Carclew, Mylor

After a wet morning the rain cleared, and about 40 members met at Carclew House, the home of John and Sally Williams who moved there 3 years ago.

This modern house, built in 1963 on the western slopes of Carclew garden, overlooks the walls and terraces (Grade II listed) of the original garden, over the formal pond in the valley bottom to the magnificent trees and rhododendrons of the original garden planting.

Some of these grand old rhododendrons date back to planting of seed collected by Sir Joseph Hooker 150 years ago when the estate and garden were owned by Sir Charles Lemon. The estate and garden are now split up amongst several owners, but the garden remains intact.

The part of the garden belonging to John and Sally Williams – the terraces and woodland beside – is experiencing a renaissance. When I saw these terraces a few years ago, they were pleasant but unremarkable. Now a grand clearance has happened and great new planting is establishing with the help of advice from Barry Champion (former Head Gardener at Trelissick) and a lot of hard work from the owners!

We walked down through the terraces, out along the drive past older houses and buildings of the estate, past the overgrown end of the formal pond down to admire the romantic ruins of the Palladian style mansion built and enlarged by the Lemon family which was tragically destroyed by fire in 1934. We went on down the woodland track to see the remains of the water wheel below the small wheel pond, which had generated electricity and pumped water for the mansion. We walked back up to the house through the woodland walk beside the terraces past more great new plantings beneath the tree canopy.

The Acer glade had over 40 varieties of good sized young trees looking very happy, the ferns unfurling and the woodland planting going back up the slope made a good contrast to the grassed terraces and borders on the other side of the wall. We all enjoyed a splendid cream tea on the terrace and in the conservatory, thanking our hosts for such a memorable afternoon, and will be looking forward to seeing the progress as the garden develops.

Elisabeth Walker