"I love their famous Trebah Flans, yummy!" P. Atkinson, Truro
The origins of Agapanthus date back to 1629 when they were first introduced to the UK. Called the Love Flower from Africa they would have been highly desirable and only affordable by those who had deep pockets. Their exotic look with striking dark blue to creamy-white star-burst flowers would have attracted a lot of attention as there would have been nothing quite them flowering in August.
With its mild maritime climate Cornwall and its coastal gardens like Trebah suited this tender perennial. With its ability to tolerate salt and thrive in poor soil it would have grown out of every available crevice even colonising the sand dunes of Tresco, in the Isles of Scilly. The most hardy form is Agapanthus praecox subsp orientalis, although even this is often grown in pots and brought in during the winter outside of the Southwest.
It wasnt until the twentieth Century when hybridising took place and that was by the then Treasurer of the RHS, the Hon. William Palmer (1894-1971); several of his Headborne Hybrids were made available, a particular favourite of mine at Trebah being Agapanthus Navy Blue with its striking dark blue medium sized flowers.