News Round Up
by Patrick O'Connor
The BBC tells us that around 25,000 daffodils and bluebell bulbs are being planted at English Heritage gardens, including Queen Victoria's former home Osborne House, because the flowers are under threat from hybrids and non-native species such as the Spanish bluebell.
John Watkins, head of gardens and landscapes at English Heritage, said: “Our native species and historic cultivars are increasingly under threat from cross-pollination with non-native species and hybrids that flower at the same time.”
He added: “The resulting offspring will be hybrids and likely to outperform and out-compete the native species. Historic gardens and landscapes are often the last refuge for ancient cultivars and native species.”
And the Daily Express has warned that British conker trees are facing extinction because of disease-filled European moths.
The situation is so bad that no new trees will be planted either because they only reach between three and five years before being ravaged by the leaf-miner moths,.
Local councils are also removing existing plants so they people aren’t hit by diseased branches when they fall.
Professor Stephen Woodward, an expert in the pathology of trees at the University of Aberdeen, said: “I suspect that Britain actually has more than two million horse chestnuts but it is entirely plausible that two million trees will be wiped out within 15 years.”
How about this for a bargain....according to the Daily Mail an unnamed visitor from the Hampshire area bought an old five inch tall Chinese vase for £10 at a car boot sale only to later find out it is Imperial Chinese enamel worth about £30,000!
John Axford, head of the auction house's Asian art department, at Woolley & Wallis auctioneers in Salisbury, Wiltshire, said the the item was a rare 'two quails' vase and at least 220 years old.
The vase has the four character Qianlong mark - the sixth emperor of the Qing dynasty - and would have been made by Imperial command in the Beijing Palace workshop between 1736 and 1795.
Mr Axford said: “The owner bought it at the end of the day at a car boot sale, where it had just sat on a stall.
“He thought it looked interesting and decided to offer it on eBay but within a very short space of time he had been inundated with questions and the bids had gone to £10,000. It was then he realised it was possibly something very special.”
Fancy working for the Queen? The Daily Mirror says a cleaner is being sought at the monarch's official Scottish residence – the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The £8,580-a-year job involves 20-hours over a five-day week.
A bottle of vintage cognac has been sold for £222,000, reports the Daily Mail.
The three-quarter gallon bottle of Massougnes 1801 Cognac has been owned by Brandy Classics for more than 20 years but has now been purchased by a buyer from the Far East and is thought to be the most expensive brandy ever sold.
David Baker, who founded Brandy Classics in the 1980s, bought the cognac near Aigre in South Western France, from Marie-Antoinette des AllÃ©es, Comtesse de la Bourdeliere, who is a direct descendant of Louis VII.
The oldest man in Britain puts his longevity down to hard work and a daily fry-up, says the Daily Express.
108 year old John Mansfield, who lived in Mayfield, Derbyshire for most of his life until medical problems led to a move to a care home in Etwall, Derbyshire five weeks ago,was born in 1907 meaning he has lived through 19 Prime Ministers, five monarchs and survived two world wars.
He says he has a full English breakfast every morning, a pint of lager with his Sunday dinners and drinks vinegar to ward off ailments.
The Express (www.express.co.uk)
Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)
Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)