February 1841

Bellamy's Guernsey Pictorial Directory and Strangers' Guide, pp. 40-1. An extract from the book, published in 1843, with an accompanying note.

Frost and Snow.

Neither are severe, and the latter seldom remains on the ground beyond three days. One may be here two or three winters without witnessing both together, and not unfrequently without the appearance of either. Like other maritime situations, the cold seems to be mitigated by caloric imparted to the atmosphere from the surrounding ocean; and the exuberance of the various exotics which flourish unguarded at all seasons in the open air, puts forth sufficient evidence of the mildness of the climate. The double camellias bloom abundantly in November, and orange-trees endure the winter with only a slight occasional covering of matting. A correspondent of the Horticultural Chronicle observes that on riding towards St Saviour's he was much pleased to see two magnificent orange-trees hid in boxes as a shelter from the side winds, at the house of a Mr Hartley, and which then looked exceedingly handsome, as they were ornamented with some two or three dozen ripe fruit.*

*In a memorandum, Saturday, February 6, 1841, I find that the winter of that year was the severest we have had for many years past. It destroyed many precious plants, especially myrtles and orange-trees, indeed its ravages were so extensive as to strip down huge limbs from the more robust trees, and in such quantities in the sister-isle, that many dreaded the consequences. This frost appears to have been very remarkable, for the preceding evening was marked by a dense mist, which in contact and in so-opertaion with a sudden frost, glazed the trees and shrubs with masses of ice, and gave them the appearance of solid icicles, which gave rise to the following witticism: 'If the whole island were not christianized, it was at least crystallized.' It proved fatal to several interesting exotics, which had been the pride of many a garden. The Cape heaths and Australian shrubs were almost all destroyed. Every species of leptospermum, which had braved our winters for forty years, were killed. The general scenery at the time was so exceedingly beautiful, from the ramifications of the trees being wrought up into so many magical and fantastical shapes, that I endeavoured to make a sketch of one, but the cold was too intense to allow me to accomplish my object. The snow and frost continued to increase from Monday 1st, and on the 3rd and 5th all creation was white.