The Garden History Section (GH) recently visited the garden and large greenhouse of Dr and Mrs David Pope at Sandybrook. The house name La Solaize, differs from the attached greenhouse, which is Meadow View Vineries and Dr Pope believes that the greenhouse was part of a vinery or tomato nursery with further greenhouses going up the hill behind their property. The residence, bought from a Mr C Syvret, was built before World War Two. There is a States of Jersey document, Ref: D/AP/U/105 of 8th October 1914 about the prohibition of the export of perishable fruit (apart from tomatoes) followed by a request to be exempted from the ban, presented by the Rector of St Saviour and lodged au greffe. Businesses which were listed under the proposed ban included, amongst others, both Meadow Vale Vineries and Meadow View Vineries.
There were very old greenhouses behind the tomato nursery up the hill towards a house called Haverford West, to which Mr Clifford Syvret moved after selling La Solaize. The 1911 census shows Meadow View Vineries, of Coin Varin, NE of Beaumont and occupied by a farmer, Charles A Cabot. Meadow Vale Vineries, in the same census, belonged to E Worboys of Les Vaux, St Helier.
The group had a tour of the garden which holds a host of different bulbs including Jersey lilies (Amaryllis belladonna). These were flowering and some were a darker pink than is generally seen. Autumn crocus were about to emerge en masse and also lachenalias which hail from S.Africa. To protect the garden from the prevailing winds, a large selection of camellias and magnolias, plus other shrubs, from a strong boundary hedge. Dr Pope said most of these were bought from Woolworths about 30 years ago! The family keep chickens which were annoyed at being confined because of avian flu regulations.
The greenhouse is a practical workroom, holding fruit-bearing citrus and fig trees, laden grapevines and cordon tomatoes, besides a huge cacti collection and a large fish pond. Tibouchina cuttings were flowering both here and outside and members were offered flowering Blood Lilies – Haemanthus, a relative of the Amaryllis. Outside the backdoor of the greenhouse, in full flower, was a spectacular 30 year old lapageria rosea.
GH would like to receive further information about the tomato and grape growing in the area if anyone has information please get in touch.