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Archive for July, 2013

One of the best known features of Trelissick is its collection of Rhododendrons which come into their own in Spring.  Many of them continue to flower into late Spring and we were able to enjoy these, the very essence of a Cornish garden it seems to me.

P1150148  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150148 © JT of jtdytravels

One of the best Rhododendron species to grow well in the upper part of the garden, where the ground is thinner and drier, is the rich red ‘Gwilt King’, a hybrid of Rhododendron griersonianum.

P1060262   ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1060262 © DY of jtdytravels

When a touch of sunlight catches these flowers, they seem to glow.

P1150140  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1150140 © JT of jtdytravels

There were still plenty of new flowers to come even in mid June.

P1060267  ©  DY  of jtdytravels

P1060267 © DY of jtdytravels

Rhododendron buds are elegant and deserve just as close a look as the more showy flowers.

P1150196  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150196 © JT of jtdytravels

Along the Rhododendron walk, we found this moss covered seat.  Whenever I find such an empty seat, I’m reminded of UK friends who enjoyed exploring gardens with me in years gone by but who are now no longer here for me to sit and have a chat with.  I love the memories of the good times we spent together in gardens such as these and am grateful for those special times of friendship.

P1150141  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150141 © JT of jtdytravels

Walking on, we found several other Rhododendron species in flower.  Many of these were brought to Trelissick Gardens from the famous Bodnant Gardens in north Wales by Ida and Ronald Copeland when they lived here.  I don’t know their species names but each and every one of them was a delight.  I hope you enjoy our photos of a selected few of them.

P1150199

P1150199 ©  JT  of jtdytravels

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P1150153  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150153 © JT of jtdytravels

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P1150195  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150195 © JT of jtdytravels

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P1150190  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1150190 © JT of jtdytravels

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P1150128   ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150128 © JT of jtdytravels

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P1150198   ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150198 © JT of jtdytravels

As well as Rhododendrons, there were still some azaleas in flower.

P1150084   ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150084 © JT of jtdytravels

My favourite is the Mollis Azalea. It reminds me of my wonderful Mum!

P1060253  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1060253 © DY of jtdytravels

Other trees in flower were Cornus, or Dogwoods.

P1060253   ©  DY  of jtdytravels

P1060253 © DY of jtdytravels

Have you ever really looked at the centre of a Dogwood flower?

P1150122   ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150122 © JT of jtdytravels

In amongst the borders are plants like Aquilegia, cottage garden and border essentials with their delicate nodding flowers and delightful lacy foliage which is a rare blue-green colour. They are a beautiful foil for other larger, heavier plants and , although the fresh foliage starts growing in early spring, the flowers develop just in time to fill in when spring flowers begin to fade.

They are commonly known as Columbines or, a name I love for these beauties, Granny’s Bonnets . 

P1060190  ©  DY  of jtdytravels

P1060190 © DY of jtdytravels

This delicately petalled Roscoea cautleyoides is another Asian plant that’s grown in this garden.  Although it’s a member of the ginger family, which has mostly tropical species, this plant comes from the mountain regions of  Sichuan and Yunann provinces. 

P1150070  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150070 © JT of jtdytravels

Another delicate white flower is the bell of Polygonatum or Solomon’s Seal.  Once classified as a member of the Lily family, this plant is now classified as a member of the family Asparagaceae.  It’s hard to keep up with these classification changes at times!

P1150082  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150082 © JT of jtdytravels

Most Cornish gardens make some use of the lovely Astrantia along the borders of the garden.

The flowers range from white to a deep wine red.

P1150082  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150082 © JT of jtdytravels

If we look closely we’ll see that this one has a visitor – a tiny green beetle.

P1060249  ©  DY  of jtdytravels

P1060249 © DY of jtdytravels

Another plant used to great effect in this garden’s borders is the Geranium, commonly known in UK as Cranesbill.

I love the veined petals. There are many colours for gardeners to use and they flower for a long period.

