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.
Cutlinwith, Tideford, Saltash PL12 5HX - The owners of Cutlinwith have kindly agreed to open their beautiful garden again, just for us. Created 14 years ago and now beginning to mature, it is designed to have year-round interest. Including a water garden, streams and ponds, and a developing Acer, Magnolia and bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) walk that leads to woodland paths, it should be rich with spectacular autumn colour at the time of our visit.
Tartendown Nurseries, Landrake, Saltash PL12 5AF - Tartendown Nurseries are set amongst the rolling hills of a pretty valley and offers an extensive selection of traditional and exotic flowers, plants shrubs and trees, many of which are grown on the premises.
The booking form will be included in our June 2017 mailing.
7.30pm - The Alverton, Tregolls Road, Truro TR1 1ZQ
Howard Wills - 'Sempervivums'
Howard confesses to being a life-long gardening enthusiast and plantaholic with a keen interest in watching, recording and studying our native fauna and flora. With many years’ experience of growing a wide range of plants, he runs a small nursery that he manages in an environmentally sensitive way.
At Fernwood, he holds National Council for the Conservation of Plants & Gardens (NCCPG) National Collections® of Sempervivum (his first lecture topic) and Jovibarba species and cultivars (Alpine Houseleeks). He has previously held National Collections® of Phormium species and cultivars (New Zealand Flax), and Rosularia species.