Cornwall's major gardens and estates come in all shapes and sizes. One of the largest, Tregothnan, near Truro is owned by the descendants of the original Earl Grey, and yes the estate does grow tea! These botanical gardens and tea plantation are only open to the public on certain weekends for charity, but you can book a private tour for £25 through their website.
There are many more beautiful gardens, however, that are open to the public daily and provide a wonderful opportunity for strolls among seasonal blooms and provide inspiration to take away and transplant to your own backyard, if you are so inclined.
The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Lost Gardens of Heligan are a romantic “Sleeping Beauty” fairytale come true. Neglected after World War I, the sheltered valley that was once planted with exotic ferns, bamboo and tender shrubs was left to grow wild until Tim Smit and a legion of volunteers had a vision in 1990 to restore them. It is now a huge attraction with Flora's Garden and lawns, a restored walled garden, greenhouses, melon pits, the Hidden Valley boardwalk and a long rural walk along the Ride to enjoy. Heligan is open year round for those visiting Cornwall in the off-peak season.
A great garden for a rainy day is the Eden Project as many of the plants grow in the giant biomes. It is also a fascinating place to take children and learn where rubber comes from, how cocoa and coffee are grown and what a rainforest looks like. There is storytelling, seed planting projects and, for those wanting something a little more adventurous, a new zipline ride.
Hidden Valley Garden
Less well known than its famous neighbours, the Hidden Valley Garden is well-named. It is a four-acre tranquil garden at Treesmill near Par and offers wonderful diversity with a Japanese Garden and a dedicated Iris Garden. It has been voted one of the best gardens in Cornwall by Visit Cornwall and is slowly being discovered by visitors in-the-know.
Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens
A new delight for green-fingered visitors to Cornwall is Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens near Penzance, and it will also delight art aficionados too. Located in a large valley, the sub-tropical gardens provide stunning views out to St Michael's Mount, which incidentally has some beautiful rock gardens on the walk up to the house. The art exhibits at Tremenheere are by top sculptors and artists including James Turrell, David Nash and Japanese artist Kishio Sugar.
For dramatic sea views, Chygurno is unbeatable with a tiered garden overlooking Lamorna Cove. After enjoying the delightful plantings of silver ferns and Canary Island foxgloves, enjoy a cream tea down at the cove. These gardens are currently only open on Wednesdays and Thursdays or by arrangement (01736 732153). You can combine this lovely garden with the larger, well-established Trebah Gardens in Mawnan Smith.
So there you have our list of the most glorious gardens in Cornwall. Have you been to any of them? If so what did you think of them? Are there any other gardens in the county that you think are of note? let us know your thoughts below.