P1150052  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150052 © JT of jtdytravels

A flower that adds a wonderful dash of colour to any border is Alstroemeria commonly called Peruvian Lily.

P1150201  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150201 © JT of jtdytravels

Time was getting away from us and, reluctantly, we followed this man and his grandson back to the carpark. I hope they had enjoyed their Trelissick experience as much as we had done.  But we still had a long way to go to Sennen Cove near Lands End where we were to stay for the next three nights.

Apart from visiting a quiet Cornish beach for the weekend, our goal in going to that southern part of Cornwall was to learn more about the kind of lives lived by David’s forbears working in the tin and copper mines from the 1600s to the 1850s when some of them made the big decision to emigrate to Australia.

More of that story anon.

Jennie and David

All photography copyright ©  Jt and Dy of jtdytravels

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The woodland walk between the Trelissick Gardens and the River Fal is densely planted to help protect the gardens from the wild Cornish winter winds. On a calm day like the one we enjoyed in mid June, it was hard to imagine those harsh winds.

P1150091  ©  JT of jtdytravels

P1150091 ©  JT of jtdytravels

It’s a very pleasant path with its glimpses of the river through the trees.

P1150090  ©  JT of jtdytravels

P1150090  ©  JT of jtdytravels

The tiny flowers of Pink Campion, a member of the Silene family, are common along such pathways as well as along roadsides and in hedges all across Cornwall.

P1060207  ©  Dy  of jtdytravels

P1060207  ©  Dy of jtdytravels

The common name of this lovely flower, Bastard Balm, does not really fit with its beauty!  Its botanical name is Melittis melissophyllum but its common name comes from the fact that it imitates the members of the Balm family, the Germanders.  The flowers can have pink or purple centres. They are native to Southern England from New Forest to Cornwall and in South Wales. They grow in shady habitats like this woodland margin.  I’ve seen them before on my walks in the English and Welsh countryside in years gone by and I really enjoyed finding them again.  I felt sorry for the people who just marched along the path without stopping to enjoy the beauty of these tiny woodland flowers.  Maybe they’ve seen them before; but maybe not!

P1060206  ©  DY of jtdytravels

P1060206  ©  DY of jtdytravels

Foxgloves are a favourite of mine. They were in hedgerows and along roadsides wherever we went in UK. They are also used as garden plants to good effect and there are now some differently coloured hybrids.  I love to look deep inside the flower; no two are the same.

P1150046  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150046  ©  JT of jtdytravels

These tiny, delicate white flowers with their fine green veins on the petals, are sometimes hard to see amongst the dense greenery.

I should know their name but have forgotten!  Any help welcome.

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P1150098  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1150098  ©  JT of jtdytravels

Cow parsley was everywhere along the Cornish roadsides and was particularly lovely along this pathway.

P1150094  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150094  ©  JT of jtdytravels

This spectacular tree on the banks of the river stopped us both in our tracks.

It’s magnificent.

P1060208  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1060208  ©  DY of jtdytravels

A break in the trees brought us this river view with the bright yellow of rapeseed on the hillside.

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P1150096  ©  JT of jtdytravels

P1150096  ©  JT of jtdytravels

Yachts were moored in the safety of the Trelissick Estate’s bay.

P1150100  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150100  ©  JT of jtdytravels

A small beach borders one of the farm paddocks. Watch out for the cow pats!

Did these cows produce the wonderful clotted cream that’s served in the cafe?

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P1060215  ©  DY of jtdytravels

P1060215  ©  DY of jtdytravels

Looking back, a slope leads up to one edge of the gardens.

