The Rhododendron, Camellia & Magnolia Group

Three groups of plants – one group of enthusiasts worldwide

South West Branch Away Day Trewithen Gardens 18 July 2018

Our third Summer Away Day was this year held at Trewithen, Grampound Road near Truro hosted by Head Gardener Gary Long and his team. It proved a great success and was enjoyed by all who attended. We were joined by some members of the Cornwall Professional Gardeners Group (CPGG) who also expressed their appreciation. We are trying to engage other gardening groups in our South West Branch events which should broaden our interests with the exchange of ideas. In fact the numbers attending meant we were at full capacity which was gratifying.

To start the day, James Treseder gave a very interesting illustrated talk about the history of the Treseder nurserymen in Cornwall. He is the fifth generation of his family to enter horticulture. It was interesting that through the Australian nurseries run by members of the family, many Australasian plants were introduced into Cornish gardens as early as the mid to late 19th century. Neil Treseder , of course, wrote one of the definitive and most comprehensive books on Magnolias in 1978.

Following the talk, we had the popular session of ‘Bring & Tell’ where members make a short presentation about a particular plant of particular interest to them, having brought some material with them with which to illustrate the subject discussed. This session is always most informative and stimulating and I only hope that in future more Branch members will feel able to join in and speak. It should not be perceived as presentations by ‘experts’. I feel sure there are plants in members’ gardens of particular meaning for them as well as rarities. It would be good to hear from them in future sessions. An example of the range of plants discussed can be illustrated by the following examples: Pam Hayward discussed how to tell the difference between Rhododendrons ‘Frangrantissimum’ and ’Lady Alice Fitzwilliam’ which are often confused (R. ‘Frangrantissimum’ has aromatic leaves when crushed), John Marston talked on the curious flowering of Lonicera subaequalis which looks like a string of bells and Russell Beeson talked about two very rare and tender gesneriads; Sinningia tubiflora with its scented flowers and Petrocosmea ‘Creme de Crug’. Kew botanist Dr Martyn Rix was in attendance to lend his extensive botanical knowledge to the proceedings.

We adjourned for a delicious pastie lunch followed by a plant & book sale. After this, Gary outlined a brief history of the garden, and then he and the other Trewithen gardeners guided us around. We were taken to the site for a new development by a stream at the bottom of the valley. The drought had affected the garden with some dejected and drooping plants, but it did not seem as bad as in some other gardens in the South West. The walled garden has been redesigned and greatly simplified, and the long vista in front of the house is to be bisected and reorganised. There is much going on and it is a sign of a good garden that there is continuing development and redevelopment.

The whole day ran very smoothly thanks to Gary’s organisation and by way of thanks, he was sent a plant of the newly introduced Magnolia caveana.for the garden. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members who brought plants for sale and those who spoke most interestingly at the Bring & Tell session.

John Marston

You can download a copy of this report

Bring & Tell - Jim Stephens
Bring & Tell - Pam Hayward
Bring & Tell - Russell Beeson
Gary Long with group
Gary Long with the group
Group resting
Joey Warren
Looking down avenue towards house
Martyn Rix and the group
Mystery shrub being examined
Peter Bucknell in valley
Rhodo edgworthii CCHH8016
Rhodo sinogrande
Stewartia pseudocamellia