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.
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Brightwater Garden Holidays have organised this tour for us, which will begin with Beth Chatto’s famous garden. Corpusty Mill, the private garden of Roger Last will be followed by National Trust Blickling Hall; Dell Garden and Foggy Bottom created by the Bloom family; Helmingham Hall Gardens where house, parkland and gardens create an exceptional work of art, and Wyken Hall.
The Plantation Garden in Norwich is an oasis of peace and tranquillity; National Trust Felbrigg Hall is one of the finest 17th century houses in East Anglia; the breathtaking 20 acres of East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden will delight and RHS Hyde Hall will be our finale.
Dinner, bed and breakfast will be provided at the 4* Dunston Hall Hotel in Norwich.
To download a booking form for this garden holiday, please click here.
Join us for our annual general meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 8th October at The Alverton, Tregolls Road, Truro