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The 'Garden Capital of the World' is often how Cornwall is thought of throughout the world.
Cornwall enjoys the power of the Gulf Stream with its temperate climate of warm summers, mild
and wet winters which in turn allows exotic and rare plants to thrive.
Where else can you find so many gardens with history dating back to the Iron Age? As long ago
as the early 19th century Cornish gardeners were part of the Victorian plant hunters who collected
exotic plants and seeds from all around the world.
That gives us what we have today: over 60 fabulous gardens to explore with lush vegetation and
sub-tropical theatres of colour brimming with exciting, rare and beautiful plants. Cornwall's
gardens are found in our magnificent Castles, Manor Houses, grand Farm Estates, Mill Houses,
sheltered valleys, high up on blustery moorland and nestled in woodland and seaside gardens
which meet the turquoise hues of the water's edge.
Cornwall's gardens are so diverse as they vary in size from small and intimate to acres of rolling
countryside. Some with enchanting lakes and a Victorian boathouse to water gardens with tree
ferns, rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias. Others have walled gardens and manicured
lawns to the newest of all two magnificent Biomes filled with magic from around the world.
All around Britain you will be hard-pressed not to find a 'Veitch' plant or one derived from their
nurseries. The Veitch family sent many collectors all over the world to bring back seeds and
plants. These included two Cornish brothers, William and Thomas Lobb. William Lobb died in San
Francisco in 1864 but his brother Thomas lived in Devoran until his death in 1894.
In the East of Cornwall Mount Edgcumbe have The Earl's Garden with ancient and rare trees
including a 400-year-old lime. The Formal Gardens are found in the lower park and were created
over 200 years ago in English, French and Italian styles. Cothele tells the story of the Tamar
Valley and Antony was recently used as a backdrop for the film Alice in Wonderland. Also in the
East is Ince Castle which overlooks the River Lynher. The garden enjoys woodlands filled with
rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias, vibrant shrubs and formal gardens. Pentillie Castle's
gardens are only open on specific days and their orchard was replanted with old Tamar Valley
varieties of apple and cherry.
The South is awash with fabulous gardens which proves how sheltered this coast is in Cornwall
and many are overflowing with collections of Cornish rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias.
We can start with Hidden Valley Gardens, Near Par. These gardens won the Cornwall Tourism
Silver award 2010 for small visitor attraction. Tregrehan is a large woodland garden and is home
to the Carlyon family since 1565. The Pinetum Park and Pine Lodge Gardens, Near St. Austell is a
30-acre paradise with over 6000 labelled plants. Ray and Shirley Clemo travelled the world
collecting seeds and plants for this garden and a pair of black swans have made it their home.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan at Pentewan have been voted Britain's finest garden and has
scooped the title in the Countryfile Magazine Awards 2011. Celebrating 21years since Heligan's
Lost Gardens were discovered, this beauty provides 200 acres to explore. Discover the Northern
Garden, the Jungle, the Wider Estate and the Horsemoor Hide and Wildlife Project.
Next on our list would be Caerhays Castle Gardens which is situated in a valley above Porthluney
Cove. A horticultural treasure covering 100 acres of woodland gardens and holder of the National
Magnolia Collection. Lamorran at St. Mawes is a Mediterranean-style garden with sea views over
Falmouth Bay. History says that it is the most Northerly Palm Garden in the world. From Lamorran
you can see the lighthouse at St. Anthony's Head. St. Just in Roseland has a 13th century church
and is set in a sheltered sub-tropical riverside garden filled with magnolias, azaleas, bamboos and
giant gunnera. Trelissick Garden at Feock was planted 200 years ago and has views down the
Falmouth estuary. It has year-round plant colour, an orchard, woodland walks and an art and
crafts gallery. In the autumn 300 varieties of apples will be on display in the Georgian stables.
