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.

Garden Portrait: Trebah

Visiting Cornwall in springtime means that you must visit a garden or two. Cornwall gardens are magnificent in spring: Magnolias, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Camelias and lots of other plants to see. Spring comes early to Cornwall. It is judged that when seven champion trees at Trebah, Trengwainton, Trewidden, Caerhays, Heligan, Tregothnan and Trewithen burst into flower with 50 blooms that spring has arrived in England. This year it was recorded on 3rd March 2014. 

We visited in April when the sun was shining and the garden was looking lovely. We’d been to view a couple of houses in the area, so decided to drive down to have a lovely fish lunch at The Ferryboat at Helford’s Passage on the Helford River and then visit Trebah Gardens which are close by. Frenchman’s Creek of Daphne du Maurier fame is near here, and you can still catch a little ferry boat over to Helford and walk there.

DSCF5286

Important things first – LUNCH!

Come walk with me through Trebah a sub-tropical garden in south Cornwall near Falmouth:

DSCF5486

Immediately through the entrance you find yourself in the tropics with succulents, aloes, agaves lining the pathway.

Steps lead down to the water garden where cascades and rills and a series of pools are bordered by candelabra primulas and water irises, cabbage skunk, arum lilies and ferns, criss-crossed by a meandering path.

With views over rhododendron valley and lovely tree ferns.

DSCF5314

 

DSCF5446

Continuing through the garden along the Beach Path, you follow the stream and pass several pools and a bamboo maze, Bamboozle, where several different varieties and species can be found in one collection.

Gunnera – the large rhubarb plant – is starting to grow and there is a passage through the plants. At the moment the sun is in exactly the right position for the leaves to glow.

Gunnera glow 2

Passing the azalea bank and the hydrangea valley, which contains two acres of Mop-head’ Hydrangea macrophylla in Oxford and Cambridge blues (due to the acidic soil at Trebah), we finally reach Mallard pond with a sweet little footbridge and the stairs to the beach. Why the rush to the beach? Because here is Healey’s Boathouse selling Roskilly ice-cream and we only had five minutes to spare!

One ice-cream later, we returned through the gardens taking the upper path, Laurelane, from which you can climb up to Martino for a view over the Helford River and have a rest at Alice’s Seat – a reconstruction of the cob-walled and thatched open-fronted summerhouse originally known as Alice’s Retreat which was built for Alice Hext who purchased Trebah with her husband Charles in 1907.

DSCF5431

DSCF5425

DSCF5385

Returning to the Lawn Path, we found a seat to sit and enjoy the sunshine and the views over the garden. I hope you have enjoyed visiting Trebah too.

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