Lostwithiel Area U3A
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The weather was sunny and warm for our last visit of the year. We were due to visit South Bosent in May to see the bluebells, but the owners cancelled their NGS Opened Days that month as the weather had been inclement (bitterly cold in April and wet in May).  Having visited this garden in the Spring 2019, it was interesting to visit it again during a different season.

Nine members of the group along with three of my friends made our way to this formerly council owned farmhouse with 9.5 acres of land and barns which the current owners purchased in 2011.

The owners wanted to create a haven for wildlife as well as a garden of interest.  Significant areas of the garden have been created since 2008 – this is quite amazing as the garden looks well established.  To cater for the wildlife, they generally chose plants with single or semi double flowers for pollinators and other insects.  There are areas left deliberately wild and which will continue to be left so with appropriate maintenance – for example nettles for the caterpillars that need them are not cut back and as a result they have seen hundreds more butterflies and moths and patches of brambles provide cover as well as nectar and fruit for all forms of wildlife.  In the owners own words “This is not, and never will be, a perfectly manicured garden”.

There was so much to look explore: the flower garden, the birch glade and Stumpery, the canal pond, the orchard and kitchen garden, the 5-acre meadow, the mini lake, the pond to mention but a few areas of this property.

We all enjoyed tea and cake at the end of our visit as it was so lovely to socialise again.


I will be in touch in due course about our plans for next year.  Fingers crossed that we can have a full year’s programme.









On 11th July 2021, by kind permission of Lin and Rob Briggs, the Lostwithiel and District Branch of the RNLI held an Open Garden event at Fan Cottage, Lerryn on what will most probably turn out to be one of the wettest days of the summer.  Four members of the U3A garden visits group are also members of this RNLI committee.
However, the heavy rain and thunder did not deter their local supporters, including U3A members, and holidaymakers from visiting the garden and helping them raise an amazing £450. Lin and Rob’s Garden looked magnificent even in the pouring rain!  The committee spent the following day trying to dry everything up, including all their flags and bunting. 

The committee said: "We would like to extend a big thank you to all our supporters. You are all doing something extraordinary during the year of the RNLI’S 197th birthday. By donating, you are helping save a life, so once again a heartfelt THANK YOU."



26th JUNE 2021


Our first visit to Lethytep was on 10th June 2016 when we were joined by members of the photography group. On this occasion, twelve members of the group spent a fantastic afternoon at Lethytep, a stunning conservation and wildlife haven right on our doorstep, yet unknown to many in the group.   The garden was open on that day for the Cornwall Butterfly Conservation.  It was my eight visit and I never tire of it.  I must say from the outset that the report which follows will not do credit to Lethytep, as I find it difficult to translate into words the beauty of the natural word that we witnessed.

Philip Hambly and his wife Faith have transformed the 52-acre property into habitats for wildlife.  Our visit took us through their neighbour’s tree plantation (over 8,000 trees), two of the wildflower meadows (some of us walked through an additional two meadows), an ancient woodland and a riverside walk along the Trebant Waters (the river which flows into Penpol Creek).

Philip and Faith have been recording the flora and fauna for several years and to-date their records show 24 butterfly species, 101 bird species and over 100 species of plants. One of the highlights during our visit were the thousands of Southern Marsh Orchids which normally flower in the meadows from late May to early June.  This year, they were late flowering so, although on their way out, they were still spectacular.

After walking around the large ponds bordered by yellow irises and having admired the different varieties of water lilies that grow in them, we signed the visitors’ book in the summer house and admired Philip’s talent as a photographer.  His photos taken across the seasons of the wildlife that inhabit Lethytep are stunning. 

At the end of our visit, we could not resist indulging in tea and cake.  

If you would like to visit Lethytep, visit their website for details of their open days: http://www.lethytep.co.uk/index.php

I hope that this photo gallery will whet your appetite:





Our group had planned to visit South Bosent Gardens near Dobwalls on 13th May but because of the drought, the owners had decided to cancel their May Opening Days for the National Garden Scheme (NGS).  Bearing in mind that until restrictions were lifted members preferred to visit large local gardens, the solution was obvious:  we chose to visit the Boconnoc Estate which was open for the NGS on Sunday 9th May.

Ten members of the group met up at the entrance at 2.00pm despite the cold wind and overcast skies.  It was disappointing to hear that no afternoon teas would be served but we coped!  We split up into smaller groups as the Covid-19 rule of six restrictions still applied and we followed the garden trail which was clearly signposted.

 We started our tour at the Dorothy Garden where the camassias were in full bloom in the meadow and the perfume of the late flowering yellow rhododendrons filled the air. 

 Here are a few facts about camassias:

  • Camassia is a genus of plants in the asparagus family native to North America. 
  • Common names include camas, quamash, Indian hyacinth, camash, and wild hyacinth. 
  • It grows in the wild in great numbers in moist meadows. 
  • They are perennial plants with basal linear leaves measuring 8 to 32 inches in length, which emerge early in the spring. 
  • They grow to a height of 12 to 50 inches, with a multi-flowered stem rising above the main plant in summer. 
  • The six-petaled flowers vary in colour from pale lilac or white to deep purple or blue-violet

The path meandered through carpets of bluebells and we had a peep at a gipsy caravan before walking down past the tennis courts down to the Stewardry Walk.  The shrubbery was an explosion of colours with many pink and purple rhododendrons and azaleas in full bloom along with carpets of bluebells covering the banks up to the shrubs and down to the river.


We explored the palm-fringed paradise of the Tropical Fountain.  Around a waterfall, pool and Lady Hamilton’s marble bath, the exotic plants create and ambiance that is akin to a tropical garden.

One of our members bumped into a former colleague of hers who lives on the estate by the stables so some of us were able to go “off-piste”:  we had a look inside the 17th century dovecote and we discovered the old (and empty) open air swimming pool.  The latter was an absolute unexpected treat.

Visit to Trewithen Gardens  April 23rd 2021


Seven members of the group met for this first outing of 2021. 


The weather was sunny but with a south easterly breeze. The house and gardens have been in private ownership since the 16th century, the Galsworthy family are the current owners, The gardens are looking beautiful with an abundance of blossom on the fruit, rhododendron, camellias, magnolias and azaleas. The garden has over 100 hybrids of Rhododendrons, and in 2012 the garden was recognised as an international Camellia garden of excellence.


Fortunately the walled garden was open and we enjoyed looking at the ferns, fruit trees as well as a variety of other herbaceous plants.


We walked round most areas of the garden, although some areas are undergoing repair and alteration. The garden has also suffered from strong winds causing damage especially to some of the taller trees.  


We visited the Cock Pit with it display of ferns originally from SW Australia and Tasmania.

The magnolia fountain is a relatively new addition to the garden being added in 1997, the fountain is made of granite and bronze and the sound of the water is intended to imitate the noise of a babbling brook.

 On our return to the entrance we caught a glimpse of a red squirrel, who soon retreated to the safety of its nest box inside the enclosure.

 We finished our visit by enjoying tea and cake.