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The Great Gardens of Cornwall

3rd March 2014 - Spring arrives first in Cornwall!


Message from The Nare

Over the years, it has become increasingly apparent that guests of The Nare do not fully appreciate quite how early spring arrives in Cornwall. We find that bookings are often made with the intention of seeing the Cornish Spring Gardens during May and, whilst there are lovely gardens to explore in Cornwall in May, really the "wow factor" is the marvel of Cornish Magnolias in full bloom. This often occurs around February or March – a fact rarely appreciated by gardeners throughout the rest of England and abroad.

The beautiful Magnolia campbellii was therefore chosen as the icon for the Cornwall Spring Story because it flowers quickly once its winter jacket has been shed, making it a good measure for the onset of warmer weather. Roy Lancaster - celebrated author, broadcaster and renowned horticulturalist - visited Cornwall earlier this year to verify our claims of an early spring. In his words, "Cornish gardens are always a delight whatever the season, but when the magnolias are in bloom they are truly a sight to behold."

Cornwall's Spring Story 2014

In 2013, the first flowering Magnolia campbellii was recorded on 19th February, a full month before the official start of spring in England. With a cold winter predicted, when will spring arrive this year? We will be monitoring seven Champion Magnolia campbellii trees to see exactly when they bloom. When all seven trees have at least 50 blooms spring will have arrived in Cornwall.

Follow Cornwall’s Spring Story on Twitter @Gr8gardens.


The contenders!

Below you’ll find details of each of the seven Magnolia campbellii champion trees we are monitoring together with profiles of the head gardeners who look after them.


Caerhays Castle Gardens

Caerhays Castle Gardens

Caerhays is an informal woodland garden overlooking the sea, extending to over 120 acres. The origins of the garden can be traced back to the work of the Chinese plant hunters at the turn of the Century and many of their new plant introductions can still be seen in maturity in the garden today. Caerhays hosts the Plant Heritage National collection of Magnolias with over 500 different varieties on show.

KEY FACTS on the Magnolia campbellii

30
Current height in metres
105
Diameter in centimetres
1910
Date planted
50

In full flower on
26/02/2014

Gardener profile

Jaimie is only the fourth head gardener at Caerhays since 1896. Although Jaimie’s family had been associated with the Caerhays Estate for many years, Jaimie only started work here in 1994. He trained at Cannington College, Bridgwater and became Head Gardener in 1996. Jaimie has instigated the greatest expansion of the gardens since the first decades of the 20th century and has also catalogued and progressed the establishment of the Plant Heritage National Collection of Magnolias at Caerhays.

Jamie Parsons
Head Gardener

Latest image
Trebah Garden - Latest

Live from the Garden...

7 months ago

Our Champion tree is beautiful #springstory come and visit, spring is nearly officially here @Gr8Gardens http://t.co/wjKlP2wxn5

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The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Heligan

With more than two centuries of horticultural history, Heligan’s enchanting gardens and estate offer over 200 acres for your discovery. Home to a National Collection of ‘Rhododendrons & Camellias’, the UK’S largest rhododendron and the largest collection of Tree Ferns, The Lost Gardens is brimming with plantings to inspire and amaze.

KEY FACTS on the Magnolia campbellii

18
Current height in metres
157
Diameter in centimetres
1860
Date planted
50

In full flower on
01/03/2014

Gardener profile

Mike showed a keen interest in horticulture from an early age. After school, he completed a training scheme at Probus Demonstration Gardens before going on to Writtle College in Essex to attain his National Diploma in Commercial Horticulture.
After returning to Cornwall, Mike set up his own business as a landscape gardener before taking a position in Heligan’s historic Flower Garden in cut flower production in 1997. In the subsequent years Mike has worked in all areas of the Northern Gardens and Jungle gaining his wealth of knowledge in his role as Heligan Plant Curator.

Mike Friend
Head Gardener

Live from the Garden...

7 months ago

We are pleased to announce that #50 blooms has arrived #springstory we'll get photos once the rain has passed!

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Trebah Garden

Trebah Garden

Trebah is a sub-tropical paradise with a stunning coastal backdrop. The result of 175 years of inspired and dedicated creation. This beautiful valley garden, bursts with exotic blooms and vibrant tunnels of colour which cascade down to a secluded beach on the Helford River.

