Cornwall’s Gardens

The ‘Garden Capital of the World’ is often how Cornwall is thought of throughout the world. Cornwall enjoys the power of the Gulf Stream with its temperate climate of warm summers, mild and wet winters which in turn allows exotic and rare plants to thrive.

Where else can you find so many gardens with history dating back to the Iron Age? As long ago as the early 19th century Cornish gardeners were part of the Victorian plant hunters who collected exotic plants and seeds from all around the world.

That gives us what we have today: over 60 fabulous gardens to explore with lush vegetation and sub-tropical theatres of colour brimming with exciting, rare and beautiful plants. Cornwall’s gardens are found in our magnificent Castles, Manor Houses, grand Farm Estates, Mill Houses, sheltered valleys, high up on blustery moorland and nestled in woodland and seaside gardens which meet the turquoise hues of the water’s edge.

Cornwall’s gardens are so diverse as they vary in size from small and intimate to acres of rolling countryside. Some with enchanting lakes and a Victorian boathouse to water gardens with tree ferns, rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias. Others have walled gardens and manicured lawns to the newest of all two magnificent Biomes filled with magic from around the world.

All around Britain you will be hard-pressed not to find a ‘Veitch’ plant or one derived from their nurseries. The Veitch family sent many collectors all over the world to bring back seeds and plants. These included two Cornish brothers, William and Thomas Lobb. William Lobb died in San Francisco in 1864 but his brother Thomas lived in Devoran until his death in 1894.

In the East of Cornwall Mount Edgcumbe have The Earl’s Garden with ancient and rare trees including a 400-year-old lime. The Formal Gardens are found in the lower park and were created over 200 years ago in English, French and Italian styles. Cothele tells the story of the Tamar Valley and Antony was recently used as a backdrop for the film Alice in Wonderland. Also in the East is Ince Castle which overlooks the River Lynher. The garden enjoys woodlands filled with rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias, vibrant shrubs and formal gardens. Pentillie Castle’s gardens are only open on specific days and their orchard was replanted with old Tamar Valley varieties of apple and cherry.

The South is awash with fabulous gardens which proves how sheltered this coast is in Cornwall and many are overflowing with collections of Cornish rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias. We can start with Hidden Valley Gardens, Near Par. These gardens won the Cornwall Tourism Silver award 2010 for small visitor attraction. Tregrehan is a large woodland garden and is home to the Carlyon family since 1565. The Pinetum Park and Pine Lodge Gardens, Near St. Austell is a 30-acre paradise with over 6000 labelled plants. Ray and Shirley Clemo travelled the world collecting seeds and plants for this garden and a pair of black swans have made it their home.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan at Pentewan have been voted Britain’s finest garden and has scooped the title in the Countryfile Magazine Awards 2011. Celebrating 21years since Heligan’s Lost Gardens were discovered, this beauty provides 200 acres to explore. Discover the Northern Garden, the Jungle, the Wider Estate and the Horsemoor Hide and Wildlife Project.

Next on our list would be Caerhays Castle Gardens which is situated in a valley above Porthluney Cove. A horticultural treasure covering 100 acres of woodland gardens and holder of the National Magnolia Collection. Lamorran at St. Mawes is a Mediterranean-style garden with sea views over Falmouth Bay. History says that it is the most Northerly Palm Garden in the world. From Lamorran you can see the lighthouse at St. Anthony’s Head. St. Just in Roseland has a 13th century church and is set in a sheltered sub-tropical riverside garden filled with magnolias, azaleas, bamboos and giant gunnera. Trelissick Garden at Feock was planted 200 years ago and has views down the Falmouth estuary. It has year-round plant colour, an orchard, woodland walks and an art and crafts gallery. In the autumn 300 varieties of apples will be on display in the Georgian stables. Enys Gardens at Penryn is one of Cornwall’s oldest gardens dating back to 1709. Penjerrick at Budock Water is unspoilt with historic and botanic interest; relax among tree ferns and hidden paths.

Moving on down the coast to Mawnan Smith is Trebah and Carwinion, these are gardens with great historic interest. Trebah is on the North bank of the Helford River and in this garden you can wander among giant tree ferns and palms. Carwinion has a renowned collection of bamboo and has 14 acres of tranquil gardens. Glendurgan lies in a sub-tropical valley running down to the Helford River. Have fun in the 180 year-old cherry laurel maze and wander through the garden and down to the hamlet of Durgan. Potager is a new organic garden and is close to Constantine, five miles from Falmouth.

