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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.

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.