Celebrating 175 years

Celebrating 175 years

2013 marks 175 years since the original creation of a garden at Trebah by Charles Fox.

Charles was a member of a large wealthy Quaker family who had been settled inCornwall. They ran a shipping business, had a large interest in the famous Perran Foundry, in the tin mines and in pilchard fishing. The Foxes were foremost in any project that helped the citizens of Falmouth, giving generously not only of their money but their time and energies.

They were an extraordinary family, creating with horticultural zeal at least six gardens in southwest Cornwall including Penjerrick, Glendurgan, Rosehill and Trebah and stocking them with exotic plants - many of which had never been grown in Britain before. Being shipping agents, they were well placed to arrange transportation of exotic plants from warm temperate regions of the world, to their gardens in Cornwall.

During the late 1830s and early 1840s Charles Fox prepared Trebah in readiness for the first batch of plants to arrive. In the field on either side of the valley, he planted hundreds of Monterey Pine Pinus radiata, Maritime Pine Pinus pinaster and Holm Oak Quercus ilex, to act as a shelterbelt against the worst of the elements. As a secondline of defence, he planted green and purple leaved beech Fagus sylvatica and Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea' on the valley sides. Many of these trees are still standing today.

Charles Fox paid meticulous attention to the exact positioning of every tree. He instructed his Head Gardener to build a scaffold tower to represent the eventual height of each tree; the youngest garden boy was then sent up the tower with a flag. From an attic window and armed with megaphone and telescope, Charles would direct movements until the perfect planting spot was attained.

Trebah will be celebrating 175 years of being excitingly different with a programme of events and collaborations throughout the year, including three days of dance performance and a summer exhibition of sculpture. Work will continue on The Amphitheatre throughout the year, the foundations of which were laid to celebrate this historic year for The Garden and its Trust.

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