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Bosvigo Gardens – Cornwall’s best kept secret

Bosvigo Gardens in Truro began as the personal dream of artist Wendy Perry and her husband Michael, with their lovely 17th century farmhouse as a backdrop.
Have you noticed how some of the loveliest pictures are actually paintings of gardens? That’s probably because artists have a certain “artistic licence” to enhance colours and tweak the setting in a way that reality cannot! Imagine then, visiting a garden created by an artist – a garden designed to be full of summer colour. Owner and artist Wendy Perry, and her husband Michael, set out to do just that when they bought in 1969.

Located on the outskirts of , Bosvigo Gardens are open from March through September on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. But oh! what a show of colour is in store if you visit in midsummer.

An artist’s eye for colour

has to be one of my all-time favourite gardens. It is like wandering around the garden of a friend rather than visiting some of the larger and more organized gardens in Cornwall, of which there are many. Bosvigo Gardens are deliberately informal and gloriously designed to showcase nature’s hot summer vibrancy at its very best. Meandering pathways take the eye through a riot of clumped colour, rising in tiers on either side.

In August, when I visited, it was a beautiful display of British perennials – think bright orange crocosmias, hot red poppies and golden solidago contrasting with the dark burgundy foliage of jewel-coloured dahlias. Tall clumps of cardinal red lobelia stand above lush green leaves of various hostas. Take a seat on the wooden bench and admire the sunny open faces and shuttlecock-like centres of many different varieties of helleniums which add to the fiery glow of this “hot” garden.

With the same artist’s eye for balance and harmony, Wendy has created a second garden, known as “The Vean”. This more symmetrical garden has beds of mainly green – with odd white and yellow flowers thrown in to add a few highlights to the amazing variety of emerald, pine, olive and yellow-green foliage of these carefully chosen plantings.

More gardens at Bosvigo

More greenery can be enjoyed as you head around the back of the house to the cobbled courtyard gardens. Here, in quiet shade Wendy has planted ferns, hostas and speckled pulmonarias with clipped box topiaries in pots to add height and form to the various gardens. Best of all, most of these plants can be purchased so you can take them back to your own gardens and recreate another mini Bosvigo.

Move on into the Walled Garden which came about when a wing of the old house was demolished leaving just the lovely hundred-year-old conservatory with its raised beds filled with semi-tender exotics. One end of the conservatory looks out into the walled garden, planted in restful shades of lilac, purple and pink from the artist’s palette. Roses, campanulas, geraniums and asters are the main plantings around the lush green lawn.

Raise funds for charity on Hellebore Day!

Finally, give your eyes a break and wander through the restful Woodland Garden with its established beech and sycamore trees shading a variety of shade-loving shrubs I cannot even begin to identify!

Bosvigo has become well known for its Hellebore collection and each year hosts , a special event each February to raise funds for international disaster charity . Having lost her daughter in the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004, this cause is very dear to Wendy’s heart.

Tours of Bosvigo House are currently only available by pre-arrangement with Wendy. However, you may have already seen inside. It has been used several times as a set for filming including a TV series about .

Have you been lucky enough to discover Bosvigo Gardens? What memories do you have of your visit? Do you know of other gardens in Cornwall you would recommend for summer colour? Do share your tips in the comments box below.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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