Posts Tagged ‘flowers’


P1150533 © JT of jtdytravels

In the hills behind the Cornish coastal town of Penzance, in the small village of Madron, is the National Trust Property of Trengwainton Garden.   Although the manor house at the top of the garden is still a private residence, the garden is open to the public.  We walked up the long gentle slope of this rather narrow garden by a winding path through dense plantings; we returned by the main driveway bedecked with Rhododendron on one side and a small stream planted with bog plants on the other.  The moorland misty rain had returned, but that didn’t dampen our enjoyment of this lovely garden.



P1150460 © JT of jtdytravels

This garden is known for its collections of magnolias, rhododendron and camellias.

Although some had finished flowering, there were plenty left for us to enjoy.



P1150517 © JT of jtdytravels

I love azaleas; so simple and simply beautiful, especially when jewelled with rain drops.



P1060386 © JT of jtdytravels

Because spring had come late to Cornwall, there were still some magnolia flowers to enjoy.


P1150472  ©  JT  of  jtdytravels

P1150472 © JT of jtdytravels

Both sides of the winding pathway are densely planted with a wide variety of plants…

plants that have their origins in many places across the globe.



P1150474 © JT of jtdytravels

The ‘gulf stream’ climate here is perfect for the Australian native, Dicksonia.



P1060390 ©  DY of jtdytravels

Many new season fronds were just beginning to uncurl.



P1060396 ©  DY of jtdytravels

The unusual Fuchsia excorticata is a native plant of New Zealand.  Sometimes known in Cornwall by the common name of ‘Sunburn Tree’, the trunk of this large fuchsia is characterised by its red peeling bark.  This flower has an unusual blue pollen. The flowers are followed by dark purple, almost black berries, which some people say are delicious either raw or cooked.



P1150463 © JT of jtdytravels

Some of the branches of the older trees have grown into strange shapes as they have sought the sun.



P1060382 © JT of jtdytravels

Delightful rhododendron bells draw attention to themselves against swathes of dark green foliage .



P1060403 © DY of jtdytravels

We think this plant belongs to the Malvacaea family of plants.

Does anyone know the name of this beauty?



P1060404 © DY of jtdytravels

I’ve added two more photos of this flower in the hope that someone will identify it.



P1060405 © DY of jtdytravels

In any case, it is a joy to behold!



P1150487 © JT of jtdytravels

One densely planted part of the garden is backed by a large Pieris japonica.



P1150486 © JT of jtdytravels

A closer look at the tree shows the beautiful softness of the combination of pinks and light greens.



P1150495 © JT of jtdytravels

And a much closer look, shows the tiny bell like pink flowers of Pieris japonica.



P1150502 © JT of jtdytravels

There are over 70 species of Hosta that can be used as dense and attractive ‘fillers’ along garden edges.

But, beware!  They are much loved as food by snails and slugs!



P1060402 © DY of jtdytravels

On the other hand, they also act as beautiful receptacles for rain drops.



P1150525 © JT of jtdytravels

As the spring flowers were beginning to fade in the garden,

so the summer flowering groups, like the hydrangeas, began to bloom.

It’s is certainly a garden for all seasons.



P1060422 © DY of jtdytravels

The path crosses a small bridge where a pond is the highlight of the view.

It’s a good place to take a quiet rest

as the water bubbles out under the bridge over a small waterfall.



P1060415 © DY of jtdytravels

The light, misty rain persisted, but only enough to give rhododendron flowers a refreshing glow.

The name comes from Ancient Greek:  rhódon meaning “rose” and déndron meaning ” tree”.

This photo gives a real hint of the reason for the ‘rose’ tag.



P1060431 © DY of jtdytravels

Some rhododendron trees in their native habitats can grow very large indeed.

Even here, some were large enough to shelter beneath their branches.

That gave time to enjoy shapes of trunks and patterns on bark.



P1150557 © JT of jtdytravels

Above us, hung more of those delightful Rhododendron bells.

There are over 1000 species of this plant, so gardeners are spoilt for choice.



