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Spring Time in Cornwall

March 18, 2016 1 Comment

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People don’t realise quite how early spring starts in Cornwall. To be honest, Cornish holiday Cottages had no idea quite how early the spring starts either. Apparently it’s been spring in this fair county since Wednesday 10th February this year. Who knew?
Well, the good folk at the Great Gardens of Cornwall knew. Each year they measure the coming of spring through the flowering of the Magnolia campbellii champion trees, which are found in several Cornish gardens and are spring’s early bloomers. They’re not just any Magnolias. There are seven specific trees from seven different gardens around the county.

Spring in Cornwall is officially announced once all seven of the Champion Magnolia campbellii trees have at least 50 blooms. These seven trees are spread out across Cornwall and can be found at Caerhays Castle, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah Gardens, Tregothnan, Trengwainton Garden, Trewidden Garden and Trewithen.

This is the fifth year spring has been declared in this way for Cornwall, and this year it has been officially recognised as an indicator for spring nationally. The group even presented Downing Street with a bouquet from one of the seven trees.
Great Gardens of Cornwall chairman, Charles Williams, weighed in: “Cornwall’s magnolias are multi-prize winning and truly stunning. This year the magnolias are particularly early and they are a sight not to be missed. We encourage all those interested in seeing Gardens in full bloom to come down and see the great Gardens of Cornwall,”

The drive

The drive

It’s a surprisingly early start to spring, but Cornwall’s nature is known to spring into life a full month before the rest of the country.
The drive into Mawnan Smith and the Cornish Holiday Cottages offices is currently lined with a parade of Daffodils. That’s one of our first signs of spring. But down at Glendurgan and Trebah Gardens fresh leaves are adorning the trees and solitary birdsongs are already transforming themselves into a cacophonous dawn chorus. Spring truly in the air now is a great time to visit these sub-tropical paradises brimming with bulbs, herbaceous, grasses, shrubs and exotic plants.

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We can’t talk about spring in Cornwall though, without talking about Enys Gardens. Each year the site bursts with a profusion of bluebells adorning forest floors. It’s an event not to be missed. They start sprouting at the end of April, but they’re beauty is short lived and they are usually gone again by mid-May. It’s a fleeting visit. Enys’s bluebell festival begins on the 29th April and ends on the 8th May.

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The gardens and historic houses dotted around Cornwall are beautiful. There is simply no better time to visit than in spring. Whether you find yourself in an independently owned garden or a large National trust Estate, you’ll find everything from traditional vegetable patches and knot gardens, to huge rolling meadows, ancient woodlands and riverside paths.

Cornish Days Out: Trelissick Gardens [Feock, Truro]

October 20, 2015 No Comments

 

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The grounds of Trelissick Gardens will be familiar to those of you who have moseyed up the river Fal while staying with Cornish Holiday Cottages. The vast grounds of the estate arch their way down into the valley, dipping their toes into the water next to The King Harry Ferry. Trelissick house stands proud at the top of the headland.

Since last summer, and for the first time in Trelissick’s history, the historic house has been opened up to the public. A 17th Century manor house, peeking inside is an eye opening look into a house in transition. Whilst there are beautiful inlays, antiques galore and historic china decorated with rhododendrons, it is a house that has been, and is still lived in by the Copeland family. For those wishing to delve into the history of the estate there are knowledgeable volunteers on hand who are keen to tell you about the family and the house. As we enter we are told of their famous Spode China business and how the flowers from the gardens were used as patterns for their products.

After wandering through the house we exist through a high ceiling, art-deco conservatory, facing the river. It’s the sort of room you can imagine whiling away lazy summer afternoons in.

Entering the grounds themselves, the first thing to welcome us is a small, multi-sensory garden loaded with herby scents and smells. It’s a perfect hands on introduction and you are positively encouraged get tactile with the plants. We leave with the almondy vanilla smells of clemantis flammula clinging sweetly to our fingers.

