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An Island Record is Broken


As I write, the rest of the country is preparing to hunker down for a long-awaited cold spell. There is a curious, almost palpable sense of relief that, at last, winter is on its way.

Not so here on Tresco. It looks as though temperatures may dip to a chilly eight degrees Celsius next week, but we’re hardly making a dash for the thermals and wooly jumpers.

Whilst the rest of the country has been blinking bemusedly at the mercury, for us on Tresco this winter has not really felt all that different. Yes, it’s been a little wetter and windier than we’d have liked but here on Scilly, at Albion’s most south-westerly tip, mild winters are certainly nothing unusual.

In fact, the only sign this winter has been any milder than usual is the record-breaking number of plants in flower at this year’s New Year Flower Count.

The annual tradition took place earlier in January and saw more species of plants than ever before in bloom – an astounding 289.

Tresco Abbey Garden’s curator Mike Nelhams, head gardener Andrew Lawson, and horticulture students undertook this year’s flower count on 7th January, upholding an annual tradition that has taken place for over 150 years.

Tresco Abbey Garden is described by some as a ‘Kew with the lid off’, such is the stunning array of sub-tropical flowers which have made this rocky outcrop their home.

This year plants in flower during the count included a sea of orange South African Aloe, bright yellow Australian Banksia and Mexican Senecio gradniflorus, as well as vibrant scatterings of purple Tibouchina and deep blue Echiums – usually not in flower before April.

Mike Nelhams, Curator, Abbey Garden, said: “We were pleasantly surprised to count so many flowers in the garden during this year’s count, especially considering the lack of sunshine and strong winds we’ve had this winter.

"With most other gardens in Britain looking less colourful at this time of year the New Year count is always a good time of year to see how many plants we have flowering and it’s great to see the garden is thriving despite such unpredictable seasons.”

The World In A Garden Break

Our globe-trotting Curator has traveled far and wide in search of fine gardens and plants. All this horticultural gadding about has inspired our 2016 World in a Garden Break.

This break will allow you to develop your gardening techniques and plant knowledge before returning home with a bag of seeds and cuttings for your own garden.

You can choose to join us in early or late summer - June or September - and each break includes:

  • Evening lecture by Curator Mike Nelhams on "Great Gardens of the World"
  • Two Abbey Garden walks focussing on the Curator's top plants from around the globe
  • Return flights from Land’s End and all transfers (upgrades to fly from Exeter and Newquay available at a supplement)
  • Five nights accommodation at The New Inn, on a Dinner, Bed & Breakfast basis.
  • Full access to spa and leisure facilities

Non-participating partners are welcome!

Price: £975 per person (based on 2 sharing; single supplement £60)

To find out more about this break, please see our Offers & Breaks page.

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