Trengwainton’s Wartime Garden Project, Cornwall

I was really pleased to finally make it to Trengwainton Gardens at Penzance in Cornwall to see their wartime garden project this week. I was scouting out locations for our possible World War Zoo Gardens wartime garden display at Trengwainton’s 1940s wartime garden weekend “Hoorah for the Home Front” on Sunday 11th May 2014.

The entry in the walled garden through to Trengwainton's wartime garden in the orchard May 2014 Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

The entry in the walled garden through to Trengwainton’s wartime garden in the orchard May 2014 Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

I came across this project several years ago when I was researching our own Wartime garden at Newquay Zoo and exchanged 1940s plant variety notes with one of the Project consultants, Paul Bonnington.

Trengwainton NT wartime garden May 2014.  Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

Trengwainton NT wartime garden May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

Trengwainton have recreated an Anderson shelter, something I wanted to do in the first plans for the Newquay Zoo version of a wartime allotment in 2009. Many months later trawling eBay for original ‘heritage rust’ available from as little as 99p (if you travel to the other side of the country to dig up and dismantle it for the owners), I decided against the idea.
Instead I sent Paul the shelter plans and dimensions from original 1940s ARP publications and woodworking magazines. Trengwainton have recreated one in full shiny glory, not yet covered in a protective and productive coating of soil and produce. People at the time were worried that the shiny metal would be too easily visible from the air, hence the edible camouflage that soon appeared on top.

Land girls back at Trengwainton wartime garden NT, Cornwall May 2014  Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

Land girls back at Trengwainton wartime garden NT, Cornwall May 2014
Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

In several Land Girl autobiographies and histories (such as the oral history account produced by the Penzance / West Cornwall based Hypatia Trust) Trengwainton is mentioned. Land Girls from all over Britain trained, lived and worked at gardens like Trengwainton.

Project signage, Dig for Victory Wartime garden, Trengwainton, NT, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Project signage, Dig for Victory Wartime garden, Trengwainton, NT, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Propaganda posters of WLA Land Girls aside, the less glamorous side of wartime gardening has been ‘recreated’ in this working garden such as compost heaps. Just as we use produce from the Newquay Zoo version to feed our animals (and occasionally in the cafe), Trengwainton uses produce from its several sections of walled gardens (built apparently, no one knows why, to the dimensions of Noah’s Ark) in its tearooms.

Trengwainton NT wartime garden project, May 2014. Image Mark Norris, WWZG.

Trengwainton NT wartime garden project, May 2014. Image Mark Norris, WWZG.

I look forward to joining the events and gardens team there and other re-enactors from the Southwest WW2 reenactment society in celebrating “the spirit and ingenuity” of the 1940s on the 11th May 2014, with a small display of our wartime garden materials that we use with schools (see previous blog post). You can find out more about the Trengwainton garden and events: Www.nationaltrust.org.uk/trengwainton-garden  There are photos of past 40s weekends there in local news coverage. 

Hooray for the Home Front poster 11 May 2014, Trengwainton, NT, Cornwall.

Hooray for the Home Front poster 11 May 2014, Trengwainton, NT, Cornwall.

Our Wartime garden project co-opts Newquay Zoo’s free-ranging chickens as and when required for displays. Trengwainton has built coops in the orchard for several beautiful Buff Orpington hens and chicks, a great sound effect background noise to the garden project.

Salvage bins marked up WVS, a nice touch in the chicken coop, Trengwainton NT, Cornwall wartime garden project, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

Salvage bins marked up WVS, a nice touch in the chicken coop, Trengwainton NT, Cornwall wartime garden project, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

 

Buff Orpington chickens, Trengwainton wartime garden project, Cornwall. May 2014 Image: Mark Norris: WWZG.

Buff Orpington chickens, Trengwainton wartime garden project, Cornwall. May 2014 Image: Mark Norris: WWZG.

Trengwainton's orchard with walled garden backdrop, wartime garden project, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Trengwainton’s orchard with walled garden backdrop, wartime garden project, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

 

Unusual 'aeroplane' weathercock or bird scarer, Trengwainton NT wartime garden project, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Unusual ‘aeroplane’ weathercock or bird scarer, Trengwainton NT wartime garden project, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

A bit of Trengwainton's history on its wartime garden signage, Cornwall, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

A bit of Trengwainton’s history on its wartime garden signage, Cornwall, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Another clever idea (similar to something I am working on at Newquay Zoo) is their display potting shed, full of period items.

Inside the wartime potting shed, wartime garden project,  Trengwainton NT, Cornwall, May 2014 Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Inside the wartime potting shed, wartime garden project, Trengwainton NT, Cornwall, May 2014 Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Anderson shelter recreated, Trengwainton NT wartime garden project, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Anderson shelter recreated, Trengwainton NT wartime garden project, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Chickens and rose hips, Trengwainton NT wartime garden project, Cornwall. May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Chickens and rose hips, Trengwainton NT wartime garden project, Cornwall. May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Rose hips were (after research into their Vitamin C content at Kew) gathered as a source of Vitamin C during wartime, often by WIs and schoolchildren keen to make some pocket money.

Wartime poster, Trengwainton NT, Cornwall May 2014 Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Wartime poster, Trengwainton NT, Cornwall May 2014 Image: Mark Norris, WWZG.

Recreating a wartime potting shed, Trengwainton NT wartime garden project, Cornwall. May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

Recreating a wartime potting shed, Trengwainton NT wartime garden project, Cornwall. May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

I hope you enjoy these glimpses of Trengwainton’s Wartime garden project and get the chance to visit.

I might even meet some of you at their 1940s event on Sunday the 11th May 2014 which we hope to attend with our display; if I get the chance to photograph the event, I’ll post some further pictures here.

Pedople asked for views of the walled kitchen gardens at Trengwainton so here are a few more shots:

The main walled kitchen gardens at Trengwainton, Cornwall, May 2014 Image: Mark Norris: WWZG.

The main walled kitchen gardens at Trengwainton, Cornwall, May 2014 Image: Mark Norris: WWZG.

 

Green Manure (mustard) flowering in the Walled kitchen gardens, Trengwainton, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

Green Manure (mustard) flowering in the Walled kitchen gardens, Trengwainton, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG

Walled kitchen gardens, Trengwainton, Cornwall, May 2014.  Image: Mark Norris, WWZG,

Walled kitchen gardens, Trengwainton, Cornwall, May 2014. Image: Mark Norris, WWZG,

Posted by: Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall. Contact via http://www.newquayzoo.org.uk

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One Response to “Trengwainton’s Wartime Garden Project, Cornwall”

  1. Remembering VE Day May 8 1945 and 2015 | Worldwarzoogardener1939's Blog Says:

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