KEY FACTS on the Magnolia campbellii

24
Current height in metres
131
Diameter in centimetres
1870
Estimated date planted
50

In full flower on
24/02/2014

Gardener profile

Darren studied at Duchy College Rosewarne, followed by a training period with the National Trust at Glendurgan before joining the team at Trebah in 1991. Darren then had a sabbatical at Kew Garden before becoming Head Gardener in 2002.

Darren Dickey
Head Gardener

Latest image
Trebah Garden - Latest

Live from the Garden...

7 months ago

@seasaltclothing lots of magnolias @Gr8Gardens #springstory

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Tregothnan

Tregothnan

Tregothnan is an official 'safe site' for the keeping of rare or endangered trees from all over the world. The garden holds some 'Red Book' endangered plants and trees which are larger than any remaining in the wild.

KEY FACTS on the Magnolia campbellii

21
Current height in metres
410
Diameter in centimetres
1937
Date planted
50

In full flower on
28/02/2014

Gardener profile

Neil was born in Essex and has lived in Cornwall for 11 years. He worked for a couple of years at Compton Castle in Somerset before becoming Assistant Head Gardener at Tregothnan in 2005 and then Head Gardener in 2007. He works closely with Garden Director Jonathon Jones on implementing the many new and exciting projects, including the first British-grown tea, as well as the maintenance of the 100 acres of private botanical collection.

Neil Bennett
Head Gardener

Latest image
Trebah Garden - Latest

Live from the Garden...

7 months ago

#springstory continues with guests revelling in #cornwall, the #magnolia and #tea like #darjeeling http://t.co/Ly85JE9WFz

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Trengwainton

Trengwainton

A sheltered and luxuriant garden packed full of tender exotics, magnificent magnolias and stunning tree ferns. The garden has panoramic views over Mount's Bay, along with a historic walled garden which is currently being restored.

KEY FACTS on the Magnolia campbellii

18
Current height in metres
218
Diameter in centimetres
1926
Date planted
50

In full flower on
21/02/2014

Gardener profile

Phil has worked as a gardener for the National Trust since 1999. He began working at Trengwainton Garden in January 2002 and was appointed Head Gardener in 2010. Prior to that he worked at Antony House and Gardens. As well as the general garden management duties which are necessary to keep this 28 acre site in pristine condition, Phil takes a lead in engaging with outside groups such as schools, vulnerable adult groups and Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme particpants.

Phil Griffiths
Head Gardener

Awaiting first Spring Story tweet...

Trewidden

Trewidden

Planted in the 1840’s by Edward Bolitho, Trewidden Garden has a rich horticultural and industrial past. It has a truly remarkable stand of tree ferns, set within ancient tin workings, said to be the finest in the Northern Hemisphere. It also has Champion Magnolias and an extensive collection of Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas within a mature woodland setting.

KEY FACTS on the Trewidden Belle

13
Current height in metres
47
Diameter in centimetres
1976
Date planted
50

In full flower on
19/02/2014

Gardener profile

Trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richard has had a wide experience of gardening in Cornwall, from private gardens taking in the fringes of Bodmin Moor to a coombe garden in west Penwith. With a keen interest in the Magnoliaceae Richard has been the Head Gardener at Trewidden for the last 5 years.

Richard Morton
Head Gardener

Latest image
Trebah Garden - Latest

Live from the Garden...

7 months ago

Even on a cloudy day the Magnolias in the Fern Pit look stunning. @gr8gardens #springstory http://t.co/ceV7kq8zhC

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Trewithen

Trewithen

Trewithen is historic private Estate boasting one of the loveliest gardens in England. With its magnificent collection of camellias, rhododendrons and magnolias, its wonderful woodland walks and its heritage family home, Trewithen is a rare and unique Cornish gem.

KEY FACTS on the Campbellii subsp.mollicomata

17
Current height in metres
115
Diameter in centimetres
1928
Date planted
50

In full flower on
02/03/2014

Gardener profile

Gary Long became Head Gardener at Trewithen in January 2004 and is only the third person to take on the role in over 100 years.

Gary's interest in gardening began at school during a period of work experience with John Bassett Landscaping. In March 2007 Gary travelled to China on a study tour to look at Camellia in their native environment and to see the International camellia species garden in jinhua. In 2012 he travelled throughout Yunnan province of China with the International Camellia Society.

Gary Long
Head Gardener

Latest image
Trebah Garden - Latest

Live from the Garden...

7 months ago

Magnolia campbellii subsp.mollicomata (Our Champion) looking gorgeous on main lawn today. #springstory #Cornwall http://t.co/kXfc9DvaUW

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