Just into Cornwall, across the chain ferry from Plymouth, lies the National Trust property Antony, home of the Carew Pole family. It is also home to two National Plant Collections: Hemerocallis in the summer borders of the house garden and Camellia japonica in the Woodland Garden owned by the Carew Pole Garden Trust. However as far as the visitor and the garden staff are concerned, the two are seamlessly joined. We’ve reached this county now in our clockwise walking trek around the South West peninsula and a few days holiday in April presented a great opportunity to see at least one of the Collections at its best.
We were welcomed by Head Gardener, Val Anderson and her deputy Mark Maunder who between them have more than 50 years experience working in this garden, designated an International Camellia Garden of Excellence, and one of only 17 in the world.
Before we went out to see the Collection Val showed us her plant records, kept as lists and location plans on the computer, but also filed in handsome large tomes detailing each specimen of a cultivar, with accession numbers for each plant, provenance, and at least one photograph.
Val is very keen on propagation and many of the listings are qualified with “MVH cutting” or “MVA nurse graft”, showing early cuttings taken under Val’s maiden name or more recent ones taken as Anderson. Ideal conditions for cuttings are “a warm bottom, damp middle and cool top”
Val also showed us some of the original handwritten cards written by Lady Cynthia Carew Pole in the 50s, particularly when she was collecting plants for the eventual Collection of Hemerocallis.
and the transcribed record for the same plant
These meticulous records were invaluable for the trainees who have been through the garden, many of them now working at other notable National Trust gardens such as Chartwell, Cotehele, Sissinghurst.
Mark then took us out into the Woodland to enjoy the camellias
and the sculptures
Antony is open Tuesday to Thursday and the Woodland Garden is also open at weekends – follow the links to the websites for more details. The camellias were looking splendid last Friday and the rest of the garden was just starting to come to life.