A Great Gardens of Cornwall meeting at Tremenheere and then a two hour garden tour with Neil Armstrong. This may be widely known as a sculpture park but it is also a collection of 2,500 species of plants accumulated in only 24 years. The property was sold by the St Aubyns in 1294! Mr Tremenheere was a campaigner for social justice (children in tin mines) and education reform in the mid-19th century. The last owner to bear this name.
The collection of tender ferns, palms, bananas and agave etc gives Tresco a run for its money in and above an extremely sheltered south facing Cornish valley overlooking St Michaels Mount. Having not been for some years I was flabbergasted at the development of the garden. It IS a really great garden even without the extraordinary sculptures. An amazing achievement as a garden and, now, as a thriving business. Plant labelling non-existent at present which is a pity but this will come with time and the National Trust are hardly exemplars of this! (Far worse in fact because their ‘wokeness’ involves education only about slavery and colonialism and they have sacked everyone who actually knew anything about plant history and plant naming.)
Above the main car park at Tremenheere.
Views of palms, cycads, bananas and the odd magnolia.
Pinus montezuma untouched by frost.
The evergreen Acer oblongifolium with attractive new growth. It struggles here and will not make anything like this.
Schefflera bodinieri – just one of a huge collection of schefflera. Many collected by Neil himself in Taiwan and Vietnam.
Schefflera delavayi already a small tree with ripening racemes of seeds. We can see what to expect from ours but this was growing in full shade by a stream.
Persea bracteata with red new growth – again in full shade.
Fatsia polycarpa at 15-20ft tall. Very variable in leaf form.
Cyathea medullaris growing away quite happily in the only garden in mainland Cornwall apart perhaps from Trebah or Robert Dudley-Cooke’s garden in St Mawes. We saw this in a similar state of wellbeing in SW Ireland.
Telopea speciosa (perhaps Telopea speciossima?) in full flower. It lived for a bit here in the heat of Burns Bank but never flowered.
An unknown banana in flower.
Neil sets fire to his Xanthorrhoea glauca to avoid the stems getting top heavy with old leaves and snapping off in the wind.
Aeonium arboreum (?) in flower. Again too many species on view to be certain of the correct name.
A newly erected sculpture which overloaded the telehandler.
Agave ovalifolia which looked very appealing as a plant to sell.
Neil with his 20 year old Butia odorata avenue.
Magnolia fordiana in bud.
Trachycarpus princeps which I have seen at Ventnor.
A young Rhodoleia championii with rabbit protection. Taiwanese I think.
Magnolia tripetala in flower.
A view over the Butia odorata avenue.
Agathis australis doing well with female flower cones. We have never seen this yet on our tree which is much the same size but not in as hot a spot as this or in well drained ground.
A fine clump of Wachendorfia thyrsiflora in flower by Tremenheere’s lockdown wedding venue site.
The ‘Twilight in Cornwall’ sculpture with the Great Gardens representatives designed by James Turrell in 2015. Basically you look through a hole in the roof in the three phases of twilight which the eye and brain will see. Impressive even in daylight!
Pittosporum dallii which used to grow here. This one in full sun and fully exposed to the wind.
Podocarpus elongatus ‘Blue Chip’ growing (unlike ours) in a windy position.
The long line of Restios overlooks the coastline. We seldom think of South African Restios (grasses) growing in the open in the teeth of the wind. We tend to plant them by water which is completely wrong in nature!
Metrosideros umbellata can take all the wind and salt spray that can be thrown at it but probably not too much frost. We need to try this again here in the garden here.
A ‘brutal’ sculpture which I thought looked like a cattle crush for camels! Fortunately Tregothnan’s representative made a ruder comment.
2020 – CHW
A day (at last) of meetings and a degree of normality. I have now got the handwritten garden diary up to date – or to 30th April anyway.
‘Distanced’ garden tour here with James & Sarah Williams from Tregullow.
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’ at The Vean looking at its absolute best. 6-7ft x 5-6ft after 12 years of growing away on the drive. It could do with a pruning in the autumn.
We desperately need rain but nothing forecast for this week. Only one decent day’s rain in five or six weeks and young plants are dying despite our regular watering.
In a heatwave of an afternoon off to look at most of the cattle on the farm.
Cows and calves at Treveor – 56 cows and 55 calves.
