Houses & gardens

Peace and tranquility…

Cornwall’s spectacular Eden Project is fast becoming one of the Garden Wonders of the World. Yet beyond Eden, the whole of West Cornwall is the original garden paradise, where exotic palm trees, subtropical blooms and exquisite public and private gardens celebrate the kindest climate in Britain.

From Spring onwards the dramatic coastline of West Cornwall is covered with swathes of heady scented semi-wild narcissi and golden daffodils, fluffy pink windswept thrift, powder-blue quill, and snowy white campion. By early June, in woods and on cliff slopes, the ground is carpeted with bluebells, while roadside banks bloom with a riot of sweet, vivid wild flowers.

With nature being so generous, it’s no surprise to find that West Cornwall has a priceless legacy of ornamental gardens including those of Trengwainton and Trereife, that reflect the life’s work of Victorian and Edwardian estate owners, many of whom funded seed-collecting expeditions to the Himalayas, Burma and Assam. The result is a wealth of magnolias, aloes, camellias and rhododendrons, as well as numerous varieties of palm trees and rare flowers.

St Michael’s Mount, home of the St Aubyn Family, rises gracefully to the church and castle at its summit. With buildings dating from the 12th century and a unique maritime garden created in terraces just above the sea, this extraordinary place can be reached across the causeway at low tide or by a short boat trip at other times.

At the heart of St Ives are the immaculate Trewyn Gardens, while the town’s lanes and courtyards are awash with the hanging baskets and flower tubs that make St Ives a regular winner of the Britain in Bloom awards and Gold Award winner of Entente Florale 2005.

So whether you know your latin names or not, search for more details of the splendid Houses and Gardens of West Cornwall.