IMG_6879Quite a contrast with the previous Cornish garden visit to Glendurgan, Trelissick (yes another ‘tre’) was all about late summer colour. A mixture of woodland planting and smaller borders and walled gardens full of herbaceous perennials (including some beautiful exotics), this is another wonderful coastal garden in the damp and mild south west, between Falmouth and Truro.

This ‘Technicolour’ treat was a wonderful last garden visit on our summer trip to Cornwall, though we managed one more garden (Devonian this time) before heading back home. Here are some close-ups of the variety of blooms on show when we visited Trelissick towards the end of August.

I was most impressed with the overflowing border nestling towards the bottom of the grass – lined valley close to the entrance. A billowing display of colourful masses of flowers and foliage, the Cotinus coggygria (I think it might have been the variety ‘Grace’) looking especially vivid as a low sun caught its large leaves of reds – purples. Here is a gallery to show you what I mean.

The Fal valley with smaller creeks and inlets branching off on either side is reached via wooded slopes with oaks and beeches overhanging the mudflats of the tidal creeks. The King Harry Ferry below Trelissick is the only connection across the water to the Roseland peninsular on the other side of the estuary.

In about 1750 a modest two-storey villa was built at Trelissick on the foundations of an earlier building. This house was remodelled in 1825 by Peter Frederick Robinson who added the columned portico which rises to the height of the south front. Robinson’s patron was Thomas Daniell whose father had bought the estate in 1800 with the fortune he inherited from tin-mining interests. Thomas Daniell planted much of the woodland along the shores of the estuary and the carriage drives he laid out in the park are now shady woodland walks. Between 1844 and 1913 the estate was owned by the Gilbert family who made great improvements to the grounds. They planted ornamental woodlands and some of the huge holm oaks and conifers in the garden. The wonderful garden seen today was largely created by Mr and Mrs Ronald Copeland after Mrs Copeland inherited Trelissick in 1937.

This has been in the ownership of the National Trust since 1955 when it was donated by Ida Copeland  following the death of her son Geoffrey. Many of the species that flourish in the mild Cornish air, including the rhododendrons and azaleas (such a feature of the garden, but not in bloom when we visited), were planted by the Copelands including hydrangeas and camellias, flowering cherries, and exotics such as the Ginkgo and various species of palm. They also ensured that the blossoms they nurtured had a wider, if unknowing audience. Ronald Copeland was chairman and later managing director of his family’s business, the Spode china factory, and flowers grown at Trelissick were used as models for those painted on the pottery produced at the works.

The garden is noted for its rare shrubs (it holds the national collections of Photinias and Azaras) and features a large park, woodland walks, views over the Fal estuary and Falmouth – there are ‘peep hole’ glimpses of water punching through the sloping woodland canopy that surrounds the extensive park path system.  After a pleasant afternoon break in the courtyard restaurant (though we were joined by some cream tea loving wasps) we took a leisurely drive onward to re-enter Devon on our way back to East Anglia.

Here are some images of this wider, parkland setting, which,along with the rest of the place, is kept in tip-top condition, a credit to the garden team.

Sources: Wikipedia and Tour UK

Further information: National Trust website

Why not take a look at my other articles on West Country Gardens – click on the ‘category’ on the right

Old School Gardener