Down the coast further to Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula, Bonython Estate Gardens has an 18th century Walled Garden, a potager garden, an orchard of Cornish variety apple trees and woodlands. Bosahan at Manaccan is again close to the Helford River enjoying the Cornish microclimate and described as “the most Cornish of all Cornish gardens” in The Gardener magazine in 1909! Trevarno Gardens are the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of their estate with a magnificent 70 acres. Several interesting features include a Serptentine Yew Tunnel and the production of organic skincare products and soaps. Carleen Subtropical Gardens are open by appointment only and are home to collections from South America, Mexico, Central and South Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Southern USA and the Mediterranean. The Hardy Exotics Garden Nursery at Whitecross, Near Penzance can create “Barbados in Birmingham” – “Mauritius in Manchester” and “Hawaii in Hertford”.

Now we come to the beautiful St. Michaels Mount, walk across the causeway at low tide or travel by boat at other times. These gardens are steep but thrive in the shelter of the granite cliffs and you will find exotics from Mexico, Canary Islands and South Africa. Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens is a wonderful valley setting with St. Michaels Mount in the background. The National Trust owns Trengwainton and this historic garden is home to banana plants and enormous echiums. Finally in this part of Cornwall is Penberth which has 5 acres and is a natural valley garden incorporating sea views.

Now we move on to North Cornwall which is a more rugged coast fronting the Atlantic. Our first port of call is the Japanese Garden and Bonsai Nursery in the beautiful Lanherne Valley at St. Mawgan. Just 1.5 acres but includes Water Gardens, Stroll Garden and a Zen Garden inspired by the East. Moving on up the Coast to Padstow we find Prideaux Place that has 40 acres of landscaped grounds and a deer park overlooking the Padstow estuary and the River Camel. Last but not least on this coast is Longcross Victorian Garden at Trelights, Port Isaac. This is 4 acres and gives a fine example of coastal gardening and hedging with views towards Port Isaac and Port Quin.

Cornwall has some more fine gardens that are a bit more inland than the others we have mentioned before but when you are in Cornwall you are never more than sixteen miles away from the coast at any time.

The 4 acres at Ken-Caro, Nr. Liskeard is another garden with a woodland walk, magnolias and rhododendrons, small but beautiful and set high above Bicton Manor Woods. Another one in the same area is Moyclare established in 1927 in 1 acre and arranged around the house. The broom “Moyclare Pink” and the astrantia “Moira Reid” originated in this garden. Pencarrow is a garden of 50 acres and this is where the Monkey Puzzle tree got its name. In this garden you can even walk on the grass! If you like one of the plants you will probably be able to buy a cutting from it. At Pinsla Garden, Cardinham there is something for everyone, an idyllic haven, and a hideaway full of secret paths with hazel arch and fantasy garden created by garden artists.

Moving on once again to the National Trust owned Lanhydrock, a garden for walkers and a historical garden that has a woodland of 1000 acres. Boconnoc at Lostwithiel bas a beautiful spring garden and has camellias and azaleas from the 1850 original planting. These gardens are only open for the Spring Flower Show and Sunday afternoons during May. Trewithin close to Grampound means ‘house of the trees’ and has 30 acres of woodland gardens and more than 200 acres of surrounding parkland. The horticulturalist George Johnstone, who inherited the house in 1904, cultivated many of the seeds that came from abroad thus ensuring the reputation that Trewithin has today. Trewithin is an unforgettable garden gem.

Next is the Eden Project close to St. Austell which is the newest of all our Cornish gardens. Created from a disused china clay pit in the year 2000 and the site opened on 17th March 2001. Two Biomes, one Tropical and the other Mediterranean are both constructed from a tubular steel space-frame clad in thermoplastic ETFE. At Eden you can travel around the world in a day!

At Bosvigo on the outskirts of Truro an awkward wing of the house was demolished and using stone from the house the walled garden was created. This left a 100-year-old Victorian Conservatory standing. All the plants that are for sale in this nursery are growing in the Gardens. Burncoose at Gwennap is a 30 acre woodland garden and has achieved gold medal displays at Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows. The Nursery stocks a wide range of shrubs and herbaceous plants. Back up the coast we find Trerice, three miles from Newquay, which is a 6 acre garden but there is still space to find seclusion at any time of the year. The National Trust has owned this garden since 1953.

