Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Feeling is Cornish

A few weeks ago I mentioned to Gaz that somehow the garden doesn't feel quite right until we've been to Cornwall. It's a vague statement I know, I can't put my finger on it but somehow it feels like that.

Bust of Neptune at Tresco

View of St. Michael's Mount from Marazion
We both absolutely adore Cornwall, we love it so much that we go there at least once a year, usually in the spring. It is a stunning county, very lush and green and if you go outside the tourist peak season is very much a tranquil place. Most of the county has a much milder climate compared to the rest of the country, with its mainly coastal situation and benefiting from the warm Gulf Stream. Winters are generally much milder but Summers are cooler, rarely reaching above 20 Celsius. Despite having cool summers, when the skies are clear and the sun is out touching your skin; and with warm air blowing in from the sea, it is warm enough to swim on the beach and laze around with minimal clothing. The temperature feels just right on 'warm' periods, unlike the sometimes oppressive heat and humidity of continental Europe.

The wonderful Minack Theatre
However, it is the 'usually' milder winters that makes Cornwall extra special especially on a gardener's point of view (although they have been affected too by the last three harsher winters). Because of this so many exotic subtropical and temperate plants thrive there and perform so well. This is evident by the abundance of stunning gardens which Cornwall is famous for, of gardeners who chose to live there to carry on with their passion for plants, and a plethora of nurseries full of plant treasures that are hard to find anywhere else.

Duchy of Cornwall Nursery
So it's that time of the year when we undertake our annual spring pilgrimage to Cornwall. It's always very hectic in the run up to our holiday as we prepare the garden for our week's absence. We leave plenty of detailed instructions to our house and garden sitter, to make sure everything is fine whilst we're away. A particular concern is keeping on top of the watering regime, with it being a warm and exceptionally dry spring this year the plants requiring more water than usual. 

Thankfully our garden sitter (Gaz's Dad) has done a fantastic job and nearly all plants remained fine. Still, for some uncertain reasons, a few plants did suffer from drought distress despite being watered (most likely because of the strong wind hence dessicated) and the odd one or two got burnt in the greenhouse (must have been very warm at some point). Also we decided to go back home a few hours earlier than usual, a decision which proved wise because if we went back any later then we would have lost a few prized plants.

Cloudy and misty at The Lizard

And it gets even more hectic as soon as we get back: double checking the garden, sorting out newly acquired plants, and generally settling back into our usual routines (not to mention lots of washing and ironing!).

So what do we do in Cornwall? Visit beautiful gardens and admire their outstanding plants and plantings; Meet up with lovely plant enthusiasts and nursery people who are as passionate about plants as we are; Catch up with the friends we have made there on our previous visits; Walking on the beach and enjoying the sights and sounds of the sea; Going through plenty of plant nurseries and buying a few choice plants we spot whilst browsing (with the word 'few' being relative...); Eating loads of stereotypical Cornish treats like Cream Tea, Fudge, Pasties, and Fish and Chips; And just driving around admiring the beautiful scape of the Cornish countryside. Over the coming weeks we will share a few more of our visits to the gardens and nurseries of Cornwall.

Time for Cornish Cream at The Lizard!

Most important of all, despite packing in plenty of activities, you come home feeling refreshed, revitalised, and inspired to get stuck and do some more gardening.

Often we get asked, what location is the ultimate inspiration for our exotic and jungle garden: Africa, Asia, or Australia? I say, the garden may evoke anywhere but here but in essence it is ultimately inspired by home. The garden is inspired by Cornwall. And often I would walk down the garden thinking, 'The Feeling is Cornish' and it never fails to make me smile.

Trebah Garden
And now that our Cornish spring trip is over, I feel our garden is ready too for the coming season, and I'm feeling more inspired too to carry on sharing our personal pleasure for gardening. Looking forward to the summer, and already looking forward to our next trip back to Cornwall. 

Who knows, maybe someday, we'll actually live there ;-) 


  1. Wonderful post! And you've given me a label for the person who waters when we are away. I never would have thought to call them the hose sitter but it's rather perfect!

  2. Beautiful gardens, and those treats look scrumptious! I'm interested to see what you got from those very intriguing nurseries!

  3. The Trebah garden is fabulous! As you describe the Cornish weatherl, I am sighing with envy. Our temps will reach triple digits today, the humidity is suffocating, and no rain in sight! I hope for a thunderstorm. I am headed out to water the woodland garden. I couldn't consider a summer vacation. Everything would be dead!

  4. Thanks Loree! Hose sitter is quite a fetching title :)

    Holley, I've got a photo somewhere of our haul whilst still in the car, I'll look for it and blog about them later :) Lots of gems!

    Debs, I do hope you get that thunderstorm. You've got loads of lovely plants that needs a good soaking. Quite a conundrum isn't it? Tricky to have summer holidays away as the garden needs your attention the most. Same case here but I don't mind as it's when the garden is at its prettiest :)

  5. My niece is in GB at the moment and she has been putting up lots of phtos of Devon and Cornwall...and other picturesque places that could only be found in the British Isles. It has made me pull out my photos of a holiday long ago. It is truly wonderful place.

  6. We have never visited Cornwall and yet it has always held a fascination.Trebah Gardens look terrific. We are just back from Holmes Chapel in Cheshire, didn't half rain we had a good look around Tatton park, very special. Would you believe, it was 26c here in Aberdeen on Thursday and 24c on Friday, phew.

  7. Hazel, a holiday in Britain should be on the cards soon :)

    Alistair, those temps are Tropical! :) Trebah is special, I do love visiting it and has a lovely beach too. A great place for a picnic. Glad to hear you're back and had a lovely time. Envious of your visit to Tatton Park, I haven't been and would love to visit soon!


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