Online Open Gardens series - South Bosent

Bluebells South Bosent

Due to the coronavirus lockdown, some Open Garden events have needed to be cancelled. In this online Open Gardens series, we will be speaking with with those who open up their gardens for the fundraiser so you can 'visit' digitally!
South Bosent location map

Adrienne and Trish were due to open their magnificent garden, South Bosent, on 3rd May to raise money for Cornwall Wildlife Trust as part of our annual Open Gardens series. Their large garden is a wildlife haven, regularly being host to a range of animals including deer, badgers, hedgehogs, stoats, owls and more.

In this Q&A, the first of our online Open Gardens series during the pandemic, they tell us a bit more about how they developed their garden and what’s happening in it now.

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Video of South Bosent (be sure to have the sound on!)

How long have you lived in the house?

I’ve been here nine years, although my sister Trish (the co-gardener) has only been here for two-and-a-half years.

What have you done to the garden since living there?

Everything! There was no garden when we arrived and we are converting approximately four acres to a garden including habitat areas, We’ve created six ponds and planted hundreds of trees and shrubs and thousands of bulbs and perennials with a view to encouraging insects and other creatures into the space.

How did / do you decide what plants to grow in your garden?

We both brought lots of plants from our previous gardens (propagated or divided); we tend to buy from sale corners (which tend to be plants that are past their best) to make the project affordable. We choose plants that we love and have built up collections, including over 70 rose and camellia varieties. We choose plants mainly for open single or semi double flowers to make them suitable for insects.

What’s happening in your garden now?

We're weeding and mulching the borders; bringing on the annuals and herbaceous for later in the summer as well as finishing off the new 25m long canal pond.

What plants are currently blooming?

Bulbs, camellias and rhododendrons are in flower now. We have bluebells in woods just starting.

Have you seen any wildlife recently?

Lots of bumble bees but very few rabbits as the stoats have been through a couple of weeks ago. Birdlife is prolific – we’ve seen hundreds of sparrows (house and hedge), chaffinch and various tits on the feeders. We see song thrushes and blackbirds in the garden and also hear robins and wrens. On the pond we see mallards, the heron comes every day and Canada geese call by from time to time. I saw a ruby tiger moth and have had brimstone and orange tip butterflies visit. Occasionally we’ve seen peacock butterflies and red admiral butterflies.

Arisarum probosidium (mouse tail plant)

Arisarum probosidium (mouse tail plant)

What tips do you have for others growing these plants?

Most plants do well if you keep them in the conditions they like, free of weeds and too much competition and feed them occasionally. We have previously added old manure to some of the beds which has helped them get established.

What are your favourite plants in your garden and why?

My favourites change with the season. At the moment I wax lyrical about the camellias and rhododendrons, but last month I was excited by the narcissus. Next month I'll be raving about Iris and after that the roses, later in summer it will be the dahlias! It's impossible to choose one!

Iris germanica Raspberry Blush

Iris germanica Raspberry Blush

Why did you agree to be part of Open Gardens 2020?

I've been on the volunteer team for five years now and we've opened for the last two years. Also I really enjoy sharing the garden and spreading the word about wildlife gardening.

How have you used your garden in the current coronavirus crisis? Has it helped? If so, how?

We have so much space here that the crisis hasn't really affected us except that we don't leave very often. We are retired and gardening is what we do so we are always out in it. We grow plants for sale at the Cornwall Wildlife Trust Open Gardens which keeps us busy in the early part of the year especially. This year we've been producing a lot more vegetables both in the tunnel and the kitchen garden so we'll be more self-sufficient than in previous years.

Rhododendron 'Countess of Haddington'

Rhododendron 'Countess of Haddington'

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Please help protect Cornwall’s wildlife and wild places

Thanks to the commitment of volunteers and garden hosts, Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Open Gardens series raises much needed funds for our work, securing over £20,000 in 2019 alone. Due to the pandemic, these funds are unlikely to be raised in 2020, putting the future of our work at risk.

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