Secret Truro took a step away from the city to visit Polgwynne, an extraordinarily beautiful private garden resting on the shores of Loe Beach in Feock, when it opened its gates to the public last Sunday as part of the National Garden Scheme.
Not only were visitors wowed by the extensive gardens with their glorious blooms, but they also helped to raise over £1,500 for charities including Macmillan, Marie Curie Cancer, Mercy Rescue Trust and the Nephrotic Syndrome Trust.
Owned by the Piercy family, Amanda Piercy is the chief gardener, designer and wheelbarrow pusher who has worked tirelessly in all weathers to create this wonderful garden. Many of us dream of having a big garden but four and a half acres? “It’s an enormous commitment,” says Amanda, “And you have to love it.”
Amanda’s love for her garden is evident everywhere, from the delicate drifts of Primroses carpeting a wide bank above the gardens to the meticulously presented vegetable gardens to the disarmingly well-organised greenhouses. And the plants seem to love being there too – in my small garden the few hardy plants that deign to grow either struggle to make it to maturity or wither under trampling dogs, children, slugs…. and possibly neglect.
Not so in Polgwynne. Everywhere you look is a wonderful display of harmony, working together like an orchestra – which is not surprising considering the musical tradition of the Piercys (both Amanda’s daughters are gifted musicians). Some areas are peaceful and reflective, others vibrant and lively and some, frankly, a bit petulant. Like the tulips in the picking garden, a striking display that simply demanded to be admired in their brief blaze of technicolour glory.
The Piercys bought the house in 2009, but didn’t start on the garden properly until 2010. Although some areas were derelict and neglected, it was evident that it had been carefully planted and lovingly constructed by previous owners Hilda Davey and her husband Peter. Amanda likened it to renovating an old house, “I didn’t want to strip out all the character, but it needed modernizing. My biggest challenge was creating colour and interest throughout the year.” This involved developing the vegetable garden, the flower-picking beds of tulips, daffodils, peonies and, later in the year, dahlias and agapanthus as well as planting more herbaceous beds, including Cornish grown roses.
The garden has many unusual plants such as Poncirus trifoliata (Japanese Bitter Orange), and Colletia paradoxa (Anchor plant). “I try and add unusual plants,” says Amanda, “My latest, Calycanthus chinensis, was a birthday present from my parents and will hopefully have gorgeous white flowers this summer!”
The light certainly shone favourably on Polgwynne that day. The skies were that shade of grey with breaking light that makes everything iridescent, causing the garden to shimmer. From the huge and reputedly very ancient Gingko tree to the silvery lichen gracing the branches and delicately cradling the blossoms, all the colours sang out. Which they would in Amanda’s perfectly tuned orchestral garden.
You can keep up with events at Polgwynne by checking out their Facebook page.
Cover photo: Jac Smith
Other photos: Amanda Williams