Another one of the ‘Tre’s’  or ‘place’ in Cornish. Trengwainton was one of those west country gardens I visited during my summer holiday in West Cornwall and Devon. The estate and gardens are huge and richly varied, so I’ll devote this article and pictures to the wider estate and gardens along with some general background. A following post will focus on the fascinating walled garden.

Trengwainton, located  in Madron, near Penzance, has been in the ownership of the National Trust since 1961. The garden is noted for its collection of exotic trees and shrubs as well as great views over Mount’s Bay and The Lizard peninsular. A house has stood here since at least the 16th century and was altered and extended in the 18th and 19th centuries (it’s now a listed building).

In 1814 the estate was bought by Rose Price, the son of a Jamaican sugar plantation owner. Trengwainton was sold following the loss of income resulting from the 1833 Emancipation Act (which freed slaves on the family’s Worthy Estate in Jamaica). In 1867 the property was bought by T S Bolitho whose family still live in Trengwainton House. Rose Price planted trees and built the walled gardens and in 1925 Sir Edward Bolitho and his head gardener Alfred Creek continued the development of the gardens. They were opened to the public, for the first time, in 1931. The Victoria Medal of Honour for Horticulture was awarded by the Royal Horticultural Society to Sir Edward in 1961 and in the same year he donated 98 acres to the National Trust.

The day of our visit was sunny and warm. The walk around the gardens was a delight. Exotic plantations (many created during the 1920’s craze for exotic, new plants), give way to a long, winding, uphill approach to the House, which is lined with meandering footpaths and dells with running water, masses of different hydrangeas in bloom, all under the dappled shade cast by many and varied trees. This opens out to a large lawn in front of the House and beyond this to a pretty elevated walk lined with Agapanthus and twin focal – point pavilions. This area affords spectacular views of the coastline – and is obviously also a good spot to learn kite flying!

The estate is famous for its spring show of Camellias and Azaleas. The late summer show from the Hydrangeas, Agapanthus, Fuchsias, ferns and exotics, was very impressive – I must return in the spring to compare! As part of its campaign to get children to do ’50 things before you’re 11 3/4′ there was an invitation to create some ‘Wild Art’ (I couldn’t resist) as well as the kite flying and other adventures – a great idea.

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Sources and further information:

National Trust website


Old School Gardener

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