Having relatives in Cornwall we have been regular visitors over the years, seeing it at its worst in the depths of winter and at its best in spring when the lanes are full of spring flowers.
Each time we go we try to spend some time visiting gardens as well as walking on the moors. We like to seek out gardens that we have not seen before but also like to revisit old friends to see how they change throughout the seasons.
Cornish gardens are many and varied but could often be characterised by their rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias in the spring and massive blossoming hydrangeas in late summer. The climate certainly lends itself to growing more tender plants that may not be able to be grown ‘up country’. However, the wind does certainly blow in the winter months and for those that garden in this county a lot of effort is placed on creating effective wind breaks to protect plants.
Here are a selection of six gardens that we have enjoyed on our visits to Cornwall. As dog owners a key features has been that our four-legged friends can enjoy the visit with us.
One: Trebah Garden ( www.trebah-garden.co.uk )
I think this is probably one of our favourite gardens of recent times. A beautiful sub-tropical garden wending its way down the valley towards the sea. Excellent for dogs and most importantly a great restaurant for lunch!
Location: Mawnan Smith, Falmouth TR11 5JZ
Two: Pinsla Garden ( pinslagarden.net )
Compared to some of the other gardens listed here this is a relatively small garden but one that has enormous charm. Described as a ‘romantic artist’s garden’ it is full of interesting plants, sculptures and landscaping features around every corner.
Photo credit: https://www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk
Location: Glynn, Nr Cardinham, Bodmin PL30 4AY
Three: Pencarrow House and Gardens ( pencarrow.co.uk )
Situated on the edge of Bodmin Moor the very formal Italianate gardens of the Georgian mansion are very different from many of the other Cornish gardens listed in this six. The elegance of the garden fits the regency style beautifully and you can just imagine the well dressed visitors travelling up the valley to view the managed landscape garden.
Although many gardens now allow dogs on leads this is by far the most dog friendly garden and estate we have been to for a long time. Walking through the woodland on the estate off the lead was a real pleasure.
Location: Washaway, Bodmin PL30 3AG
Four: Ken-Caro Garden
An interesting garden with lily ponds and wonderful views across the valley towards Dartmoor. We visited in August but I suspect that like many Cornish gardens it would be worth visiting when the magnolias, azaleas and rhododendrons are at their best. Dogs on leads allowed.
Location: Bicton, St Ive, Nr Liskeard PL14 5RF
Five: The Lost Gardens of Heligan ( www.heligan.com )
This is one of Cornwall’s major tourist attractions and we had been rather reticent to go in case it was just too full of people. However, with over 200 acres of gardens and estate it just soaks up the people and we found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable visit with a mix of relaxed Cornish sub-tropical gardens and more formal fruit and vegetable gardens. Once again this garden is dog friendly.
Location: Pentewan, St.Austell PL26 6EN
Six: Pinetum Gardens (previously Pine Lodge) ( www.pinetumgardens.com )
This is a garden we have visited on numerous occasions over the years and it never fails to please. At different times of year it has very different things to offer. I can remember us being totally blown away with the white wisteria bridge when we first visited and on subsequent occasions have noticed the huge range of unusual plants that we had not noticed on previous visits. The Japanese garden is a real gem and more recently we have enjoyed watching the winter garden develop. Well worth a visit.
Location: Holmbush, St Austell PL25 3RQ