Thursday, 3 March 2011

More stunning springtime gardens...

Cotehele estate near Saltash makes the most of a scenic sheltered spot - albeit 1,289 acres big - on the west bank of the river Tamar. The 15th century house with its historical garden and woodland has inspired artists, keen gardeners and wildlife enthusiasts throughout the centuries. The formal gardens outside the main house overlook a valley garden with a medieval dovecote, pond, Victorian summerhouse and 18th century tower. The estate is dotted with interesting historical buildings including Cotehele Mill, Cotehele Quay, the Chapel in the Wood, the ruins of Danescombe's Sawmill and Papermill and the mines of Danescombe Valley. Being so close to the Devon border, you can praise the floral assets of both counties with a stay at this unique converted chapel.

A spring ramble through Burncoose Gardens and Nursery, part of the Caerhays Estate in Redruth, is a great opportunity to see this hilltop horticultural hotspot covered with snowdrops, primroses and wild violets, and later the daffodils and blankets of nodding bluebells. Like Lanhydrock, Burncoose works wonders with the cooler version of Cornwall's microclimate and has gold medals from Chelsea, Hampton Court and many other nationwide flower shows. Its sprawling woodland gardens and old flower garden are rich with the likes of camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons, as well as over 20 species of bamboo. When you've ticked those off your checklist, compile another one in the tranquil wooded gardens of this homely apartment in St Agnes.

The Japanese Garden and Bonsai Nursery takes the bamboo theme and elaborates, bringing authentic Eastern gardening styles and exotic varieties to the West Country.
Japanese maples, azaleas and rhododendrons and ornamental grasses make this a little slice (one-and-a-half acres) of Japan, just outside Newquay. Add to that the specialist Bonsai store and you can take a piece of Japanese horticulture home with you. This all-Cornish cottage at Mawgan Porth is the ideal place to ‘zen out’ afterwards.

Glendurgan Garden near Falmouth is listed by the National Trust as one of its top springtime gardens, and we agree. Described as a little bit of heaven on earth, this sub-tropical valley garden blooms with magnolias, wild flowers and woodland flora. You can wander through the garden down to the beautiful hamlet of Durgan on the Helford River. You can walk back to this comfy holiday home and enjoy the lovely, long rural views.

There are over 60 amazing gardens in Cornwall to visit, so you’re sure to find one or more within easy reach of your holiday cottage in Cornwall.

We've focused on Cornwall here but there are, of course, many beautiful gardens in Devon too which have glorious springtime displays, like Killerton, Coleton Fishacre and RHS Garden Rosemoor.

Which are your favourites?