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.
At Moyclare, planting began in 1927 by Moira and Louis Reid. Meandering paths lead through woodland shrubberies, herbaceous borders and sunny corners. The pond and lawns are surrounded by camellias, rhododendrons, mature trees, shrubs and many rare treasures from the Southern Hemisphere.
Penmilder is a 2.5-acre south-facing garden with delightful bluebell woods and an apple orchard, which is particularly pretty with primroses and daffodils in the spring.
Sisters, Adrienne and Trish, are developing South Bosent with wildlife in mind. It comprises several themed gardens, woodland plantings, large mixed borders and a four-acre meadow. Other features include a mini-lake, waterfall and rill on the terrace, and several plant collections, all designed to provide year-round interest. Along with thousands of planted bulbs throughout the garden, a bluebell wood runs alongside the stream pathway.
A booking form for this self-drive visit will be available in March 2021.
Join us on this tailor made CGS group holiday to Highgrove and the Cotswolds.
This gardens holiday made by Brightwater Holidays will include a guided tour and lunch at Highgrove, visits to the gardens of Hidecote Manor, Kiftsgate Court and Eastleach House.
Dinner, bed and breakfast at the 4* Mercure Gloucester Bowden Hall Hotel.
If you would like to join us on this garden holiday, please click here to download a booking form.