2019 – CHW
Old Park was well worth a post Chelsea catch up visit.
Rhododendron (Azalea) atlanticum (nearly over) is a US species which I did not realise we actually had. Here, on the top path either side of the Gunnera patch, are good examples of what I believe to be the true species. One of the several US species used in so many of the deciduous azalea crosses/hybrids which cause so much grief identifying today.
2018 – CHW
We had this Wisteria ‘Violacea Plena’ (‘Black Dragon’) on the Chelsea stand. A superb double flowered wisteria which is a slightly shy flowerer.
I set out today to inspect the styrax collection but they are still not quite out. Buds aplenty for sure but a week away. Then I thought to photograph what has suddenly shown up as dead now that all the leaf is out. The Quercus marylandica is now deceased above Higher Quarry Nursery. So is the clump of Paulownia tomentosa ‘Lilacina’ above the greenhouse. Very short lived trees which grow so quickly. One of the seven survives. Finally I settled on the new growth on the schefflera collection to amuse, delight or disgust you depending on your point of view!We have two Schefflera taiwania. This is the smaller and younger one but the silvery new growth is impressive. Perhaps I am coming around to these ‘ugly beasts’ as the ornamental/architectural plants which they clearly are? We cannot get enough of them into the Burncoose catalogue for next year whatever I think.
A catch up with what the gardeners have achieved while we have all been away at Chelsea.They have nearly finished the laurel hedge below the ririeii opening along to the big michelia below the Donkey Show. An excellent job on a hedge that has not been cut back for 40 years. Quite a bit of space here for new planting next spring.
A trip up the drive with the camera reveals elderly Rhododendron prinophyllums either side of the Four in Hand. This is a late flowering US species of which there are several examples in the garden. This one is early. On the bank I spot the first small blue butterfly of the year but the dog flushes it before I can get a happy snap.
Below the main fernery is one plant of an old but exceptionally carpeted red evergreen azalea. It has never had a name but we did propagate it and there is a new clump in the Auklandii Garden. Well worth a name if it has not got one and propagating.
Here is a large gall attached to a very late flower on Camellia Lady Clare. Galls are produced by an insect to feed and protect their eggs and larvae. Perhaps commoner on azaleas than camellias they do no long term harm and are easily cut off.
What we think may be a small growing, bushy form of Enkianthus chinensis on the drive is now fully out. The colours are broadly similar to the two clumps photographed on Hovel Cart Road a few days ago but the habit is hugely different. An odd plant which Koen from Arboretum Wespelaar may be able to help with now that I have written for help and advice on enkianthus.
In the rockery are two original dwarfish and compact azaleas. I have never known the name and they are clearly Rhododendron indicum leaves. The double frilly orange flowers are superb. Perhaps Azalea ‘Bungo-nishiki’ which is indicum x kaempferi. A must to propagate anyway I do not recollect ever seeing this in flower before. ‘Carpeted’!
Next to it is the late flowering evergreen azalea which was always called ‘Purple Triumph’. I may even have planted it 40 years ago.
One flower on Rhododendron haematodes. This is a replacement for long dead originals.
Wisteria ‘Black Dragon’ on the gents’ loo just going over. The flowers tend to be hidden by the foliage but the smell drowns out whatever unpleasantness the wedding party left in here.
Michael and the new gardener have massacred the old camellias (again) around the Stable Flat. An excellent neat job which needs doing every 15 to 20 years.
Rhododendron ‘Sappho’ on of the old original hardy ponticum hybrids is nearly full out outside the back yard. There is nearly an acre of this gone native in 40 Acres Wood. The back yard clump was once a pen for my rare Mikado pheasants which died of a nasty disease nearly 40 years ago.
1930 – JCW
I leave for Scotland tomorrow. Auklandii remain very good, flowers as a whole have lasted very with good mild weather. The Enkianthus were never so good as regards the established plants. Magnolia x nicholsoniana i.e the big one, very very good.
1929 – JCW
About ten days behind 1915. Ovatum is mostly open. Roylei are ½ open. Mag wilsoni, parviflora and nicholsoniana are very good.
1915 – JCW
All the thorns are very good. Montana (white) and Chrysocom as good, also Azaleas. Rhodo’s other than Waterers mostly over except Ovatum, Roylei and Formosum.
1897 – JCW
The pink thorns are nearly over, we have picked about a third of the daffodil seed.