Trees pages:

Antony House, Cornwall

Antony House, Cornwall
The front of Antony House, looking over lawns planted with specimen trees


Antony House is near Torpoint in Cornwall, across the River Tamar (by car ferry) from Plymouth. It is an 18th century building now managed by the National Trust.

The Woodland Garden, owned and run by the Carew Pole Garden Trust, has outstanding rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, camellias, and of course trees.

Specimen trees, some planted over 200 years ago, are planted in the grounds of the house and in the woodland garden, and a number have descriptive labels, which have been summarised below.

American Black Walnut
American Black Walnut tree, as seen from the front of Antony House

American Black Walnut

American Black Walnut

Planted in the 1790s.

A native of central and eastern USA, this species was introduced to Britain in 1686. It is a member of the Juglandaceae family. This tree does produce nuts, but not in any great profuision. These can be difficult to extract from their husks unlike those from the Common Walnut, Juglans regia. which is grown commercially for its nuts.

American Black Walnut
A close up of the American Black Walnut tree bark.


Both male and female flowers grow on the same tree and the leaves give off a strong aroma when crushed. Walnut wood is strong and highly sought after by cabinetmakers. It was also used to make aeroplane propellers during the First World War. The wood and roots carry a number of compounds which can adversely affect other plants if grown too close.

It is difficult to get a sense of the scale of this tree from photographs. It is truly impressive standing amongst its trunk-sized branches which twist and turn on the ground.

American black walnut
Large twisted branches rest on the ground

Enormous twisted branches

American black walnut
Large twisted branches sprawl outwards

Sprawling outwards

Cedar of Lebanon
Cedar of Lebanon
Cedar of Lebanon standing on the side of the lawn at Antony

Cedrus liboni

Native to the eastern Mediterranean, these trees were introduced to Britain in the first half of the seventeenth century. They are found on the slopes of Mount Lebanon in Syria and appear on the national flag of Lebanon.

Widely used in landscape settings, two are used at Antony to frame the terraces from the main lawn.

The trees at Antony are largely free from major pathogens, although they are reported by the Forestry Commission to be susceptible to honey fungus and aphid attacks.

They grow best in poor soils that are not waterlogged. The timber, popular in Victorian furniture, is very durable and resistant to rot and insect attack.

Acer griseum
Acer griseum in the grounds at Antony House

Acer griseum

Paper bark maple

A native of Central China, and introduced to Britain in 1901 by Ernest Henry Wilson.

Acer griseum
The peeling bark catches the light

Griseum bark

Grown for two key features - its bark is an orange-brown and peels attractively, and in autumn the leaves turn brilliant shades of red and orange. I haven't quite managed to capture either feature at its best in these photos, but you can only photograph what you see at the time you visit.

They grow best in moist, well-drained soil in part shade.

Antony Woodland garden
Paths, vistas, specimen planting and sculptures

Woodland garden

The Woodland Garden, Antony

A woodland garden exists separately to the National Trust house and grounds, managed by the Carew-Pole Garden Trust. There is free admission for trust members.

The woods cover 60 acres. they have good paths and a mixture of planting - specimens, groups, and wide open spaces. The woods lead down to the coast - on the Tamar estuary so there are also views across the waters.

Quercus dentata
New leaves on a young tree in the woodland.

Quercus dentata

We visited in June, so the masses of magnolias, camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas were just about finished, but the deciduous trees were newly in leaf. Many trees had labels on them to aid with identification - hence I know that this young oak tree was quercus dentata.

Cork Oak
Quercus suber Cork oak
The large cork oak at Antony House

Quercus suber

A slow growing, long-lived tree, native to the coastal regions of the Western Mediterranean sea. They thrive in areas with cold, moist winters and hot summers - so we probably provide one out of two of these conditions in this country!

The bark of cork oaks has been stripped for many years to make fishermen's floats and building insulation. The outer skin of the bark is very hard, and not at all cork-like.

Quercus suber - cork oak
Close up of the cork bark - it doesn't look like cork - that is the inner layer

Quercus suber

The structure of this tree almost defies gravity, with one branch extending horizontally for 18.5 metres. It now has the help of supports and cables, added in the 1980s. The tree was probably planted in the late 1700s.

It is good to see such fine specimens displayed to their best effect, with lawns around allowing the full tree to be taken in, but also allowing close up inspection of the leaves and bark. And of course the addition of an information label is excellent for identification.

Ginkgo biloba
A fine large specimen tree - the Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba

Maidenhair tree

A native of South East Asia, this tree species was introduced to the UK in 1727. It is a member of the Ginkgoaceae family and the only member of its genus.

Ginkgo trees are either male or female. This tree, a male, produces yellow catkin-like flowers in May.

Ginkgo biloba
A close up of ginkgo bark

Ginkgo bark

Ginkgos are often described as living fossils as they date back to the age of the dinosaurs. They are hardy trees being insect and disease tolerant.

Once widespread throughout the northern hemisphere, they were renedered extinct in North America and Europe by the Pleistocene Age.

The leaves are widely used in medicinal supplements.

Oak Burrs Antony
Oak burrs sprouting, Antony House

Oak burrs

Oak burr

A number of the oak trees at Antony had burrs on their trunks. This one is just beginning to sprout - no doubt these twigs will be trimmed back later in the season.

Coral bark maple
Coral bark maple

Acer palmatum Sango-kaku

Coral bark maple

Acer palmatum Sango-kaku. This tree was planted in 1984, lifted by the gale of January 1990, and replanted in March 1990.

The newly emerged leaves are pinkish-green in spring, turning to a rich green in summer, then brilliant yellows and oranges in autumn.

The bark on the younger shoots is coral red, giving the tree its name.

The ultimate height is 4-8 metres and a spread of 2.5-4 metres, acheived after 20 years. It is also popular as a bonsai specimen. A hardy tree, liking a lightly shaded position, out of the wind.