Finally, we cross the water and arrive on the beautiful Isles of Scilly and then head for the Abbey Gardens on Tresco. This amazing sub-tropical garden is home to species of plants and trees from 80 countries ranging from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa. The building of tall windbreaks ensures any inclement weather is forced up and over the walled enclosure. The terraces at the top are hotter and drier than the ones below which give more humidity. In 1990 hurricane force winds created dreadful damage to the shelter belts and the loss of many plants but the shelter belts and garden are now restored and looking ‘better than ever’. This is one that you should not miss.

Many Cornish gardens belong to the National Gardens Scheme who publishes The Yellow Book each year which is a guide or ‘bible’ to garden visiting. Most of these gardens are privately owned and only open on specific days.

Lots of our gardens have tremendous interest in the Autumn such as Ellis Gardens at Polyphant, Wave Cottage at Lerryn, Half Acre at Boscastle, Primrose Farm at Skinners Bottom and Kennall House at Ponsanooth. The Homestead close to Helston is 7.5 acres and has a Wildflower Wood with over 1000 trees and a further 800 trees for a shelter and wildlife habitat.

There are of course many more gardens in Cornwall, many of them small but beautiful and a lot of our gardens are Dog Friendly. So don’t leave part of the family at home, bring them along as well. It would be wise to check first with the garden you are intending to visit just to make sure that it is ‘dog friendly’. Some of our Cornish gardens are more accessible than others so again if part of your group is less agile check with the garden to make sure you will enjoy your visit.

For more information on our Cornish Gardens most of them have their own website which will give you opening days and times, how to get there, what facilities are available and ticket costs.

I was born into the Cornish farming world, my Dad was a farmer and his Dad before him. My early childhood was spent following my Mum around the farm doing all the chores that went with being a farmers wife. From milking our cows and collecting eggs, to making Cornish cream from the fresh milk, this was all part of my life. As was picking fruit, digging potatoes and cutting broccoli. At harvest time I would accompany Mum up to the thrashing machine to give the men their lunch and crib, which is what a mid morning snack is called in Cornwall!
At the age of 18 I married Chris a local Garage owner whom I am still married to today. During our married life I have been involved in a Sea Rescue Club and showing our German Shepherd Dogs at dog shows all over the country. As well as running our own Petrol Filling Station and Village Shop we also opened the Asalt & Battery, a fast food fish and chip takeaway where I spent many a “Happy” time preparing and frying fish and chips.

Starting Up a Home and Garden Franchise

Houses and gardens are places which need just about continual upkeep. In the United kingdom there are actually over 25 million households living in a variety of accommodation which represents a massive potential market to anybody supplying services or products. Additionally, new houses and flats are built yearly which increases this figure continually. Home and Garden franchises chiefly concentrate on providing necessary maintenance services for properties and gardens. Some examples of the varieties of services offered are:-

Utility Franchise opportunities

These are necessary disaster or maintenance services for example Plumbing, Gas and Electrical services. There are also Disaster Management franchise businesses which take care of insurance flood/fire damage to residences.

House Restoration Franchises

These are greatly attractive services for providing some part of your home a ‘face lift’. This might be inside or external door replacements and perhaps a brand new set of cabinet doors on your kitchen cabinets to offer your kitchen the most current look.

Outdoor Franchise businesses

There are a variety of garden upkeep franchise businesses for instance Garden Landscaping, lawn treatment and drive or passageway refurbishment/cleaning. It is possible to see that each one of these services are most desirable to house owners with a number of them being critical emergency response type services. This makes them excellent as franchise opportunities because there’s frequent demand for this type of work to be carried out.

To run this kind of franchise it’s important that you’d enjoy visiting customers homes and meeting others since you are prone to be in recurrent contact with them, whether you are planning a sale or whilst performing a job.

If you ever think that a house and garden franchise opportunity could be a very good option for you then its vital that you study your avenues properly. You can begin by reviewing some of the home and garden franchises you can find in online franchise directories. After making a short list, discover as much as you possibly can concerning the franchise you are interested in, their trade history, background and the folks who run the franchise. Then arrange to meet a couple of of the franchisors to receive some insight into their operations. It’s also beneficial to obtain the contact details for a few of their franchisees to get hold of a little 3rd party outlook on how the franchise system works ‘on the ground’.