P1060425 © JT of jtdytravels

Finally the house came into view.  We had reached the top of the path.

This property, not open to the public, was once the residence of the powerful and very wealthy Cornish Arundell Family,  From small beginnings in the early 1200’s, when their only possession was the manor of Treloy in the parish of St Columb Major, the Arundells reached the height of their wealth and influence in the late sixteenth century when this house was built.  By then the family owned twenty-eight manors in Cornwall as well as manors and other properties in Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

The house was altered and extented in the 18th and 19th centuries and is now a Grade II listed building.  In 1814, this estate was bought by a Jamaican sugar plantation owner, Rose Price.  However, by 1833, his fortunes were diminished when his slaves in Jamaica were freed by the Emancipation Act.  In 1867, the house was bought by the Bolitho family.  Members of that family still live here.

The gardens were given to the National Trust in 1961 and are very well cared for by that organisation.  We’ll explore a very different part of this garden in our next Cornwall episode.

Jennie  and David

Photography copyright © JT and DY  of jtdytravels

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The sun shone in Srinagar as we set out to visit the famous Mughal Gardens which would give us an insight into the world of the Mughal Emperors who reigned in India from the early 15th century to the early 18th century.  Back in those days, when the summer weather in Delhi became too unbearably hot, the Emperors and their entourage would ride on elephants over the baking hot northern plains and up over the mountain passes to the relative cool and peace of the beautiful Kashmir Valley.  Here, in the shadows of the lower Himalaya, they established their pleasure gardens. These have now been restored and were one of the highlights of our time in Kashmir.

The first Mughal garden we visited was the Pari Mahal garden, located on the Zebanwan Mountain, 5 km west of the center of Srinagar. It consists of six terraces aligned roughly north-south, with arched retaining walls supporting the terraces against the mountain. Unlike other Mughal gardens in Kashmir, this garden has no water cascades or ‘chadars’ – ramps that transfer water from one terrace to another.

The terraces of Pari Mahal Garden  –  © JT of ‘jtdytravels’

Pari Mahal was built in the mid-seventeenth century on the ruins of a Buddhist monastery by Prince Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Shah Jahan (the Emperor of Taj Mahal fame).  The buildings in this garden were used as an observatory for the teaching of astrology and astronomy.

After coming down from the mountain, we visited the largest and most famous of the Mughal gardens of Srinagar, Shalimar Bagh.  Since the second century there has been a garden here on the northeast shore of Dal Lake.  The revamping of this ancient garden was the dream project in 1619 of Emperor Jahangir who wanted to please his queen Nur Jahan. Although Emperor Jahangir had married many times to girls from very high-class noble families of the Mughals and Rajputs, a Rajput princess known as Jagat Gosain was said to have been his favourite.  She was the mother of Shah Jahan, Jahangir’s successor.  But Jahangir was also attracted to the ‘unparalleled beauty and intelligence’ of Nur (or Noor) Jahan. He married her as well and she was the reason he wanted his Shalimar Bagh in Srinagar to be perfect.  The rebuilding of this ancient garden sat well with Jahangir’s interest in fine arts, poetry, paintings, dance and music. He was also a good writer and loved nature.

In 1630, Emperor Shah Jahan, Jahangir’s son, had extensions added to the garden.  Today, 380 years later, this garden is considered the high point of Mughal horticulture.

Beautiful ‘Shalimar Bagh’  –  ©    JT of ‘jtdytravels’.

The layout of this beautiful garden is an adaptation of the ancient Persian gardens which were built on a square plan with four arms radiating from a central location.  This design couldn’t be exactly replicated in the hilly conditions in the Kashmir valley.  So the design was modified to suit the terrain and the availability of water which was diverted from a higher elevation and runs by gravity down along the main channel that runs through the terraces of this rectangular garden.  Colourful flower beds beside the water follow the line of the vistas and add that extra dimension to delight visitors.

