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Cornwall’s secret gardens

Featured image courtesy of Pine Lodge Gardens At Pinetum Park.

Almost as famous as its coastline are Cornwall’s many beautiful gardens. We’ve no doubt you’ve heard of the tropical biomes of the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan, but what about some of these lesser-known gems? All offer inspirational planting and landscaping for grown-ups to enjoy and between them hide and seek opportunities, lakes and wildlife for small people to engage with.

Pine Lodge Gardens at Pinetum Park, St Austell (featured image)
Open 10am to 5pm except 24th, 25th and 26th December
You’ll find lots of water features and shrubberies, a formal garden and cottage garden, an arboretum and a pinetum (that’s an arboretum planted entirely of pines in the shape of an amphitheatre), a Japanese garden, a lake complete with black swans and a three-acre winter garden. Pinetum Park is packed with rare and beautiful plants and is as inspiring and beautiful in winter as in summer.

Japanese Garden & Bonsai Nursery, St Mawgan
Open 10am – 6pm in Summer and 10am – 5.30pm in Winter Except Christmas Day to New Year.
This garden is just down the road from us and well worth a visit. With its formal lines and carefully composed vistas, the Japanese Garden provides an interesting contrast to its surroundings – St Mawgan’s north coast rugged and higgledy-piggledy hedgerow beauty. There are Water Gardens and a Stroll Garden to enjoy, and a Zen Garden to contemplate.

Marsh Villa Gardens, Par
1st April to 30th September, on every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10am – 6pm
When the present owners took over Marsh Villa in 1985, it was little more than a badly drained meadow capable of sustaining just a few livestock. But by 1988, a slow planting programme was underway the site has now matured into a magical 3-acre water and woodland garden. The result is a series of garden ‘rooms’, each with its own distinct character and atmosphere. The long narrow valley in which the garden lies was, in the 18th century, a tidal creek, and the setting for Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, The House on the Strand. You’ll see some of some of Cornwall’s most colourful trees here, including the late-flowering hoheria, the paulownia and the parrotia.

Headland Garden, Fowey
Open Thursday from 2pm-6pm from May to August
This seaside garden has seats tucked away in rocky crevices and an enticing stairway that descends to a sandy cove where you could swim, if you’re feeling brave or brought your wetsuits! Monteray Pines provide shelter and protection, allowing an array of species to flourish on the exposed cliff. Walls and arches add aesthetic touches, lower hedges of escallonia and euonymous shelter exotics such as agaves, aloes, aeoniums and lampranthus.