CORNWALL GARDENS TRUST
Editor DFJ Pearce
The Chairman’s Report from the 2011 AGM
Welcome to everyone and thank you for coming to the Tremayne Hall. The Education Programme for secondary schools has continued to thrive with help from our generous donor, the Tanner Trust. Seven awards have been made and other schools are being contacted by Claire Hewlett and her team. Primary schools have also benefited from the Small Grants Scheme, and the McCrone Trust is to be thanked here. Bodmin Library as part of the Passmore Edwards Library initiative is hoping to create a secret garden with CGT help. The 2012 South West Education Seminar will be hosted by the CGT and will probably take place in the spring.
Three bursaries were awarded to Duchy College students and we understand from the college tutors that all three are progressing satisfactorily. There is a current concern about the shrinking pool of well-trained professional gardeners and our bursary funding helps in a small but significant way to address this concern.
Ianthe del Tufo organised a training day for the Recorders at the Headland Garden, Polruan, by courtesy of Mrs Jean Hill. Records are at various stages of completion but more recording volunteers would help enormously to accelerate their completion. The AGT are actively promoting Volunteers Week June1st-7th co-ordinated by Volunteering England so perhaps this initiative might encourage members. The CGT has contributed to the Gyllygdune Gardens restoration project in Falmouth, an impressive undertaking which when completed will be open to the public and provide an attractive background to the Princess Pavilion. The cheque was formally handed over at Gyllygdune to Jon Mitchell, the Project Manager, who has expressed his thanks to the Trust.
Garden visits were mostly very well attended and Elisabeth Walker assisted with the stewarding. We are very grateful to the owners for giving up their time to guide our members, answer questions and provide very generous hospitality. The Christmas Lecture and Lunch, organized by Jean Marcus, was well received and we were made very welcome by the staff at Lanhydrock.
Trish Gibson is to be thanked for an excellent edition of the Journal, as is David Pearce for his informative Newsletters. The website, ably co-ordinated by Peter Fairbank, is as ever ready for members’ contributions.
The CGT were invited to two seminars: Opening all the Gates at Saltram and the Memorandum of Understanding at Lanhydrock. These continue an initiative by the National Trust and others to encourage accessibility to historic landscapes and gardens. The feasibility study, which I have referred to before and which is being undertaken by the AGT to link English Heritage and similar bodies, is not yet complete. Sally Walker, AGT Chairman, tells me they are ‘exploring opportunities’; however I am sure it will have been completed by the date of the AGM, September 2nd – 4th at Worcester College, Oxford, and entitled ‘Power Gardening’. Visits to some very grand gardens have been organized. I hope everyone was able to see a copy of the new AGT 2011 yearbook.
So once again, on behalf of the CGT, I should like to thank all the members of the committee for their hard work.
Reports on the CGT 2011 garden visits so far this year………
Chyverton House and Garden, on March 23rd
Chyverton, near Zelah, was visited on what proved to be the most perfect Spring day. We were given a warm welcome by our host, Nigel Holman, who told us the history of the beautiful Palladian-style house (built in 1730), perfectly sited to look down to a lake and the woodlands which rise on the other side and which has belonged to his family since the 1920s.
Mr Holman led us past a tall hedge of Myrtus luma, the cinnamon-coloured trunks beautiful in the sunshine to a clearing in which stood a tall and graceful Pinus butanicus, currently thought to be the tallest in the country. We walked through thickets of many camellias with their seedlings pushing up through the rich leaf mould and more pines originating from the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. The magnolias which had grown into towering trees were sadly burnt by an unwelcome late frost, but specimens of Magnolia stellata were gloriously untouched.
We crossed a bridge to a clearing which Mr Holman described as his ‘harem’, for here there were statues of various goddesses, the most alluring being Aphrodite. Nearby was an enchanting Corylopsis in full flower with space to grow into a true pyramidal shape. On either side of the stream grew two magnolias, one male and one female, which Mr Holman hopes will marry and produce seedlings! We turned into the long drive to be stopped in our tracks by the most stunning magnolia which Mr Holman named Harold Hillier; it was laden with white, fluttering flowers and the fallen flowers created a white carpet beneath. Behind this tree was another white magnolia almost in full flower and both had a background of a dark-green Quercus ilex; beside this lovely white magnolia there was a small young deep pinkish-ruby Magnolia platypatella.
Mr Holman confessed to urging his magnolias to outdo their neighbouring trees and one could certainly see the results. Very few of us wished to leave this beautiful garden and we are immensely grateful to Mr Holman for giving us such a magical tour of his beloved garden.
(Report by Marian Donaldson, photos by Trish Gibson)
Botallick at Lanreath, on April 13th
On April 13th the first view we had of Botallick should have given members a foretaste of what was to come: a blaze of colour could be seen in the valley below as we approached, later recognizable as an enormous Cornish red rhododendron in Botallick garden. Very soon, however, as we were greeted by the Bucknells and enjoyed excellent coffee and delicious biscuits, we could see that there was much, much more.
