Trecanna nursery is family run specialist plant nursery. The
nursery is sited on the edge of our small farm. We have a host of animals both
large and small to keep us busy! Being in Cornwall, we find that we have
visitors throughout the year, although all our friends and relatives now know
that there’s no such thing as a ‘rest day’ at the nursery and frequently spend
much of their holiday break working along side us!
BT - Before Trecanna - many years ago…..
For much of my life I grew up in and around the Tamar Valley and as a youngster
I had a tremendous interest in wildlife including caterpillars that I gathered
and kept in boxes under my bed (until they escaped!) This led to me looking at
the plants that they were feeding on and when we moved into a house with a
greenhouse my enthusiasm for growing plants really started. By the age of
twelve, I went to school each morning leaving my mother responsible for selling
the tomato plants and houseplants advertised on the board I had left outside our
AT – After Trecanna:
In 2001 we moved in and immediately started work on clearing
the thousand of brambles, nettles and weeds that engulfed the area planned for
the nursery. It was not until these had been cleared that we could see what
needed to be done. It was all too much….. So we just concentrated on the first
third of the overall area.
We are sited on the steep slopes of the Tamar Valley and the only way to create
borders and growing areas was to terrace the entire area – a project that in the
end took some over 2 years to complete – initially with spade, shovel and
wheelbarrow and later with the help of a friendly digger driver.
We rushed around in early 2002 trying to lay the main pathways and spent endless
days and nights finishing the terraces with dry stone walling, using stone
collected from around the farm. In April we opened the nursery for the first
time, for just 2 days a week, but at that stage it was little more than a
polytunnel. We had a basic network of paths but we’d had no real time to
propagate so only had a small collection of plants.
Many days and even weeks went by without a visitor and those that came were
greeted by masses of heaped soil, gravel and stones as we tried to shape the
In 2003 we managed to plant our first borders including the Crocosmia Garden. We
incorporated a huge amount of grit into the soil to give sharp drainage and to
protect our plants against the combination of winter wet & winter cold.
Our selection of plants steadily grew as we found more time to propagate.
Meanwhile, I often spent much of our takings at shows acquiring new varieties to
add to our collection.
The dry stone walling was finished and the paths were extended with extra steps
being added. Thing were really taking shape.
This year we turned our attention towards the ‘untamed’ portion of the nursery.
Early in the year we abandoned spade and wheelbarrow for a JCB to help clear the
main thicket of brambles, ash and a rampant cotoneaster on the lower portion of
the nursery. The JCB achieved more in a few days than we could have done in a
year. The area was terraced to give us a wide flat area – something that we had
never had so far. After lining the whole area, we added a healthy layer of
gravel and built a new polytunnel from hundreds of pieces provided in the ‘kit’.
Over the Spring & Summer we tackled the wilderness between the small car park
and nursery area, turning one side into a planted border. It swallowed over 400
pots of stock but would provide a suitably attractive entrance to the nursery.
In September be finally gained our ‘brown tourist signs’ and expanded ours
opening period to Weds to Sat, throughout the year.
Our first Crocosmia crosses flowered for the first time with some lovely new
varieties. We extended our collection of Achilleas and started offering a much
wider and extensive collection of unusual bulbs from all around the world.
2005 - 2008
A time of many additions – an ex-Great Western Railway goods truck arrived in
March ’05 (found it on Ebay!) – this was set to become our main pay area for the
nursery, whilst also housing our garden gifts, many of which are designed here.
To follow the theme, the new border leading to the goods truck was held up using
a wall of sleepers. An extra 30 varieties of Crocosmia were planted here to
create and avenue of hot colours. Finally I made some gates to finish off the
Less exciting was the addition of a huge water tank to help quench the thirst of
our plants in the summer months.
In August 2005 we held our first ever South African Weekend with over 100
varieties of Crocosmia in flower. The weekend attracted over 500 gardeners and
we raised over £800 for charity – great fun and exhausting!
Our Crocosmia collection continues to grow with over 200 varieties by 2008! We
expanded our collections of Watsonia, Tulbaghia, Lachenalia, Kniphofia and
Eucomis(All South African).
2009 - 2011
At Trecanna we’ve become ever more focused on our specialties over the years and
South African plants and bulbs are top of the list, with many rare and unusual
seeds now maturing into wonderful plants. The collection of Crocosmia is
burgeoning and each year I plan to introduce some new hybrids. 2009 saw the
arrival of ‘Tamar New Dawn’ and ‘Tamar Peace’ which were received with great
enthusiasm by all. In 2010 this was followed by the brilliant red ‘Tamar Glow’.
2011 saw the arrival of ‘Cornish Copper’ and ‘Prince of Orange’. We continue to
visit many shows as well as offering a full mail order service.