Just as the day before, we had a task to do…to take large amounts of cut bamboo from our garden to the tip. Really there are swathes of Cornwall where bamboo is running riot and becoming a real nuisance – most of it in, or escaping from, people’s gardens. Something needs to be done. Anyway, the tip is quite a way from our house and on the way to Caerhays Castle which we visited a couple of weeks ago. So off we went. Last time we went round the house. This time we were here to see the gardens. And how fantastic they were.
‘Home to a National Magnolia Collection, the gardens at Caerhays are a spring-time wonderland for visitors. The 120 acre woodland gardens are English Heritage Listed Grade II*. The origins of this historically important collection of Chinese plants can be traced back to the work of the great plant hunters Ernest Wilson (1876 – 1930) and George Forrest (1873 – 1932). J C Williams of Caerhays (1862 – 1939) gave up politics in 1895 and became passionate about gardening. He was quick to recognise the importance of the plant hunters’ work and contributed £300,000 (in today’s terms) of his own money towards Forrest’s 1911 and subsequent expeditions, as well as being involved in the joint funding of many other trips.In return, Caerhays received a wealth of seed from newly discovered species of Chinese rhododendrons, magnolias, camellias, azaleas, acers and evergreen oaks to mention but a few. A large number of these unique plants can be seen growing in maturity at Caerhays today.’
Now, if you don’t like magnolias, azaleas and rhodedendrons in large quantities look away now…..there are 4 designated ‘routes’ through the gardens and we did the second longest – after a cup of tea of course and the usual excellent cakes for sale here. They are really luscious.and there were plenty of benches for you to just sit and take in the views………which were amazing, because the castle and its grounds behind are set on a hill within a sort of bowl of lovely Cornish countryside, with occasional views of the lake or the sea…
A lovely day indeed. Many gardens in Cornwall are called Spring gardens, and justly so. We visited at the very best time, marvelled at the work of the Victorians and Edwardians, and were lost in a magic world mainly created from China and the Far East…..Highly recommended.