Enys Gardens at Penryn is one of Cornwall's oldest gardens dating back to 1709. Penjerrick at
Budock Water is unspoilt with historic and botanic interest; relax among tree ferns and hidden
Moving on down the coast to Mawnan Smith is Trebah and Carwinion, these are gardens with
great historic interest. Trebah is on the North bank of the Helford River and in this garden you can
wander among giant tree ferns and palms. Carwinion has a renowned collection of bamboo and
has 14 acres of tranquil gardens. Glendurgan lies in a sub-tropical valley running down to the
Helford River. Have fun in the 180 year-old cherry laurel maze and wander through the garden
and down to the hamlet of Durgan. Potager is a new organic garden and is close to Constantine,
five miles from Falmouth.
Down the coast further to Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula, Bonython Estate Gardens has an 18th
century Walled Garden, a potager garden, an orchard of Cornish variety apple trees and
woodlands. Bosahan at Manaccan is again close to the Helford River enjoying the Cornish
microclimate and described as "the most Cornish of all Cornish gardens" in The Gardener
magazine in 1909! Trevarno Gardens are the 'Jewel in the Crown' of their estate with a
magnificent 70 acres. Several interesting features include a Serptentine Yew Tunnel and the
production of organic skincare products and soaps. Carleen Subtropical Gardens are open by
appointment only and are home to collections from South America, Mexico, Central and South
Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Southern USA and the Mediterranean. The Hardy Exotics Garden
Nursery at Whitecross, Near Penzance can create "Barbados in Birmingham" - "Mauritius in
Manchester" and "Hawaii in Hertford".
Now we come to the beautiful St. Michaels Mount, walk across the causeway at low tide or travel
by boat at other times. These gardens are steep but thrive in the shelter of the granite cliffs and
you will find exotics from Mexico, Canary Islands and South Africa. Tremenheere Sculpture
Gardens is a wonderful valley setting with St. Michaels Mount in the background. The National
Trust owns Trengwainton and this historic garden is home to banana plants and enormous
echiums. Finally in this part of Cornwall is Penberth which has 5 acres and is a natural valley
garden incorporating sea views.
Now we move on to North Cornwall which is a more rugged coast fronting the Atlantic. Our first
port of call is the Japanese Garden and Bonsai Nursery in the beautiful Lanherne Valley at St.
Mawgan. Just 1.5 acres but includes Water Gardens, Stroll Garden and a Zen Garden inspired by
the East. Moving on up the Coast to Padstow we find Prideaux Place that has 40 acres of
landscaped grounds and a deer park overlooking the Padstow estuary and the River Camel. Last
but not least on this coast is Longcross Victorian Garden at Trelights, Port Isaac. This is 4 acres
and gives a fine example of coastal gardening and hedging with views towards Port Isaac and Port
Cornwall has some more fine gardens that are a bit more inland than the others we have
mentioned before but when you are in Cornwall you are never more than sixteen miles away from
the coast at any time.
The 4 acres at Ken-Caro, Nr. Liskeard is another garden with a woodland walk, magnolias and
rhododendrons, small but beautiful and set high above Bicton Manor Woods. Another one in the
same area is Moyclare established in 1927 in 1 acre and arranged around the house. The broom
"Moyclare Pink" and the astrantia "Moira Reid" originated in this garden. Pencarrow is a garden of
50 acres and this is where the Monkey Puzzle tree got its name. In this garden you can even walk
on the grass! If you like one of the plants you will probably be able to buy a cutting from it. At
Pinsla Garden, Cardinham there is something for everyone, an idyllic haven, and a hideaway full
of secret paths with hazel arch and fantasy garden created by garden artists.