Peter and Pat Bucknell have created an outstanding garden around an old gabled farmhouse which once belonged to the Boconnoc estate. When they arrived here in 1994 there was a relatively small traditional garden around the house and a selection of farm buildings which have been gradually and gracefully incorporated into the landscape. The garden has now grown to about three to four acres and includes a large pond and a stream crossed by two bridges. There are several seating areas – one formally planted within the walls of an old building – for peaceful contemplation but I’m not sure when the Bucknells have time for this as Botallick has now become a real treasure house of familiar and unusual Camellias, Rhododendrons & Magnolias each of which Pat can name immediately. Not only are these aesthetically planted in the old garden and are now to be found in the orchard but are gradually taking over the area around and below the farmyard.
These plants are carefully placed so as to flourish but if – very occasionally – they don’t then they may be moved elsewhere to give them ‘one more chance’ or be quietly banished. Roses, Wisteria and Clematis swathe the old buildings adding colour and continuing the growing season. It would be invidious to pick out any one species as the best but I think that the superb collection of yellow magnolias was among my favourite. We all left Botallick full of admiration for the Bucknells’ professional approach and the sheer quality – and beauty – of what they had achieved in such a relatively short time. (Report by Angela Stubbs, photos by Claire Leith)
Ethy House at Lerryn, on May 13th
Ethy stands on a commanding eminence over the Lerryn River and the neighbouring countryside. The imposing mid-18th century house with its 19thC additions complements this position perfectly, and from much of the garden there is always the pleasure of glimpses of the ‘borrowed landscape’. Andrew and Vanessa Leslie have lived here for thirteen years and have done much to beautify their eighteen acres with energetic clearance and judicious planting.
A large group of members gathered in the courtyard enjoying refreshments while Andrew gave us a history of the house and its former owners, and then led us on a guided tour which began on the parterres which surround one side of the house in true classical fashion.
I particularly admired the long rectangular pool on one terrace, its clean lines echoed by an avenue of elegant Eucryphia. Then it was through the high wall into the beech woods behind and this is where Andrew has cleared away a veritable jungle of sycamore, brambles and weeds to open up the spaces – revealing a carpet of bluebells – and then planted them with a remarkable collection of specimen trees such as Quercus coccinea, Metasequoia and even some from the Far East such as the Taiwan Chestnut. An especially pleasing sight was a grouping of Cornus in full flower.
One session of extensive clearing – in true pioneer fashion – suddenly disclosed a view of Golant & the River Fowey and a rustic summerhouse has been built here so the scene can be enjoyed in comfort. Winding paths led us through the woods to the unexpected sight of a large pond complete with irises and sculpture which had been created by Andrew and from which the ground sloped gently down to the kitchen garden.
Our tour ended in the walled rose garden, possibly the site of the original medieval house. Energetic roses such as ‘Rambling Rector’ and Rosa Moyesii have plenty of space here in which to flourish and this colourful, sheltered area was the perfect ending to our visit to this beautiful garden with all its variety, and we were very grateful to the Leslies for giving up their time and welcoming us to Ethy.
(Report by Angela Stubbs, Photos by Christopher Gadsen)
Lanwithick at Mylor Churchtown on May 26th
Following the AGM a group of members rounded off the afternoon with a very happy, sunny, visit to Lanwithick gardens at Mylor Churchtown, by kind invitation of Mr and Mrs Spink. Chris and Sue, and their delightful puppy Lily, welcomed us warmly, as we joined other visitors enjoying the gardens, which were also open for the RNLI.
They bought the farmhouse with about three-quarters of an acre of garden at Mylor Churchtown 5 years ago, and have worked hard since then to bring the gardens back into shape. It is a comfortable garden now, with a feeling of “well-kempt” order and attention to detail throughout, from the new summerhouse with shingle roof, to the well-stacked log pile and carefully mowed lawns. The attractive, long, low white-painted house sits comfortably in the garden, on a gentle slope overlooking the Carrick Roads: behind it lie well-stocked and mature shrub beds, terraces, lawns, an orchard area and vegetable garden, and below it two years ago they commissioned Tracey Wilson to design and plant a new area.
Members particularly admired the colourful shrub and herbaceous planting, with particular interest given to a white Anemone (A. leveillei) with attractive blue blushed backs to the petals, planted in front of a Clerendendron, the colours perfectly complementing each other. There were a large number of attractive low-growing hardy Geraniums in flower around the terrace near the house, together with a well grown Parahebe tumbling over the low wall. The newly planted area in front of the house, mulched with slate and wood chips was admirable for its wide range of shape and colour themed plants, from a good form of Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ to various Heucheras, each different colour complemented by other plants.
Members enjoyed a delicious tea on the terrace, with home made cakes, and then several of us walked down the hill to the delightful church and found in the grave-yard the tomb of Howard Spring, who lived in Falmouth. What a varied and enjoyable afternoon – the CGT is a brilliant vehicle for exploring not only gardens but other aspects of Cornish life!
