Cornwall has been described as the garden capital of the world but, as an exhibition at the Cornwall Spring Flower Show in 2016 demonstrated, the county owes its wonderful springtime splendour not to native species - but rather to a small band of intrepid plant hunters who brought back seeds.
The fabulous range of Camellias, Magnolias, Rhododendrons and Daffodils that brighten up our gardens and our lives from February onwards would not be here were it not for the likes of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, George Forrest, Ernest Henry Wilson and Captain Richard Rawes who braved untold dangers and adventures to bring them back to Britain.
Sponsored by a number of wealthy estate owners including JC Williams of Caerhays Castle and George Johnstone of Trewithen House, their incredible exploits helped to transform a country that had the smallest natural flora in the world to one that can now boast the widest range of any nation on earth. Given that 70% more plants grow in Cornwall than in the rest of Britain put together, it is hardly surprising that an event like Cornwall Spring Flower Show provides the ultimate testament to all that the plant hunters achieved.
“I suspect most of us take the extraordinary shrubs and plants in our gardens for granted but the truth is we wouldn’t have them if the plant hunters hadn’t travelled so widely,” said Pat Ward, who putt the exhibition together for the show. “We’re staging the display in its own marquee with lots of beautiful photos and samples of flowers. Hopefully, visitors will enjoy it and learn a lot more about Cornwall’s horticulture in the process. I’m also doing a ‘six easy steps to competing’ guide as well.”
Photo: Camellias and magnolias aren’t native to Cornwall but were introduced by plant hunters
Our members have some truly beautiful and interesting gardens. Take a look to see some of the wonderful things growing.
You can take out CGS membership as an individual or as a family and there are lots of benefits.
Visiting Gardens of Yorkshire
Taking in RHS Harlow Carr, Newby Hall, Castle Howard, RHS Scampston Walled Gardens, Helmsley Walled Gardens and the delightfully-named Breezy Knees Garden & Nursery, this will be your chance to experience Yorkshire at its summery best.
Visits to National Trust Packwood House on the way up and National Trust Baddesley Clinton House on the way home will punctuate our journeys and provide further interest.
The booking form and full itinerary was included in our December 2016 mailing.
West Haye Farm, Haye, Callington PL17 7JW, Anvil Cottage and Windmills Garden, South Hill, Callington PL17 7LP
In 1994, Paul Haye levelled an unkempt field at West Haye Farm with just a pick and shovel; his only mechanical assistance being a digger to create two ponds. Since 2002, Paul and his wife have developed their horticultural haven, adding new plants, a shrubbery and a kitchen garden.
Geoff and Barbara Clemerson designed their garden at Anvil Cottage to attract many species of bird with shrubs and trees providing cover and nesting sites. Steps from a rather formal front garden lead up to an area with panoramic views across the southern end of Bodmin Moor and into a rose garden, beyond which is a small wild space that includes a hot bed and jungle garden.
Windmills Garden, owned by Peter and Sue Tunnicliffe, nestles next to St. Sampson’s, a medieval church, on the site of an old rectory. It is a garden full of surprises with formal paths and steps to flower beds, vegetables and soft fruit areas, a water feature with rustic stone bridge and a pergola.
The booking form will be included in our March 2017 mailing.