The aftermath of the Storms

Its been a while since we posted some news, its gets so busy here its hard to find the time to devote to this but we do want to make the effort and with the events of recent days now is a good time to get back into the swing of things.

I’m sure its not just here in the South West that’s had it hard with the weather this winter, parts of Somerset in particular have been under water for weeks ruining peoples homes as well as businesses. But here in our normally sheltered corner of Cornwall we’ve been hit be wave after wave of storms. Not since 1987 have we been hit like this. Then I was a young boy away at boarding school and it was just one storm that virtually flattened our nursery with only one house remaining undamaged by the fierce winds. This time it have been a successive wave of storms coming in just a few days each one causing more damage and this time I’ve been here with my heart in my mouth watching every one.

It started with just one tree in our Gardens that came down across my dads lawn narrowly avoiding one of his prize Camellias. So the next day we had the men out with the chainsaws to start clearing up the damage. Little did we know the next storm was on the way with even stronger winds. This time the devastation was more. Shallow rooting Eucalyptus trees were no match for these winds with another one crashing down across the gardens again inches from my dads prize Camellia which has remained totally unscathed with more trees falling around it like dominos. Miraculously the Nursery was remaining fairly undamaged with the odd pane of glass here and there slipping or cracking.

We were one of the first nurseries to take part in Eucalyptus tree trials back in the early 1970’s, before then the Australian foliage wasn’t grown for floristry in this country. With the spare seeds left over from the initial trial my dad planted several feature trees around the Nurseries and his house where the now popular NGS Highcroft Gardens are. In the last week we’ve lost a third of these trees with severe damage to many more some of which we will have to remove to prevent future damage to property. Its heart breaking looking around at where these trees have been all my life and now not seeing them there.

The last storm on Friday, St Valentine’s day, was the most ferocious taking down not just Eucalyptus trees but also the more hardened Pine & Fir trees we use as wind breaks, walking around surveying the damage this morning I don’t think there is one roadway around the 12 acre Nursery that isn’t blocked by fallen trees. The houses on the nursery itself took a beating too with polythene sheets split on all bar one house and many more panes of glass smashed, my brother has been hard at it replacing glass for hours now thankful of a little warm sunshine and the lack of any wind and although we’ll get the Greenhouses back together today its going to take weeks to clear up the damage caused by a few hours of wind.

We love what we do here, growing flowers can be such a joy but at times like this it can also be a nerve jangling heart breaking rollercoaster. We’ve just got to hope that the worst of this winter is now behind us and a calmer Spring is on the way.

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