noticed. We had very similar storms in 2012 and 2018 with power cuts and trees down but not a countrywide lockdown thrown in.
The Met Office issued an amber warning for Wales and the south of England on Thursday. By Friday morning this had become a ‘very rare’ red warning. My guess is that ‘reds’ will now become the norm in a world where risk and personal choice are unknown. I blame the insidious health and safety culture which arrived from America (and then got reinforced by the EU) whereby every accident has to be blamed on someone and usually someone who can pay. In 50 years’ time we will need a risk assessment to get out of bed. War in Ukraine might, I suppose, finally break this mould of thought.
At the nursery today I enjoyed photographing in the gale:
Vinca difformis ‘Jenny Pym’
The foundations for the new laundry processing building have been laid and the old stables here have been demolished. The laundry for the Vean and holiday lets will no longer be undertaken at the Vean so that the laundry room there can become a games room. At least for a year we will contract out the laundry to a third party.
Time to enjoy the first magnolias as I hope our early visitors are.Magnolia ‘F J Williams’ just coming out.
More magnolias rushing out in this perilously early season.Magnolia ‘Susanna van Veen’ is said to be the New Zealand version of Magnolia ‘Caerhays Belle’. Compare for yourself! Colour and size of flower come into it.
Between meetings a quick check on the state of play with the first decent magnolia flowers. They are still far from decent as yet!Erica arborea are a splendid show all over and quite untouched by the frost / cold wind earlier this week.
Serena spent the day with two photographers and the features director of The Field getting shooting pictures for her forthcoming article which she has written. As a Purdey’s ambassador she has the full Purdey shooting kit and looks unbelievably smart. Will she be the cover girl for the May edition? She has her two dogs with her and Billy plus Nuttie go too which I fear may not have been that helpful.Quite a week for filming and publicity immediately prior to opening on Monday. ‘Salvage Hunters’ is viewed by two million people so we will see what this does to visitor numbers in due course!
BBC Spotlight TV news was not too bad last night and Michael was good but, as expected, the cameraman did his utmost NOT to show any magnolia flowers in the main clips. Better not say any more or suggest how he might do his job better!An hour with Asia in the greenhouse to show her the old fashioned way of planting magnolia seeds, 40 to a box, in wooden boxes. Very simple and a much easier way to grow on hundreds of seedlings for grafting which we need. Everything in the greenhouse needs some spring warmth to get going.Phil Knuckey and the Burncoose landscapers are trimming and pruning around The Vean. Brambles still to do and they will not finish today. All looking spring cleaned now.The Environment Agency contractors have started to build the new sluice gate in Penvergate and the lake is full of more herring gulls that I have ever seen. Swans, sheep and seagulls!
Now raining AGAIN and another wet weekend in prospect but no more frost we all hope.Magnolia ‘Iolanthe’ on the drive is showing colour absurdly early as this is a late April New Zealander normally.
Opposite them is an ancient clump of Leujocum aestivum already in flower. The ‘summer snowflake’ and a form of snowdrop normally out in April or May. Bonkers again!
The new steel extension to the beach café is just up with its new cover but no sides as yet. It will be a huge improvement but too wet now for photographs.Karol has ‘done’ 175 missing website pictures found on his database with 125 more to go by Sunday. The total number of missing pictures on the Burncoose website should now be around 300 with 15,700 present and correct (four per plant online). It has taken nine years to get even close to a full set of good pictures of the plant in flower, leaf, pot, garden etc. We have not pinched anyone else’s so woe betide anyone caught pinching our copyright.
Karol has taken some nice new pictures of the Nash arch on a fine day which now dominates the car park and Porthluney cove. Visitors are in for a pleasant surprise.
The plant labels go out all over the garden for Monday’s opening.So a great deal is going on with many improvements coming to fruition on this dismal misty wet day. Roll on spring if it is not already here?
1994 – FJW
T Hudson seeds arrived.
1961 – FJW
Early year – Rhodo’s Grande – Sutch x Arboreum – Golden Oriole – R Admiral – well and truly open. Trewidden grafted Grande looking superb. Flower buds on Macabeanum. Mary Williams full out but C noblissima very late. Colour on G.B’s campbellii.
1945 – CW
Rhodo barbatum, lutescens, ririei, also Blood Reds and Sutchuenense hybrids out, Leucaspis and both Moupinense and its hybrids. I picked 12 different red cups and clear yellows in Tin Garden. No magnolias showing colour. Single Camellias very good, Speciosa at its best.
1933 – JCW
No Magnolias yet. Rho lutescens should be very good shortly, the first Narcissus cyclamineus by this window shows colour.
1932 – JCW
No sign of a Magnolia anywhere. E darleyense V.G.
1921 – JCW
About 20 species of Rhodo show bloom, some Prunus conradinae very good, 2 dead with silverleaf. The heaths are nice, E darleyense has been very good since December. Camellia speciosa shows promise of being very nice, one bloom each on Magnolia kobus and Magnolia denudata.
1911 – JCW
Wilsons conifers etc soon here, and last week at Werrington.
1908 – JCW
The 1899 things are not open, some nice Arboreums are out. Anenome blanda is nice.
1899 – JCW
No reticulata, no C.J.B, or Cernuus, or Horsfieldi etc but Tenby, H Irving and Caerhays a good lot.
1898 – JCW
Many reticulata, picked some C J Backhouse, Cernuus at its best, some Horsfieldi out and a Sir Watkin. Jacko just breaks ground, Weardale only lately, nearly all Tenby and H Irving open, many Pallidus and Praecox.