Garden Portrait: Coleton Fishacre

Welcome to Coleton Fishacre in south Devon, a gorgeous Art Deco style house and a beautiful valley garden that leads you to a coastal viewpoint. The house was built in the 1920s and the country home of the D’Oyly Carte family (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame). A 30 acre garden surrounds the house and the National Trust are recreating it as it once would have been with the help of photographs and planting books kept by the family.

There are many steep steps in the garden and slopes especially at the bottom, so it can be quite a challenging garden to walk around. Due to the high humidity created by the sea and the stream that runs through the valley many exotic plants thrive here under the canopy of the trees.

Paths lead from the house down the valley and on either side, with many smaller paths, slopes, steps meandering through the slopes. One minute you can be in a typical English woodland scene with bluebells and ransoms,

the next in an exotic jungle with Chilean Firetrees, Banana plants and Dracaenae.

Plants from South America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia rub noses with English cottage garden plants; Azaleas and Rhododendrons hide behind tall stands of bamboo; Magnolias flirt with Chilean Myrtles. Someone here had fun choosing the planting, it is colourful and eclectic and lush.  You never know quite what lies ahead.

And from the delightful Gazebo, which can be reached via a lawned-path, you get a wonderful glimpse of the sea.

The gardens have a lovely courtyard tea room which serve lunches as well as cakes, a National Trust shop and an interesting range of plants for sale too. The route to the gardens is along a narrow road for the latter part, but this is only for a short distance and there are passing places. Quite often coaches arrive for lunch-time so if you want a quieter visit then choose earlier in the morning or late afternoon. Or do as we did and stay in one of the cottages so you can visit the garden at any time you like.



32 Comments Add yours

  1. restlessjo says:

    My kind of garden, Jude! A small paradise 🙂 🙂 What is a ransom please? (showing my ignorance, again 🙂 ) I’m going back for a closer look. Many thanks for the link and happy Wednesday!

    1. Arkenaten says:

      Allium ursinum: Wild garlic …. I think?

      1. restlessjo says:

        Cheers, Ark! 🙂

        1. Arkenaten says:

          Pleasure. Several neighbours grow it outside on the municipal verge along my jogging route which is why it looked familiar. It does pong, I’ll tell you that! 😉

        2. restlessjo says:

          I think we have some growing wild at the foot of our garden, Ark. I guess the birds brought it because I didn’t. 🙂 I just didn’t recognise the name.

    2. Heyjude says:

      Ark’s correct. The wild garlic has wide leaves and starry flowers. We seem to get more of the three-cornered-leeks here in Cornwall which look like white bluebells (Allium triquetrum). Both are edible. Both spread like crazy…

  2. BeckyB says:

    Stunning. absolutely stunning.

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is rather pretty 🙂

  3. Oh Jude, how beautiful and what a lovely treat to stay there in a cottage. I love how the garden beds are so full. It’s gorgeous.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Yes, the cottage was very nice and quiet. A bit further from the garden than I would have preferred. We stayed in one in Wales that we could walk straight out of the cottage into the garden and used to walk in it every evening. This one had quite a climb back home!

      1. A good uphill walk is the perfect excuse to have cake every afternoon.

        1. Heyjude says:

          Haha.. I like your thinking 😀

  4. RuthsArc says:

    Thanks for sharing this delightful garden 🙂

  5. Arkenaten says:

    Does it come with a platoon of gardeners? 🙂
    Gorgeous. Who would not want to live here?

    1. Heyjude says:

      Most NT gardens run with a platoon of volunteers!

  6. Joanne Sisco says:

    This is one of those places that is so full and lush, it would be hard to know exactly where to focus. As Arkenaten said, it must take a small army of gardeners to care for all of this!!
    I like that big stone mushroom rising out of the plants.

    1. Heyjude says:

      The big mushroom is actually a Staddle (Steddle) stone and they were used as supporting bases for sheds and granaries etc. to protect grain from vermin and the wet. You find them in lots of country house gardens and I love them!

      1. Joanne Sisco says:

        Interesting! I’ve never heard of them before. Always learning something new 🙂

  7. Colline says:

    What a stunning garden! One could spend hours in there.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Indeed. Several hours, over several days and I imagine several seasons too!!

      1. Colline says:

        I would definitely go back to see what the gardens look like in different seasons.

  8. Sue says:

    Oh, lovely photos of an enchanting place, Jude…..I recall the parentals talking about this place, I may even have been

    1. Heyjude says:

      Not one I have visited before. But worth while, there is a lot going on and it is in a very pleasant part of the country.

  9. Anabel Marsh says:

    Ooh, that’s very lovely!

  10. Gorgeous garden, Jude, and your photos are wonderful!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Lynn. If only my garden looked like this one! But then I would need rather a few gardeners to help look after it 🙂

  11. Sue Slaght says:

    Such a stunning walk. I’m sure it’s not the proper term but the Bleeding Hearts sent my childhood memories tumbling. Still smiling at the sight of them.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I love ‘bleeding hearts’ they are so delicate looking, and so difficult to get a close-up of! Mine hasn’t had a single flower this year though – time to find it a more permanent place in the garden.

  12. Just discovered your great site. I used to holiday in S. Devon many times but never visited this garden. Sadly, now I’m unable to visit gardens and have to be content with reading about them. I will be returning to your blog to enjoy your own visits to these lovely places. Thank you.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks for visiting the site and leaving a lovely comment and I hope you will be back as I have written about lots of beautiful gardens and hope to visit many more.

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