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Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Friday, 17 December 2010
Lobb's Cottage
Lobb's cottage today
The cottage is just outside Devoran

A campaign's been launched to save a unique Cornish cottage.

The house, which is now in a poor state of repair, is just outside Devoran near Truro.

It was once the home of Victorian plant hunter Thomas Lobb.

Thomas and his brother William were sent by rich nursery men and landowners from the south west to bring back rare specimens from remote parts of the world.

Cottage interior
The Lobbs travelled the world

BBC Radio Four's Gardeners Question Time panellist Matthew Biggs says the brothers made a considerable contribution to the nation's horticultural knowledge.

"The interesting thing about them is there's not a lot information still available. They weren't prolific writers of letters. Any they sent back to their employers were lost when the nursery was closed down. We don't know of any existing images of William and Thomas.

The Giant Redwood and the Monkey Puzzle trees were both collected by the brothers and are now world famous. The brothers were often sent off on trips last up to three or four years often enduring harsh conditions. Plants were shipped back to Falmouth and other Cornish ports.

Gardening writer from the Guardian newspaper Leo Hickman believes that Lobb's cottage near Truro is of national importance and needs preserving.

He says: "A few Lobb enthusiasts along with myself came across documentary evidence earlier this year that finally proved the local rumour that this is the cottage of Thomas Lobb. He lived here from roughly the 1850's until his death in the 1890's."

Now the search is on - not only to buy the cottage but also to find other Lobb "memorabilia". Rare Lobb illustrations and ledger entries have turned up in local jumble sales and charity shops. Matthew and Leo believe there is more to be discovered. If you know - or even suspect - that you have anything connected to the brothers please email: Tim Hubbard

Leo added, "The Lobb brothers travelled all across the world - South America, East Asia, California, collecting specimens. They had a strong connection to Devoran. We know William returned here, and their siblings lived here too.

"Personally I think we should remember these brothers as being very crucial not only to Cornwall but the nation's horticultural heritage.

"It would be wonderful to think that Cornwall could come together and save this cottage, and maybe in the long run celebrate their lives."

William died in California but Thomas retired to the cottage in Bissoe Lane for 34 years, having lost a leg from infection.

He died in 1894, aged 76, and lies in Devoran Churchyard.

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