Winter in the gardens of Cornwall is a time for slumber, as plants and trees lie nestled under the frost – and occasionally snow – as spring bulbs work their magic underneath the frozen soil and buds on the trees start to slowly peek out from the empty branches.
But as the days become that little bit longer, and the sun shares her warmth the tell-tale signs of the changing seasons are quick to come to the fore.
Springtime in Cornwall is heralded not only by the longer gentler days, but by the candy-coloured explosions of colour with the blooms of Magnolias across six of the champion trees of The Great Gardens of Cornwall bursting into life, known as ‘The Spring Story’.
The Great Gardens of Cornwall is a collection of 13 of the best-known, largest, most historically and horticulturally important gardens in Cornwall.
Spread across Cornwall, from a tidal estuary on the River Tamar, to the tip of the Isles of Scilly, the 13 gardens include: Antony Woodland Gardens, Bonython Estate Gardens, Caerhays Castle Spring Gardens, the Eden Project, Lamorran Gardens, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trebah Garden, Tregothnan, Tregrehan Garden, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Tresco Abbey Garden, Trewidden and Trewithen.
Originally founded by Toby Ashworth of The Nare Hotel in collaboration with The Great Gardens, The Spring Story focuses on the ‘bloomometer‘, which records the number of magnolia blooms across six of the Gardens until they reach the magic number of 50.
Toby Ashworth, proprietor of The Nare, said: “Thanks to the milder winters that we experience in Cornwall, spring comes earlier than in other parts of the country.
“The flowering of magnificent magnolias signifies spring bursting into life and is truly a sight to behold.
“It is my favoured time to visit Cornwall’s spectacular gardens and is a beautiful way to shake off winter and step into the new season.”
From late February until mid-March gardeners across the garden carefully watch as the beautiful, candy-coloured petals of the Magnolia Cambelii trees slowly shed their winter jackets and unfurl until the gardens of Cornwall are a dream of pastel-coloured blossoms – it is the perfect time to visit one of these six spring gardens, namely Tregothnan, Trebah, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Trewidden, Trewithen and Caerhays Castle.