P1150105   ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1150105  ©  JT of jtdytravels

We walked on until we came to a steep, grassy meadow where people’s feet had made a track back up towards the house.  It was rather a steep track, so we rested half way up for me to catch my breath and for us to enjoy the view.  The rest also gave us time to think about the origins of Trelissick House and Gardens, a place that is very well known in Cornwall.  Indeed, it’s considered to be one of the great gardens of the world.   But there are many such great estates in Cornwall.  So,where had the money come from to build these mansions and huge gardens?  The answer is fairly simple; copper, tin and clay mining.  In the case of Trelissick, two of the former owner’s fortunes had come from mines in Cornwall.  One was Ralph Daniell whose father had been known as “guinea-a-minute Daniell”, owner of copper and tin mines.  Another, Ronald Copeland’s family, were porcelain makers of Spode-Copeland fame and that business relied on the fine china clay mined from the pits in Cornwall.

One of the reasons that we were in Cornwall was to research David’s family, some of whom had worked in those mines.  Along with thousands of other miners, men, women and children, they worked for a pittance and for long hours, in difficult and very dangerous conditions whilst the owners grew ever richer on the produce of the miner’s labours.  It’s true, of course, that the owners invested their money in developing the mines and that they gave people work.  But it was the miner’s hard labour that paid for these estates.

So yes, while we do enjoy visiting the big estate gardens, we also know that they came about at the price of hardship in the lives of so many miners and their families, some of them David’s ancestors.  To us, the gardens are a kind of living memorial to those workers.

P1060246  ©  DY of jtdytravels

P1060246  ©  DY of jtdytravels

The Grecian styled Trelissick House, together with the fairy castle water tower, were built by Ralph Daniell’s son in 1825.  After the Daniell’s became bankrupt, there were several other owners before 1928 when the house and gardens were bought by Leonard Cunliffe, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.  He passed it on to his step daughter, Ida Copeland, who was married to Ronald Copeland (of the famous Spode Copeland Porcelain company).  It’s still the Copeland family home today.

However, the current generation of the Copeland family are now leaving Trelissick;  moving out to a smaller house.  In the process of their downsizing, they have auctioned off (on 23rd and 24th July 2013) most of the furniture, art works and collectables that represent generations of their family’s life.  Pieces for sale included an entire collection of Spode-Copeland ceramics which tell the complete story of the Copelands and their pottery manufacture over the last 200 years.  Reports of what has been called ‘one of the greatest house sales in living memory’ in UK show that many of the prices fetched at auction were well above the estimated value.  We know that the National Trust hoped to buy as many pieces as they could so that those pieces can be kept in the house when it’s opened to the public in the future.  We hope they were successful.

P1150164  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150164  ©  JT of jtdytravels

And after that rest and contemplation, it was time to climb further up the hill and enjoy the view from the house.  It was not the sunny day as shown in the National Trust brochures, but it was impressive none-the-less.  A bite of lunch was next on the list and then time to explore some more of the garden…. and that’s for the next episode of the Trelissick story.

Jennie and David

All photography copyright © JT and DY of jtdytravels

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Set above the southern banks of the River Fal in Cornwall, Trelissick Gardens are large and park like. In a picturesque setting, they cover a peninsular of several hundred acres of contoured land.

P1150187  ©  JT of jtdytravels

P1150187 © JT of jtdytravels

The garden has had many owners since its early days in the 1700s and each of them have made their own contribution to this garden. However, the greatest contributions have been made by Carew Gilbert in the late 1800s, Ida and Ronald Copeland from 1937 to 1995 and, since then, by the National Trust who now own the gardens. Three NT gardeners now take good care of the gardens with the help of volunteers (Friends of Trelissick) and students during their holidays.

The NT restored the orchard in the 1990s. It now contains 68 different apple trees, mainly Cornish varieties, and as such is a valuable asset to Cornish heritage. The grass in the orchard is left uncut in the summer to encourage wild flowers. Unfortunately we didn’t get to that part of the garden which must look good in any season with the spring apple blossoms, the summer wild flowers, the autumn apple harvest and then the tracery of the limbs in winter.

P1150048  ©   JT  of  jtdytravels

P1150048 © JT of jtdytravels

Overlooking the visitor car park is the former water tower with its delightful squirrel weather vane.  Because the house and gardens are so far above the river, the water tower was built in about 1825 to pump water from the river.  Looking more like a fairy castle, this is now one of  five NT holiday cottages which can be rented on the estate. The house and gardens were given to the National Trust in 1955 with the proviso that future generations of the previous owners, the Copeland family, could live on in the house.

