Children at Carclaze Community Primary School got an unexpected surprise when a time travelling plant hunter stumbled into their classroom.

Dazed and confused, the Plant Hunter, otherwise known as Trewithen’s Head Gardener, Gary Long, asked the class to help him remember who he was using items stored in his back pack and by the clothes he was wearing.

The children, who had been learning about early 19th Century plant hunter George Forrest, gained an insight into the difference between George Forrest’s plant hunting experiences in China and that of Gary’s when he followed in his footsteps last year.

Gary said:  “Through maps, photographs, camellia seeds and pods and some plants that have been growing in Trewithen’s nursery, the children were fascinated to find out more about my trip to China and how different it was to George Forrest’s experience.

“It is important to acknowledge what George Forrest, and others like him, went through to collect seeds in often life threatening circumstances, and as a result helped to establish exotic, foreign collections that make a massive contribution to our gardens and heritage.”   

Gary also brought branches from Trewithen’s Pieris formosa forrestii, collected and named after George Forrest, who is also teacher Ann Teague’s great great uncle.

Mrs Teague said:  “The children were really excited to learn more about the Plant Hunters, especially about Gary who is a modern day plant hunter and hearing about his experiences.”