P1010708 (1024x768)I have been keeping something from you.  It was for your own good.  The last three weeks have been a worrying time for us at Cliffe as we had a suspected case of Phytophera ramorum, widely known as Sudden Oak Death.  If not this despicable disease it may have been its cousin Phytophera kernoviae (so named as it was first detected in Kernow/Cornwall).  The consequences of either of these diseases is not good, including words like burning, disinfectant and weeping.  The list of trees and shrubs it affects runs to several pages, most of which we have in the garden, including magnolia, camellia, viburnum, eucalyptus, larch.  It is spread by wind, animal, shoes, on new plants.  The spores can remain viable in the soil for many years.  There is no effective cure at present.  Beam me up Scottie.  The story began when I noticed some ominous looking die-back on the above outrageous Rhododendron (Loderi Group).  After checking for any physical reason, I did my duty and contacted The Powers That Be.   Shortly after we visited by the man from FERA, the agency employed by the government to detect these things.  Think of him as a horticultural Mulder and Scully, without the Scully or the gun*.  For those of you who read this blog regularly you have seen this man before, in a different guise.  Actually you only saw his pen marked finger on which a rather splendid beetle was balanced.  A very thorough survey ensued, with seventeen samples over five acres, from boundary to boundary.  It was probably inappropriate on such an occasion but I had a great day, helping/hindering and chatting to a thoroughly professional but sympathetic gent, whose aim is not to steamroller but to work with the public to try and control the devastation.  Three long weeks later and we have been told by the Beetle Whisperer that we are clear, jubilation!  I would  also have confessed if it was bad news, I suppose it would have made a good story, but I prefer the happy ending in this one.

*of this I cannot be sure, as far as I could ascertain a black marker pen was the most dangerous object he had with him.  It was particularly impressive marker pen though.



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9 responses to “Confession

  1. My goodness, that must be a huge relief, a very happy ending!

  2. What a terrible worry for you. I am so glad that you have had the all clear.
    I love that Rhoddie, what a gorgeous colour.

  3. Michelle - Germany

    WHEW!!! What a relief!! So happy the news was good, and now you can relax. Well, you know what I mean, not on the sofa in the potting shed 😉 Bootiful Rhody, so feminine and gorgeous. Like your dear self of course XX

  4. Brilliant post. You are such a good writer! You had me on tenterhooks, but it turned out alright in the end. I’m happy to hear it.

  5. Glad you got the all clear. I had images of us all having to go through a foot bath when we visit in June. Did you sort out the why’s of the die back or was it just one of those things?

  6. diversifolius

    That’s very good news indeed! We have a few areas with problems in Canada too.

  7. Good to hear all is OK ….

  8. Cathy Marjoram

    Hooray, hooray……it’s sort of like worrying that you might have nits only worse …isn’t it….did I just think that or write it too!?!?

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