Tresco’s New Year Flower Count Battles ‘Atrocious’ Weather

Abbey Gardens Curator Mike Nelhams

Abbey Gardens Curator Mike Nelhams

The 2016 New Year’s Day flower count on Tresco shows the Abbey Gardens is blooming, despite some poor weather over the Christmas period.

Curator Mike Nelhams says Head Gardener Andrew Lawson “battled round in the most atrocious conditions” on the 1st January, but still managed to find 289 different species flowering.

That’s slightly up on last year’s 285, and Mike says they could probably have made it up to 300 if they’d, “looked in every bush and nook and cranny.”

Mike says there were no major surprises – some plants perform well some years and others don’t. It’s all down to the amount of sunlight, rain and winds that they receive.

And while the weather was very mild across the UK this autumn, he says that’s not unusual for Scilly and our lack of sunshine has meant that certain plants have delayed forming buds.

Records show that sporadic winter flower counts have been taken in the Abbey Gardens since they were established in the mid 19th century.

And Mike says in Edwardian times, the famous Hanbury Botanic Gardens in Italy used to compare their counts with Tresco.

He says at this time of year, you’d struggle to find 15 to 20 non-native plants in full flower in mainland gardens.

Mike is expecting a blustery January and February and, if recent weather patterns are followed, a cold spell in March, but he says he expects the Abbey Gardens to look “exceptional” by early April.