There are many fountains and pavilions in this garden of 12.4 hectares. It’s 587 metres long and  251 meters wide. The  terraces are lined with mature chinar trees (Plantanus orientalis), which create magnificent leafy vistas.  Many of these trees were in fact planted by Shah Jahan during the early decades of the 17th Century.

Mature Chinar trees (Plantanus orientalis) at Shalimar –   ©  Jt  of ‘jtdytravels’

But Shah Jahan did not stop garden design and building after completing Shalimar Bagh.  In 1632, he began to build Chesma Shahi, the smallest of the Srinagar Mughal gardens. It’s known as ‘Royal Spring’ due to the mineral-rich spring water that feeds the water courses.  The source of this water  emerges within a pavilion at the top of the garden. Many visitors to these gardens believe in the healing properties of this water and come here to the source to drink.

A pavilion covers the source of spring water –   ©   JT  of  ‘jtdytravels’

This much steeper site is at an elevation that affords grand views back to the mountains as well as out over the Srinagar valley and its lakes.  Chinar trees feature predominately here as do various conifers and other trees which are suited to the climate: hot and humid during the summer and snowy cold during the winter months.  Colourful flower beds along the water courses and out in the surrounding lawns again delight the visitor.

A steeply stepped ‘rill’ cascade at Chasma Shahi –  ©    JT  of ‘jtdytravels’

Because this garden is built on a hill, some very steep flights of steps need to be climbed from one terrace to the next. At one point, a water ‘rill’ tumbles down beside the steps taking the water into a pool of fountains – a nice place to rest.

It seems that there was plenty of work for the horticultural trades in those times, or otherwise, prisoners and slaves from defeated armies were ‘gainfully’ employed for in 1633 a fourth Mughal garden was built in Srinagar. Known as Nishat Bagh, or ‘Garden of Joy‘, it was designed and built by Asif Khan the father-in-law and Prime Minister of Shah Jahan.  As with Shalimar, a rectangular design was employed with the central axis being 548m in length. (Asif wasn’t silly enough to make his garden bigger than his Emperor’s)  There are twelve terraces, each terrace representing a Zodiac sign.  The cascades between each terrace and the numerous fountains create sound as the water falls.  The water sparkles when the sun shines.  Chinar and cypress trees again dominate the landscape.

Flowers and water are the essence of Mughal Gardens  –   ©    JT  of  ‘jtdytravels’

But this was not always a ‘garden of joy’!

When Shah Jahan saw his father-in-law’s completed ‘Garden of Joy’, he was most impressed – and he said so. He hoped that Asif would give him the garden.  But, when Asif didn’t take the hint, Shah Jahan was so piqued that he ordered the shutdown of the garden’s water supply, the Gobi Thirst, a natural spring which produces clean, clear water.  Asif was beside himself with grief as his garden began to die for lack of water. He became depressed. One day, however, so the story goes, whilst sitting under a tree in this garden, Asif heard the sound of running water.  When he realised that one of his gardeners had turned the water back on,  Asif was mortified. He feared the wrath of his son-in-law and immediately ordered the water to be turned off again.  However when Shah Jahan heard of the incident, rather than being upset, he rewarded the loyal servant for standing by his master. He allowed the flow of water to be restored.

Water channels require constant maintenance  –  ©  JT of ‘jtdytravels’

Wandering through the Mughal Gardens of Srinagar was indeed a highlight of our time in the Kashmir.  But, as always, after a day out exploring in the town, on the lakes or in the countryside of Kashmir, it was always a delight to return to the peaceful garden of our Lalit Palace Hotel. This garden, too, was designed somewhat along Mughal garden principles with pools and fountains, wonderful old chinar trees and long vistas of flower beds… but it lacks the water courses.

The lovely gardens of Srinagar’s ‘Lalit Palace Hotel’  –  ©   JT  of  ‘jtdytravels’

JT  of  ‘jtdytravels’

Photography  ©  JT  of   ‘jtdytravels’

 More of our photos of the Mughal Gardens of Kashmir are on            flickr.com/photos/jtdytravels

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