Garden Portrait: Glendurgan

Cornish Red Rhododendron

Glendurgan Garden is a woodland garden which is ideal for a circular stroll through sheltered valleys down to Durgan beach on the Helford River in Cornwall. It has the usual spring planting that Cornish gardens are famous for – rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and magnolias along with many tree ferns and exotic shrub and tree species. Bought by Alfred Fox in 1823 he set about creating shelter-belts of native deciduous trees and Scots pines, Norway spruce and holm oak. The paths follow the contours of the valley between the towering trees and lush foliage.

Rough paths lead down the slopes and open sweeps of meadows provide a backdrop to the more dramatic planting. Wildflowers abound: primroses, bluebells, violets and native Lent lilies followed by columbines, campions and early purple orchids.

Magnolia stellata and upturned boat seat

Having descended into the lower portion of the garden, you exit over a cattle grid and enter the hamlet of Durgan, a true example of rural Cornwall. Mostly consisting of holiday lets, it is a lovely spot to rest for a while looking over the Helford River: a place to watch birds and boats, skim stones and build sandcastles.

Back through a kissing-gate on the other side you see the valley from the opposite side, passing by bamboos and myrtles, cherry blossom and lots of shades of green.

This lush valley of woods and meadows has one last surprise for you. An asymmetrical cherry laurel maze laid out on the west-facing slope. It was created by Alfred Fox in 1833 and the entrance and exit routes are 1.2 km in length. It once contained a thatched summerhouse in the centre, but on this latest visit it was no longer there.

intricate

A garden to enjoy at any time of the year, but especially in spring, it is full of natural beauty and offers lots of fun for the children (or child within yourself).

More lovely walks can be found over at my friend Jo’s place.