Friday 21 June 2013

Now the Juniper

Hard on the heels of Ash Dieback Disease comes news of a fungal threat to our native Juniper trees - and we can't afford to lose any native conifer species: Juniper is one of just three, and most of our juniper trees are old and ailing. The fungus, Phytophthora Austrocedrae, has been found in trees in Scotland and Northern England, and the news has predictably been reported as a threat to our precious gin and tonic - though it is no such thing, as we import nearly all our juniper berries from eastern Europe. As usual with these tree scares, it's hard to know how seriously to take it - and hard not to suspect that imported plants might be involved (though it's illegal to import junipers from beyond the EU).  The good news is that there's no sign of trouble around Box Hill, where the numerous junipers gave their name to Juniper Hall, now a field centre, in the 1790s a haunt of French emigres [does anyone know how to do accents on Blogger?] escaping the worst excesses of the French Revolution. It was in the Templeton Room at Juniper Hall that Fanny Burney met General Alexandre d'Arblay and fell in love. They married soon after in Mickleham church and settled down happily in Camilla Cottage (built on the royalties of the novel) in nearby Westhumble, just along the road from the Burford Bridge hotel, where in 1817 John Keats stayed while he was writing Endymion: 'I like this place very much. There is Hill & Dale and a little River--I went up Box hill this Evening after the Moon--you a' seen the Moon--came down--and wrote some lines. Whenever I am separated from you, and not engaged in a continued Poem--every Letter shall bring you a lyric--but I am too anxious for you to enjoy the whole, to send you a particle...'


  1. Accents in Blogger... Yes!
    Type the text in "Word" or any similar WP package, incudIng the accented characters, then copy and paste to Blogger.
    Love the blog BTW! :)

  2. Thanks for that, Namesake! I'll try it...