Tuesday, May 24, 2016

more colours of Spring

Our drive to fully immerse ourselves in the Cornish Spring continues apace.   We visited the Pine Lodge gardens and Pinetum in St Austell one Saturday morning, and despite rather grey skies it was a delight to visit this private garden.  They have over 6,000 plant variaties and it actually felt like a large family estate that celebrated nature rather than sought to just exploit it.

I smiled the whole way around:

We found this specimen in the plant sale and had to have it, the depth of the colour is something else:

We were also invited by Cornwall Butterfly Conservation to join a visit to a number of sites looking for emergent Pearl Bordered Fritillaries.  We visited three sites finding insects at everyone, the last site was where we'd worked in December and it was wonderful to see the declining and scarce species benefit from our work and the work of the experts and all the other volunteers:

We also took ourselves on a walk around Loe Bar, where we'd first seen Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries last year, one day later on the calendar, and even though the Spring has been and remains a cold one, we were successful:

As the weather delayed the full burst of Spring we waited until late into the local bluebell festivals to visit one of the premier sites in the county for them, Enys Gardens:

It's a magnificent site even though the rest of the house and gardens are in some disrepair and seem on the whole to be confused.

Another day another trip out, this time on to the MOD land at Penhale Sands, guided by the warden in search of more butterfly species.  The land is used for escape, evasion and survival training:

We saw Brown Argus:

Dingy Skipper:

Blankets of ground ivy:

A green leaf beetle:

Marsh Marigold:

Nearly up to date now and a wet and windswept walk towards Pendeen saw us hike the last few miles home in wind and fog, we did get to see this dolmen like structure on the moors:

And finally our most recent day out was a 10 mile circular walk from Predannack to the Lizard Point, and back again.   The sun was shining, a light but stiffening breeze made for a beautiful day's walking:

We were also pleased to discover a second breeding location for the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary:

Let's hope for a warmer last month of Spring, there's plenty more to see and enjoy!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

A cold but dry Spring

Last year (2015) was a shocker weather wise.   I'd been lulled into a false sense of how things were in Cornwall as the previous Summer was one of the very best, but it rained almost non-stop here and elsewhere for about 9 months starting in April.

This Spring thus far has proved very different,  It is cold but it is sunny and therefore Cornwall is reminding us of why we moved here.

We took a few weeks to recover from the North East India holiday/ordeal but then hit the ground running at the start of April, visiting one of the places I most wanted to see, Burncoose Nursery and Gardens.   They have a Spring flowering garden that is spectacular, a lot of the blooms featured in a post this time last year but suffice to say the weather this time was notably different:

These reminded me of breakfast:

Burncoose really is a treat to visit from late March right through to June as the various trees and shrubs flower in the gardens.   They do tea and coffee too when you need to shelter from a passing shower.

I'd like to claim the following sequence was taken over time but it's different flowers on a couple of trees in truth:

We also walked the outskirts of Trellisick Gardens, we didn't see many species but this Firecrest with nesting material was a delight:

I am keen to see as many species of butterfly this year as possible.  A key local and indeed national site is Penhale Sands, with spectacular views:

My enthusiasm however was such that we were probably a good 2-3 weeks early and didn't see a single specimen.  Doh!

We did see the emergence of some plant foods though, like this Kidney Vetch, so the butterflies won't be too far behind:

Another day another walk, this one a nine mile circuit from Coverack, along the coastal path and then inland.   The coastal views are a delight:

And I am chuffed with the various lenses i have acquired over the years and finally being able to use them in anger.

A number of areas were at the very first stages of coming into bloom, I suspect a walk here again in a month or so will see much more colour to compliment the landscape.   This is a Yellow Iris bloom, one of just a couple in a large swathe of the plants:

We've also walked locally with friends into Tehidy woods:

All the while with one eye on the development of the Bluebells:

We missed out completely last year and I was determined not to do so this year.   The pinnacle of our viewing this year was just yesterday at Enys Gardens.   It's a run-down estate and house and like every other house we've been to in Cornwall there are pheasants for shooting in the forest (why do they uniformly have to be monsters?) however the carpets of bluebells are spectacular to behold.  And they're not properly out, I think the 2nd week of May will be best this year given how cold April has been.

What a view though:

At Enys Gardens they appear to be slowly converting the areas surrounding the bluebells into gardens that will prove attractive to visitors throughout the year, perhaps with any eye to raising more income this way.  A large gang was working on the pond when we were there, ensuring various flowers had space to grow:

 And a formal garden is being developed along with an orchard.  A number of Tulips were in flower:

They do have a long way to go though.   The walled kitchen garden is completely abandoned and a lot of the buildings are being left to rot.  But it's worth a visit to see the Bluebells!