A meeting to create a Friends of Fox Rosehill Gardens will take place next week in Falmouth.

The group will meet on Wednesday, January 22, at 2.30pm at the Princess Pavilion, to help raise awareness and funds for the historic Victorian garden, which has recently lost trees and shrubs to a fungal disease.

Cornwall Council do not have a budget to replace those plants and it is hoped a "Friends" group will help fund replanting and encourage more people to discover the garden’s hidden history.

Fox Rosehill Gardens are managed by Cormac who are also responsible for Gyllyngdune and Queen Mary Gardens winners of National Britain in Bloom awards.

Cormac’s community partnership officer Jackie Mace, who has chaired two previous meetings on the garden’s future, said: "Next Wednesday’s meeting is to formally constitute a friends group who can make a wish list of priorities on what they would like for the garden.

"Cormac is renovating the garden’s glass house nursery to build up future plant stock, train students in horticulture and possibly operate a plant sales outlet to be run by volunteers. But we do not have a budget to replace the shrubs and trees lost to the fungal problems. A Friends group could help fund replanting."

One suggestion is that the Friends appeal to other local historic gardens such as Tregothnan, Glendurgan and Trebah to donate suitable specimens from their gardens. The group would also address the concerns of nearby residents and regular park users which include people ignoring notices such as no cycling, ballgames, and keeping dogs on leads.

Jackie Mace added: "It is obvious from the meetings so far that people are proud and very interested in the garden’s history and that educational signage might be useful. Fox Rosehill does not have the same high public profile as Gyllyngdune and Queen Mary Gardens which are more accessible to visitors and a Friends group could help change that."

The pioneering Mediterranean style of planting by the garden’s owner Howard Fox in the 1880s was copied by seaside resorts throughout Cornwall including the Morrab Gardens in Penzance. The subtropical gardens with their exotic flowering shrubs, palms, lemon and banana trees inspired the Great Western Railway to promote the county to tourists as the Cornish Riveria.

In 1944 the Fox family gave the lower gardens bordering Melvill Road to Falmouth council to be used as a public park. The upper gardens and their home Rosehill on Woodlane were eventually taken over the Falmouth School of Art and are now part of Falmouth University.

Councillor Candy Atherton one of the original members of the Friends of the Princess Pavilion who successfully campaigned for the £2.3 million Gyllyngdune Gardens restoration, and attended the last meeting on Fox Rosehill Gardens said: "I welcome any move that will enhance this valuable asset to the town."

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting on Wednesday, January 22 at 2.30 at the Princess Pavilion, Melvill Road. Further details from Jackie Mace, Community Partnership Officer, Cormac Solutions Ltd. 01872 324979, jackie.mace@cormacltd.co.uk