The gardens are packed with azaras and photinias and over 350 hydrangeas – many planted before World War II. The meandering pathways are bordered by a mixture of exotic palms and shade giving trees and vegetation designed to give interest all year round. If you venture over a curving wooden bridge you will find a dominating cryptomeria japonica that was planted in 1898.

A cornucopia of apples greet us in the orchard. It’s a quite peaceful place and possibly my favourite part of the gardens. In the corner sits an ancient apple press, 6th wide. The orchard is home to more than 70 varieties of apple, including Pig’s Noses and Chacewater Longstems and they are ripe for the picking, some having already dropped to the ground.

At the beginning of October, Trelissick will be having a whole weekend dedicated to those apples. There will be info on a range of appley subjects and the ancient press will be in action! So there’s a good chance you could sample some of this year’s fresh apple juice.

Being a National Trust property you initially pay for parking and there are some fantastic woodland walks in the area that are perfect for dogs and family adventuring, if you don’t want to pay for the gardens themselves.

We definitely recommend their café. The home-cooked food changes seasonally and is good value for money: their sausage and bean stew is definitely a lunch time winner. Dogs are welcome with water bowls positioned next to almost every table.

 

 

 

Bluebell Festival at Enys Garden

April 11, 2015 No Comments

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Searching out fields of bluebells used to be a yearly activity in my family. In preparation for Helston’s Flora Day, we’d venture into the woods of the Penrose Estate to pick bunches of the wild flower in order to decorate the town. Coming across small forest glades with nothing but the company of birds and the sway of the breeze was always a pleasure; the tiny blue heads of the bells would stand, sparkling animations amidst the undergrowth.

Enys Garden, just outside Penryn, is renowned for its own Bluebell Festival and is probably one of the best places in the county, or even the country to see these beautiful and fragile flowers.

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Within the 30 acre gardens lie the open meadow known as Parc Lye, where the spring show of bluebells is breath taking, as well as ponds, where the waterwheel can be found; the flower garden, which is gradually being restored to its former glory; a New Zealand garden, which reflects J.D. Enys’s plant hunting interests, and many woodland areas, which show different types of planting including many remarkable trees.

According to the National Trust, bluebells, which require light and warmth coming into the forest floor to trigger growth, are normally at their height around late April or early May.

But it’s worth noting that due to recent mild winters, the bluebell season has started peaking early – sometimes even early April.

The common bluebell or Hyacinthoides non-scripta as it is less commonly known, grows from a bulb and is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Since 1998 it has been illegal to pick bluebells, with a triple figure fine for the picking of a single bulb.

The sweeping meadow of Parc Lye is carpeted with the tiny flowers, tossing their heads in the breeze. But it is not the only draw of the Gardens. Reputed to be Cornwall’s oldest garden, around 500 years old, there’s much to explore and photographers will have no problem whiling away hours here: each year the national press have a field day at Enys during the festival.

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Enys itself (the house) is being restored and lots of work has been done, including the removal of many rotten timbers. The model farm buildings and stable block are used to house a history room which has information about Enys, the gardens and the Enys family. These are is being extensively reorganised and is a work in progress.

Outside the festival access to Enys is limited to a few afternoons a week, but during the bluebell festival the garden is open all week.

 

Festival Opening Times
Saturday 2nd – Sunday 10th May.

During Bluebell festival week, Enys is open from 11am, last entry 4.30pm.

Admission
Adults: £5, Children 6-16: £2, Seniors: £4, Students: £2, Children under 5 free.
Dogs on leads are welcome in the gardens.

Getting there

From Bosinver, take the A390 to Truro and then the A39 (towards Falmouth). Once you pass the Norway Inn (on your right hand side) take the second left turn, signposted to Flushing, Restronguet and Mylor, and then the first right (look out for the sign for Enys Gardens). Carry straight on for just over a mile until you reach Enys Lodge and the entrance to the gardens. It will take approximately 40 minutes to get to Enys from Bosinver.The Enys Trust, St Gluvias, Penryn TR10 9LB
T: 01326 259885

 

Magnolias and Camellias

December 23, 2014 No Comments

Magnolias and Camellias are some of spring’s most glamorous beauties. With goblet or star-shaped flowers in colours ranging from pure white to deepest purple, many magnolias fill the chill spring air with gorgeous scent and Camellias, with their lotus like spiralling petals fill the garden with an exotic beauty.

