Lamorran, St Mawes

On May 24th, after days of cool, grey skies and everyone wondering whether the sun would ever shine before the longest day, the most perfect conditions arrived for some fourteen members to appreciate and enjoy Lamorran garden.

Mr Dudley Cooke welcomed us in a green oasis approached by a path to a pool shaded by the interlacing branches of the surrounding trees. The ‘oasis’ was what remained of a tennis court. Thirty years ago Mr Dudley Cooke brought back to Lamorran from his garden in Farnham, Surrey, many plants that he had earlier taken there from Cornwall – an amazing feat of transfer by enormous lorries quite unused to Cornish country lanes.

Two dwarf conifers – an Abies and a Picea – encouraged by the benign conditions, have grown into great trees, and in the corner of this area was a magnificent Viburnum mariesii. The azaleas were trimmed to a curving border, dense and without the twiggy growth seen so often, and consequently flowering for longer. The presence of the sea and the wonderful canopy of all the trees – Myrtus, Acacias, a great variety of palms and tree ferns – and the ever-protective majesty of the Monterey pines have encouraged so many plants to thrive. Callistemons, Clianthus, Abutilons and Camellias have all been untouched by frost – in fact, there has only been one frost since the late 1980s!

The narrow paths wound round and down giving a feeling of mystery and excitement. Little dells with pools were enchanting and with the sun so high, the light filtered down to the pools and lovely ripples of light were reflected on to the shiny leaves of the palms leaning over the pools.

Everywhere there were places to stop and gaze at tree-framed views of the sea, Mediterranean in colour, where one felt the influence of Italy and also Japan. A lovely cupola stands halfway down the steep hillside on which the garden descends. Here one had a perfect view of St Anthony lighthouse and out to sea.

Six pumps in the garden make sure that a continuous stream of water descends to pools as one descends towards the sea. It took ten years to reach the bottom of the garden as we saw it on this lovely day. Here we found a delightful arbour – one could be in Italy, a curving wall with pillared windows from which to gaze at the beautiful vista of land and sea.

Tea with cucumber sandwiches and scones just rounded off a truly memorable visit.

Marion Donaldson & Letitia Yetman