I was very excited to recently discover a rare snail in a Gloucestershire garden. Helix lucorum, otherwise known as The Turkish Snail is an edible snail that has only been recorded in London and Cardiff. It's thought that it is being imported with mature trees such as olives or potted nursery stock that are being brought in from Europe. An email from Dr Ben Rowson of The British Conchological Society in London confirmed my findings with the following message:
Many thanks for this record and the coordinates. I will enter this in the Conch Soc database. It is the first record for VC 33 (East Gloucestershire) and must be an introduction. This eastern European species is also established in London and at one site in Cardiff. Empty shells are occasionally found in plant pots elsewhere.
I saw your photos back in August. We normally ask for a voucher specimen for a new VC record, and I would be grateful if you were able to send me one, although in this case I am satisfied that the ID is correct from the photo.
Joff in brief:
Has worked at Le manoir aux Quat'Saisons, The National Trust, Barnsley House, the private estate of Sir Chris and Lady Evans, Thyme at Southrop.
Studied at Pershore Horticultural College and Worcester University.
Joff Elphick is an experienced gardener offering his services in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds and has worked in some of
the areas finest gardens. He is the host on the hugely popular gardening show Pot and Cloche Garden Podcasts where he interviews gardeners, writers, authors, nursery owners, and other horty
movers and shakers.
His extensive CV includes working for Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons (www.manoir.com), the Gardens Department of the National Trust (www.nationaltrust.org.uk), Assistant Head Gardener at world famous Barnsley House (www.barnsleyhouse.com), Head Gardener for a highly appointed private estate in the Coln Valley, and Head Gardener for award winning cookery school Thyme at Southrop (www.thyme.co.uk)
He studied horticulture at Pershore College in Worcestershire studying Garden Design with Chris Beardshaw (www.chrisbeardshaw.com) and attending Worcester University for science based lab work etc. During this time he worked for Telegraph Gardening writer Mary Keen in her private and well documented garden near Cirencester and also assisted CLA President Henry Robinson in his two acre garden 'Moor Wood', housing the national collection of rambling roses.
Four enjoyable years at Barnsley House (www.barnsleyhouse.com) (former home of gardener and prolific writer Rosemary Verey and now a boutique hotel) included a year of
preparation for the planting of a silver medal winning garden at Chelsea Flower Show devised by designer and writer Steven Woodhams (www.stephenwoodhams.com).
He went on to work as Head Gardener for Sir Chris and Lady Evans on their private estate in Bibury. With a large productive potager, glasshouses, fine lawns, swimming pools and herbaceous borders this garden was the epitome of a classic English garden.
His most recent position has been as Head Gardener at 'Thyme at Southrop' a beautiful 150 acre estate on the Gloucestershire/Oxfordshire bordercontaining Southrop Manor, luxury holiday lets, and a cookery school with gardens designed by Bunny Guinness (www.bunnyguinness.com).
Despite ending his full time position there he continued for several years maintaining the cut-flower beds where he grew a large range of perennial and annual flowers for events in the Tithe Barn, the holiday cottages, and for quintessential English pub 'The Swan'.(www.theswanatsouthrop.co.uk).