It’s also vital that you seek the advice of one of the high street banks. The majority of them have devoted franchise business sections that can inform on financing and could have heard of the franchise business you’re looking to invest in. Probably the most central thing is take some time and ensure you take the very best choice for you. Don’t be hurried, but ensure you feel relaxed and confident with your decision. No business endeavor is assured, but you can maximise your potential for achievement by being as clued-up as possible regarding what you are taking on.

Business Development For the Private Labeled Bottled Water Industry

The private labeled bottled water industry is exciting with tremendous growth opportunities and the ability for suppliers to offer their customers and strategic partners creative, effective advertising solutions.But like any business, care is required to develop the business in a profitable way and the best way to do this is to establish a focused business development effort that utilizes the tools and techniques established by successful business.The first step is to define the concept “business development”.Definition:Business development “includes a number of techniques designed to grow an economic enterprise. Such techniques include, but are not limited to, assessments of marketing opportunities and target markets, intelligence gathering on customers and competitors, generating leads for possible sales, follow up sales activity, formal proposal writing and business model design.Business development involves evaluating a business and then realizing its full potential, using such tools as marketing, sales, information management and customer service. For a sound company able to withstand competitors, business development never stops but is an ongoing process.” (source: Wikipedia)From this definition it is clear that business development is more than closing the sale and each technique requires detailed planning and follow up.Using the concepts of business development, it is possible to establish a profitable private label water business but it takes considerable initial and continuing effort.The following case study involve a fictional Bottled Water company that entered the private labeled bottled water business. For discussion purposes it will be called ABC bottler (“ABC”)Unique Value Proposition:An initial challenge is the development of a Unique Value Proposition that answers the question “Why should I buy from you”.After a review of the market and the competition it was determined that private labeled bottled water was a powerful, cost effective, advertising vehicle but because a customer’s brand was affected, high product quality and customer service was required. ABC’s Unique Value Proposition was established and stated:”ABC will provide powerful and cost effective advertising and brand promotion for its customers based upon the highest quality consumable private label water, label design and customer service.”Marketing and Target Markets:Field and internet research was conducted with the basic question being: What are the characteristics of industries are most likely to use our product at a price that is profitable to us. Key characteristics were developed:
Prospects that provide a quality product or service.
Industries operating in a competitive market environment where product/service differentiation was critical.
Prospects that required drinking water for customers, clients or prospects.
Prospects that maintained a quality brand image.
Initial research indicated that the following industries were initially high potential targets:
Hospitality (Hotels and Spas)
Banking
Mortgage Brokers
Real Estate
Ski Resorts
Sales Channels and Market Access:It was decided that two channels would be used to go to market – direct selling and e-commerce. An e-commerce site was developed that allowed customers to design their own label for the bottles or provide an existing design consistent with the customer brand strategy. Search Engine Marketing and Optimization techniques were used to promote this channel.A direct sales staff was formed to develop and close sales opportunities and these efforts were supported by a direct mail campaign and networking with local chambers of commerce, local trade associations and lead sharing groups.The sales effort, after a series of initial false starts and disappointments matured successfully as we reviewed and revised the fine points of our effort.Product Quality and Customer Service:ABC’s corporate strategy for all products was to stay at the high end of the market and this was particularly true for private label bottled water where the market is characterized by cutthroat competition and many low quality vendors who are slashing prices and selling on price rather than quality.ABC focused on three areas of quality:

Water purity – ABC used a steam distillation/ozonation process that guaranteed 99.9% pure water that tasted delicious.

Label Design Quality – ABC used an in house professional designer to guarantee label design quality.

Label Print Quality – ABC used laminated label stock that was extremely durable and water proof and used digital or flexo printing technology to guarantee quality.
Customer service was particularly important as ABC established a reputation for delivering on time and correctly. If mistakes occurred, and they did, ABC adopted a no questions asked guarantee. ABC established a reputation as a reliable vendor for its customers.The business became a successful mainstay of ABC’s business but only because it developed a planned, business development process that was reviewed constantly and made changes that the market required.