Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 17 May 1917

Our Cornish driver said today that here they had had “two winters in one, and that a bad one.” Certainly one does not remember ever to have seen gorse so badly damaged. One thinks of gorse and ling as the hardiest of hardy shrubs, yet here there are great tracts of whin quite sandbrown, and the green, young shoots of the ling are only beginning to prevail over the dead surface. If you beat a bush of ling you have the queer experience of seeing it turn green under the taps of your stick. Another odd thing is that the succulent shoots of the Mesembryanthemum have in many places survived without harm. Of course many square feet of this rampant exotic have been destroyed, but on one sunny slope to the sea we saw a continuous sheet over a well ten feat high and about thirty foot long; it came rambling over the top of this wall, cascading down and then running along the gravel path at the foot, and out over the border and through the fence and on to the cliff beyond, like the ripples of the waves below, after they have broken, invading every crevice with silent haste. This huge tract was deeply green and full of promising buds, yet the gorse bushes with which the fleshy leaves came in contact had been killed by the winter.

Another odd effect of the very late spring is that the blackthorn was overtaken by the gorse, and we have had the very uncommon sight of gorse bushes in full glory of gold and odour, with the frothing among them of blackthorn blossoms, peculiarly thick and snowy this season. In the coves running down to the sea here the blackthorn grows very dwarf and hugs the stones, looking almost like a distinct variety.

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Source: Guardian Climate Change