(Report by Lucie Nottingham, photos by Paul Marcus)
There is still time to book for the following garden visits:
Thursday21st July Woodland Cottage
Friday 2nd September The Sculpture Garden, Salena Stamps
Wednesday 12th October Kenall House Gardens
Full details are in the Winter / Spring Newsletter distributed in February. If you have lost these details, please ring David Pearce on 01872 572177 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For bookings please contact Peter Fairbank by telephone on 01326 372293 or by e-mail on email@example.com
Association of Gardens Trusts Yearbook 2011
If you have not yet got your free copy containing an amusing and informative article by Claire Hewlett, the CGT’s Education Coordinator, please send an addressed C5 envelope with a large letter stamp (46p or 36p) to The Membership Secretary, Sweet Thymes, Rose, Truro TR4 9PQ
The Cornwall Gardens Trust now has a PowerPoint presentation depicting the work of the trust. Volunteers will deliver this presentation to clubs and organisations with the idea of publicising what the trust is all about and recruiting members. If you know of any organisation which would be interested, please contact the CGT Secretary on 01326 372293 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit by the CGT Recorders Group to Gyllyngdune Gardens Restoration Project
Nigel Mathews arranged a visit for the recorders to see the restoration of Gyllyngdune gardens on May 6th. Cornwall Council is restoring the gardens originally designed and built by George Wightwick for General William Jessor Coope in 1837. Those present were Angela Stubbs (Chair of the CGT), Nigel Mathews, Hilary Bosher, Peter Fairbank & Ianthe del Tufo. Outside the Princess Pavillion we met the Project Manager Jon Mitchell and the Visitor and Education Officer Sarah Spiegler-Williams who took us round.
As this is a working site with contractors (working on both the gardens and the new café / bar and multipurpose space) we were issued with hard hats and safety waistcoats. From just above the car park we were shown the space where buildings had been knocked through to make a new entrance, so the garden will be visible and easy to reach for visitors. We were led round the works onto the first level where the verandas have already been restored, and the attractive cast iron band stand was being painted.
A cheque for £750 from the Cornwall Gardens Trust was presented by Dr Angela Stubbs to Jon Mitchell to go towards the restoration of urns in the garden.
Altogether this was a fascinating visit. I look forward to returning in August and seeing the completed Gyllyngdune Garden in all its glory. Thanks to Nigel Mathews for arranging the visit and many thanks to Jon and Sarah for taking us round and making it such an interesting and special occasion.
We were told of the plans to restore the shell work and that the experts will need volunteer help. Also Gyllyngdune will shortly have lots of planting to be done and will welcome volunteers. Anyone interested in helping should get in touch with Sarah Spiegler-Williams, email@example.com or telephone: 01326 310 980
(Report and photos by Ianthe del Tufo, Chair of Recorders Group). For a comprehensive report on this visit, complete with coloured photographs, go to the CGT Website – www.cornwallgardenstrust.org.uk
Believe it or not, there are still some outstanding subscriptions! Members in arrears are being reminded yet again with a note enclosed that subscriptions were due on April 1st. It would considerably reduce the workload of the Membership Secretary if members paid by standing order obviating the need for reminders; please ask for a form.
Lobb Brothers Appeal
A meeting in March focused on what might be done about Spring Vale (the cottage at Devoran in which Thomas Lobb lived in until his death and is now on the market) and the formation of a Lobb Society (to promote and record the brothers’ work and lives).
Does anyone have the time or experience to orchestrate some sort of institutional support for a rescue fund for the cottage?
Aims of the Lobb Society could be (a) to spread the message that we are on the hunt for more items – letters, photos, herbarium specimens etc – connected to the brothers; (b) to compile a bibliography of all the books, journals and articles that have mentioned them; and (c) to draw up a list of all the plants they helped to introduce and/or commercialise in the UK.
If anyone has ideas or suggestions or can volunteer for anything mentioned above, please contact:
Leo Hickman, Higher Trebyan, Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL30 5AE. Tel: 07876 217220 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The trustees are looking for a keen volunteer to take on the job of fundraising for the trust. If you are interested in doing this, or know of anyone who might be prepared to take on this task, would you please contact either Dr Angela Stubbs (01326 250092) or Peter del Tufo (01326 231339) to find out more about what this role entails.
If you are interested in taking on any aspect of the trust’s activities – don’t hide your light under a bushel – please contact our Chairman, Angela Stubbs on 01326 250092.
Remember – Many hands make light work!
CGT Website www.cornwallgardenstrust.org.uk
Have you visited the newly laid out and easily accessible website? If you have, you will see the website now has a page for News Items, so if anyone has any bits they wish to advertise before, or in addition to, the regular Newsletter, (seen in colour on the website), please send your contribution to:
the CGT Secretary – email@example.com
Alison Hodge, member of the Cornwall Gardens Trust has an interesting website to visit – www.alisonhodgepublishers.co.uk – with lots of information about a range of books on Cornwall, and their authors and illustrators. She says ‘Have a look around, and you might like to subscribe to our RSS feed or share a page. You can also follow us on Facebook. Hope you like it… any feedback welcome!’
David Pearce, Cornwall Gardens Trust Newsletter editor, is happy to receive short articles of information from members for publication in future Newsletters. These may be on any garden related topic, technical, personal experiences, humorous moments, cartoons etc. Please send articles to Sweet Thymes, Rose, Truro TR4 9PQ either by snail-mail or preferably by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org