P1060171©  DY of jtdytravels

P1060171© DY of jtdytravels

For now, just the gardens are open to the public. The reception, cafe and shop are housed in former farm buildings giving a rustic feel to the entrance. Once inside, the first thing that greeted us on a cool June morning was the beautiful sight and smell of wisteria. This curtain of flowers was labled as Wisteria floribunda ‘Macrobotrys’, a plant that has been known in Japan for at least 400 years.

P1150057  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150057 © JT of jtdytravels

Flower beds line the short entrance walk into the main gardens.

Purple iris were brilliant against the greens.

P1060185  ©  DY  of jtdtravels

P1060185 © DY of jtdtravels

The markings on this yellow iris are stunning and the furled bud is so elegant.

It always pays to stop and take a closer look.

P1150055   ©  JT of jtdytravels

P1150055 © JT of jtdytravels

Colours, shapes and textures were carefully blended in the garden design.

P1150076   ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150076 © JT of jtdytravels

There were delightful small plants, too, like this Scilla peruviana.

P1150063   ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150063 © JT of jtdytravels

The main lawn spills down a slope to a border thick with trees and shrubs. In the centre of the lawn is a large Cryptomeria japonica, Japanese Cedar, planted in the garden in 1898 by the estate’s owner at that time, Carew Gilbert.

P1150193  ©  JT of jtdytravels

P1150193 © JT of jtdytravels

Carew was a great traveller and brought back many exotic plants from Japan, southern Europe, North and South America. Many of the bigger specimen trees in the garden were planted in his time. This one dwarfs David. It’s magnificent.

P1150146  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150146 © JT of jtdytravels

Paths run along the top of the slope with glimpses of the River Fal.

Above the river, at the top of the hill, is a glimpse of the Tregothnan Estate owned by Lord Falmouth’s family.

P1060236   ©  DY of jtdytravels

P1060236 © DY of jtdytravels

A closer view of the large mansion at Tregothnan. In 1832, Lord Falmouth of Tregothnan bought Trelissick from the then owners, the Daniells. The cost of building a new house at Trelissick and a slump in mining had forced the Daniell family into bankruptcy. The house was unlived in and the gardens untended until 1844, when the estate was purchased by John Gilbert, father of the plant hunter, Carew Gilbert. Thankfully, a keen gardener had come to live on the estate and his plantings form the skeleton of the gardens today.

P1150151  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150151 © JT of jtdytravels

 There is plenty of space in this garden to wander and unwind as you discover the great variety of plants that grow in the various micro climates formed by the topography of the garden and sheltered by those trees planted by Carew Gilbert.

P1150174  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150174 © JT of jtdytravels

It’s a garden to be enjoyed in any season of the year although early spring and autumn must be the most spectacular.  We were there at the end of spring when the garden was filled with many different greens highlighted by an occasional splash of colour.

P1150163  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150163 © JT of jtdytravels

Trelissick is a huge garden. It’s not a place to try to see in just one visit.

Those who live near by, can take it in a section at a time, a season at a time.

We would, if we could.

P1150177   ©  Jt  of  jtdytravels

P1150177 © JT of jtdytravels

At the end of an hour or so of enjoying the garden and its trees, we came upon a small NT gate house. From there, steps lead down to the River Fal and the ferry, a popular way for people to come to the garden from north of the river. There’s also a river side path that’s always freely open to the public. This path area is thickly planted to give the main garden protection from the wild Cornish winter winds.

We decided to take the river side woodland walk and go on through the farm, leaving more wandering in the main garden until the afternoon. We’ll show you something of that relaxing walk in our next episode about Trelissick and then we’ll come back to explore more of the garden after that.

Jennie and David

All photographs copyright ©  JT and DY  of jtdytravels

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