Words by Lydia Paleschi
With the arrival of the sun, the world feels vibrant and full of beauty once again. Long days spent outdoors with the reward of sun kissed skin have been welcomed with open arms and it feels like a breath of fresh air to be able to make the most of what Cornwall has to offer. With summer around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of the things we’d like to do and the places we’d like to visit with the coming of the new season. For many of us, this includes a selection of Cornwall’s summer gardens.
With over 40 glorious gardens to visit within the county, it can be a hard choice to pick between them. However, I have some firm favourites, which I’d like to share with you in no particular order.
Source: The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Shrouded in mystery and romanticism, Heligan is a restoration of a once-lost Victorian estate and gardens. Today, it consists of the Productive Gardens, Pleasure Grounds and Jungle. The Productive gardens are cultivated throughout the year, and include over 300 varieties of heritage fruits, vegetables, salads and herbs. The Jungle capitalises on Cornwall’s temperate shores, with a wide range of exciting and interesting exotic plants and lush foliage. My personal favourite are the Pleasure Grounds, which were inspired by the Romanticism period and are home to a varied and colourful range of species, including camellias, rhododendrons and a mediterranean inspired Italian garden.
Source: National Trust
Owned by the National Trust, Trelissick Garden sits within a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty. Like Heligan, it is inspired by the Romanticism period, but with the addition of stunning views of the Carrick Roads Estuary. Trelissick is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll with dogs and at the bottom of the estate a small beach is a pleasant spot to sit a while and rest. Including open parkland and woodland walks, you can strike the right balance between soaking up the sun's rays and finding respite from the heat amongst the shade of the trees. For this reason, I like to visit on the warmest of summer days or when there’s a drizzle in the air so that I can spend time outdoors whilst also seeking shelter from the elements.
Source: The Japanese Garden
The Japanese Garden
Often overlooked in other lists of Cornish gardens, the Japanese Gardens are the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing couple of hours. Built as a meditative space, during the summer months the sense of calm and peacefulness is accompanied by blooming azaleas, Japanese maples and a rich variety of flowers and foliage. An impressive 100 species of maple grow here, each with varying leaf shapes, sizes and colours. Despite being only an acre in size, there are multiple viewpoints, a waterfall, a koi pond and a water garden. The clever arrangement of pathways and visual features are designed to encourage contemplation and to cultivate a feeling of zen.
Source: National Trust
Lanhydrock House and Gardens
A quintessential country house and estate, Lanhydrock’s gardens include a year round splash of colour. Including beautiful herbaceous borders and colourful higher gardens filled with camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons there’s plenty to see. In particular, I love the parterre, which adds an element of fun formality to the place. The beginning of summer is the best time to visit, when the azaleas and magnolia are still in bloom. If you fancy exploring beyond the gardens, the estate includes ancient woodlands, pathways which follow trickling rivers and even off-road cycle trails. A top choice for those with children.
Source: Trebah Garden