On 10th February, the advent of Spring was declared in Cornwall. Although this may come as a surprise to those experiencing snow today, this declaration comes after the early flowering of the Magnolia campbelli tree – the now traditional sign of Spring in the county.
The season can be officially announced when the Great Gardens of Cornwall: Caerhays Castle Gardens: Trebah Garden; Tregothnan; Trewidden; Trewithen; and The Lost Gardens of Heligan, all observe over 50 blooms on their champion Magnolia trees. After the exceptionally mild winter, this year the event has occurred at an unprecedentedly early stage.
Charles Williams, Chairman of the Great Gardens of Cornwall, commented: “I can say with great certainty that this is a uniquely early magnolia season. We saw our first flowering magnolia, (a hybrid of M. mollicomata and M. Campbellii) on January 3. In 2010 or 2011 we had a magnolia flower on the table in very late January but this beats all known or conceivable records by about a month. Quite staggering.”
This is the fifth year that the season has been marked in this way, but for the first time a bouquet of magnolias were presented to Number 10 Downing Street to celebrate the occasion.