Flowering from January onwards these plants are just some of the reasons to be booked in with Cornwall Cottage Holidays this spring. With so many beautiful gardens around the area, you could spend a whole week indulging your flower child.

Trelissick Gardens are cultivating Magnolia Stellata. With its lovely, lightly scented, white starry flowers, it’s a plant that looks stunning in full-bloom covering the bare branches before the leaves emerge. You’ll find many more magnolias and a whole garden bursting with spring delights.

The Trelissick website says it best itself: ‘Trelissick is a garden and estate of tranquil beauty with panoramic views down the Carrick Roads. Famed for its tender and exotic plants and shrubs it is a plantsman’s delight. The gardens feature walks through 500 acres of parkland and riverside woods.’

IMG_7646-3Trebah Gardens is home to a whole rhododendron valley that takes centre stage throughout spring. Towards Easter, the whole valley becomes a sea of rhododendrons. With its own variant in the pink blossoming Trebah Gem and hundreds of other varieties, you can understand why locals from villages like Mawnan Smith have been taking spring walks in the gardens for over a hundred years. The gardens are also home to the Himalayan tree rhododendrons, with varieties such as the magnificent Glory of Penjerrick, a plant with impossibly deep pink flowers, to the pale, lily-like flowers of the delicate Indian R. nuttallii.

For a more in depth look at what to expect from Trebah throughout the year go to this webpage.

Our next spring haven is the famous Lost Garden of Heligan. With more than two centuries of horticultural history, Heligan’s enchanting gardens and estate offer over 200 acres for your discovery. Home to a National Collection of ‘Rhododendrons & Camellias’, the UK’S largest rhododendron and the largest collection of Tree Ferns, The Lost Gardens is brimming with plantings to inspire and amaze.

Back towards the Helford and Mawnan Smith, April and May are great times to visit Glendurgan’s large, sheltered garden. We currently have a soft spot for this garden as friends recently got engaged in the centre of the 180-year-old maze. The shrubs range in colour from delicate lemon yellow to vivid magenta, and the valley setting shows them off to best advantage. There are rhododendrons and bluebells galore come springtime.

Cornish Gardens in Spring

February 19, 2014 No Comments

 

Spring is when the gardens in Cornwall are at their best. People flock to see the beautiful rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and magnolia all in bloom, and they are a spectacular sight!

 

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Trebah Garden

Just on the outskirts of Falmouth in the village of Mawnan Smith, Trebah has its own private beach on the Helford River, the wonderful Planters Café, beautiful gardens and a great gift shop. With fun for all the family the different walks around the garden can keep you busy for hours.

Nearest Cottages:

The Haven

Selangor

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Glendurgan Garden (National Trust)

Leading down through beautiful gardens with a brilliant maze into the hamlet of Durgan. Glendurgan is a National Trust garden and has a wonderful open air café.

Nearest Cottages:

Rose Cottages

Chy-an-Dour

trelissick

Trelissick Garden (National Trust)

On the River Fal with stunning views out towards Mylor Harbour and the sea, Trelissick has plenty to keep you occupied for a day out! With an art gallery selling local work, a second hand bookshop with some hidden gems, and that’s not even mentioning the garden.

Nearest Cottages:

Creek House

Trolver

Carrick Treath

ENYS GARDENS

Enys Garden

Known locally for its stunning displays of bluebells, Enys Gardens is found near Mylor and Penryn.

Nearest Cottages:

Acorn Cottage

Trehovel

Cavinack Cottage

 

A little further away

Eden Project

One of the UK’s biggest attractions and it’s down here in Cornwall! About a 45 min drive from our cottages with the three iconic biomes, a brilliant café, shop and restaurant. A must see for many when visiting the area.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Also about a 45 min drive from our cottages but with 200 acres of beautiful gardens to explore it’s worth the drive. An incredible garden that was lost and has been brought back to life.