Moving on once again to the National Trust owned Lanhydrock, a garden for walkers and a
historical garden that has a woodland of 1000 acres. Boconnoc at Lostwithiel bas a beautiful
spring garden and has camellias and azaleas from the 1850 original planting. These gardens are
only open for the Spring Flower Show and Sunday afternoons during May. Trewithin close to
Grampound means 'house of the trees' and has 30 acres of woodland gardens and more than 200
acres of surrounding parkland. The horticulturalist George Johnstone, who inherited the house in
1904, cultivated many of the seeds that came from abroad thus ensuring the reputation that
Trewithin has today. Trewithin is an unforgettable garden gem.
Next is the Eden Project close to St. Austell which is the newest of all our Cornish gardens.
Created from a disused china clay pit in the year 2000 and the site opened on 17th March 2001.
Two Biomes, one Tropical and the other Mediterranean are both constructed from a tubular steel
space-frame clad in thermoplastic ETFE. At Eden you can travel around the world in a day!
At Bosvigo on the outskirts of Truro an awkward wing of the house was demolished and using
stone from the house the walled garden was created. This left a 100-year-old Victorian
Conservatory standing. All the plants that are for sale in this nursery are growing in the Gardens.
Burncoose at Gwennap is a 30 acre woodland garden and has achieved gold medal displays at
Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows. The Nursery stocks a wide range of shrubs and
herbaceous plants. Back up the coast we find Trerice, three miles from Newquay, which is a 6
acre garden but there is still space to find seclusion at any time of the year. The National Trust has
owned this garden since 1953.
Finally, we cross the water and arrive on the beautiful Isles of Scilly and then head for the Abbey
Gardens on Tresco. This amazing sub-tropical garden is home to species of plants and trees from
80 countries ranging from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa. The building of tall
windbreaks ensures any inclement weather is forced up and over the walled enclosure. The
terraces at the top are hotter and drier than the ones below which give more humidity. In 1990
hurricane force winds created dreadful damage to the shelter belts and the loss of many plants but
the shelter belts and garden are now restored and looking 'better than ever'. This is one that you
should not miss.
Many Cornish gardens belong to the National Gardens Scheme who publishes The Yellow Book
each year which is a guide or 'bible' to garden visiting. Most of these gardens are privately owned
and only open on specific days.
Lots of our gardens have tremendous interest in the Autumn such as Ellis Gardens at Polyphant,
Wave Cottage at Lerryn, Half Acre at Boscastle, Primrose Farm at Skinners Bottom and Kennall
House at Ponsanooth. The Homestead close to Helston is 7.5 acres and has a Wildflower Wood
with over 1000 trees and a further 800 trees for a shelter and wildlife habitat.
There are of course many more gardens in Cornwall, many of them small but beautiful and a lot of
our gardens are Dog Friendly. So don't leave part of the family at home, bring them along as well.
It would be wise to check first with the garden you are intending to visit just to make sure that it is
'dog friendly'. Some of our Cornish gardens are more accessible than others so again if part of
your group is less agile check with the garden to make sure you will enjoy your visit.
For more information on our Cornish Gardens most of them have their own website which will give
you opening days and times, how to get there, what facilities are available and ticket costs.
I was born into the Cornish farming world, my Dad was a farmer and his Dad before him. My early
childhood was spent following my Mum around the farm doing all the chores that went with being a
farmers wife. From milking our cows and collecting eggs, to making Cornish cream from the fresh
milk, this was all part of my life. As was picking fruit, digging potatoes and cutting broccoli. At
harvest time I would accompany Mum up to the thrashing machine to give the men their lunch and
crib, which is what a mid morning snack is called in Cornwall!
At the age of 18 I married Chris a local Garage owner whom I am still married to today. During our
married life I have been involved in a Sea Rescue Club and showing our German Shepherd Dogs
at dog shows all over the country. As well as running our own Petrol Filling Station and Village
Shop we also opened the Asalt & Battery, a fast food fish and chip takeaway where I spent many
a "Happy" time preparing and frying fish and chips.
Now I am running our website http://www.cornwall4u.com which is a Holiday Accommodation
Directory for Cornwall and with over 250 properties of all types it takes a lot of my time, but I do