Tregoose, Grampound

CGT members are not accustomed to visiting gardens in the middle of winter but on February 8th, a chilly but bright morning, fourteen stalwart souls were welcomed by Mrs Alison O’Connor at Tregoose near Grampound to admire her famed display of species snowdrops.  Mrs O’Connor explained that when she first came to Tregoose, a handsome stone farmhouse on elevated ground, there was a serious need for protection from the wind. An avenue of elms had died as a result of disease and so the O’Connors planted conifers which have now grown tall and give adequate protection.

The garden is really in two sections with a lawn in front of the house, and a small walled garden to one side.  But what we had come to see was the woodland garden to the back of the house.  Mrs O’Connor led us round this area and gradually we began to realize that there is not just one kind of snowdrop but many, many more!  Here at Tregoose they have obviously found the perfect conditions of semi-shade under a canopy of tall trees interspersed by a select planting of spring shrubs such as Camellias, Hammamelis and even a compact Michelia.

Winding paths lead through the naturalistic display of beds and each cluster of snowdrops is carefully labelled and easy to admire. New beds have been established recently and more varieties are being planted. It is not possible here to list each snowdrop type so I shall just mention those which caught my eye: from the double, Galanthus nivalis flore pleno, to the even taller and prolific atkinsii with its glaucous, narrow leaves. There was pretty bell-shaped hippolyta and the old variety Merlin, its petals spotted with green, stunning Warhamwith ridged wide leaves and tall Brenda Troyle with its inner petals tipped with green or Galanthus viridapicis with its green tipped outer petals. The calyx of one snowdrop from the Sandersii group was yellow and one or two species had a distinctly yellow bloom to them.

One can hardly imagine the subtle differences between the varieties both of the flowers or the leaves, or fail to be intrigued by their names: one delicate bloom was rather unfairly called Grumpy! The visit ended up with delicious refreshments in the house and I am sure everyone had much enjoyed the visit and was very appreciative of Mrs O’Connor’s informative and expert tour round her remarkable collection of Galanthus.

Angela Stubbs & Sheila Cotterell