This week we squeezed in a visit to Trewidden garden – it is one of the great gardens of Cornwall and it is just outside of Penzance on the Land’s End Road. We found the established arboretum of rare trees gathered by plant hunter Edward Bolitho from habitats around the world, interlaced by a well maintained network of paths twisting and turning under the luscious canopy of green to be still a treat even “out of season” The combination of nature reclaiming the mining grounds from Cornwall’s industrial past links to the aspirations of previous generations are a heady mix to find the real flavour for the gardens of Cornwall.
Our summer visit to Trewidden Garden
We’ve often passed the entrance over the years and of course we would have loved to visit Trewidden Gardens in the spring earlier in the year, when it is at its peak – the Camellias, Azaleas and Magnolias are in flower then but that is a busy decorating time for our Bed and Breakfast. This year we were determined not to miss out upon visiting this garden though before it closes again in September.
So it was with a feeling of anticipation that we swung off the Land’s End road, down one of those impressive well maintained drive, lined with the plants that Cornwall loves so well, step by step deeper into the heart of the old estate.
Finding the paths
We stopped by the pretty tea rooms and a young lady gave us a full briefing and a few helpful pointers about walking the terrain and the small foibles of the route and we set off following the path deep under the tree canopy.
Charles strode in front bearing the map and instructions following the numbered route, while I ambled behind taking snaps – a tried and tested formula so that I don’t get lost. I did feel we should have had a dog though to enjoy the bliss of woodland paths and dapple light; contrasting bark of unknown (but carefully labelled) trees and the very scent of history.
Tree Ferns and other highlights
Charles had a gleam in his eye about the prospect of the glade of Tree Ferns – said to be one of the best in the Northern Hemisphere. I must say the twisting trunks and densely packed fronds was magnificent sight with an almost luminous green light filtering down to the woodland floor.
A few minutes late we spotted the gardeners at work and emboldened by their affable but diffident spaniel I shyly asked them how they recognised the seedling. I got a great tip “Feel the fronds” Mostly but not always, the Tree Fern seedlings will have a hard scratchier feel than the native ferns. Sadly later when I got home I examined our own burgeoning collect behind the stables and they all feel silky soft, so ours (two!) are yet to reproduce – still at least I now know how to recognise them!
Another highlight for us was the lower lawn and the summer flowering evergreen Chinese Magnolia Delavayi just coming into flower. I must say I cheated a little here and looked up the Head Gardeners blog before visiting!
Throughout the garden, pretty blue benches where thoughtfully placed for visitors to rest, to linger and soak up the unique atmosphere and also welcome as the garden stretches for fifteen acres!
The Great Gardens of Cornwall
There is a network of established Garden gems in Cornwall under the umbrella of the Great Gardens of Cornwall with the jewel in the crown of the stunning world famous gardens of Tresco, the lost gardens of Heligan and the great fantasy made real of the Eden project along with the rising stars of Tremenheere sculpture gardens. We found the Lamorran House Gardens inspiring when we started to lay out our Garden and we also returned to visit Trebah Garden so many times (which has the added advantage of a warm sheltered beach the bottom of the garden lovely even in November when we would have time to visit!) Bonython garden is another inspiring garden to visit with the vibrantly planted walled gardens opening up to two still lakes flanked with Cannas and grasses. So far Tregothnan, Tregrehan and Caerhays Castle Gardens have eluded our schedule but not for too much longer I’m sure
Top tip collect stamps on the Great garden Leaflet at the first garden that you visit and you will receive a discount on entries to subsequent gardens in the catalogue!
Visit Trewidden to………
………..to enjoy the specimen trees, the ponds the waterfall, the walled gardens all set in the sea of historic tranquillity that is Trewidden, a true Cornish Garden.