Cornwall Gardens Trust Website

by Peter Fairbank

The Cornwall Gardens Trust was initially predominantly concerned with the conservation of historic gardens and landscapes, before tentatively moving towards encouraging the younger generation to become interested in gardens and gardening. In so doing, the trustees under the guidance of Sir Ferrers Vyvyan felt that it was important to modernise their approach in communications with existing and potential members, as well as others who might have an interest in the work of the Trust. Routine communication had already largely been dominated by the now familiar system of email, and in early 2005 it was agreed to create a website for publication on the internet.

The Membership Committee was tasked with developing the site, and a trial site was created in June of that year. After a review of the content, the site went ‘live’ (in other words, anyone in the world with access to the world wide web and the internet could view the content) some three months later.  At that time, the content was quite basic and consisted mainly of brief paragraphs of text explaining the aims of the Trust and the work of the various committees.

The site continued in the same style for several years with some minor changes, until by October 2008 it was considered to be looking a little staid and outdated. The Membership Committee proposed seeking funding from the trustees to finance a complete revamp of the site, but before that had been requested, Dr Stubbs suggested that she approach a family friend who might help out. Somehow, she managed to persuade Jeff Meadows to get involved, and he has since given freely and most generously of his advice and support to produce the website that we now have. This incidentally includes on our Home Page a delightful painting of Rhododendron macabeanum by his wife Tiffa. The trustees are extremely grateful to Jeff for all his help.

A mock-up version of the proposed new site was created by January 2009, and after some modifications, it went live in early June 2009.  Since then, a continuing system of review has resulted in a number of improvements.  Among these is the inclusion of previous editions of The Journal since 2004.  It has since been decided to include a précis of future Journal articles at the time of publication, with the full edition of the whole Journal being included at least six months after the printed version becomes available.

Other additions to the site are a number of book reviews, a list of the gardens that have been recorded, and details of the primary schools that have benefited from CGT grants.  Copies of the recent regular Newsletters are now also published on the site, as well as details about the year’s programme of garden visits and social events.  Dates of committee meetings etc are also given in a ‘diary’ area of the site.

Many modern websites tend to have a high pictorial content to ‘lighten’ the text. This style was favoured by the committee, and so the photo album was born. This includes a wide variety of both general and specific photographs provided by Trish Gibson, Jean Marcus, David Pearce, Mike and Jeanne Hitchings, and Chris Salter and Jill Burns, as well as some obscure ones by myself!! My apologies if I have omitted the names of any contributors we are most grateful to all those who have sent in photographs but even more would be most welcome.

A website is of extremely limited use unless it is kept continually updated and correct with regards to contact details and the like, and a News Items page has recently been included to facilitate this. We are always open to constructive criticism of the site, and welcome comments on how to improve and enhance the content so please give us your feedback.

Tiffa Meadows's watercolour of Rhododendron macabeanum was originally commissioned by Trengwainton who were concerned that they may lose their Macabeanums to Sudden Oak Death. More of Tiffa's work can be seen at

Tiffa Meadows’ watercolour of Rhododendron macabeanum was originally commissioned by Trengwainton who were concerned that they may lose their Macabeanums to Sudden Oak Death. 

More of Tiffa’s work can be seen at