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P1150533

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.

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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.

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P1150517 © JT of jtdytravels

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

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P1060386 © JT of jtdytravels

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

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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.

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P1150474 © JT of jtdytravels

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

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P1060390

P1060390 ©  DY of jtdytravels

Many new season fronds were just beginning to uncurl.

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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.

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P1150463 © JT of jtdytravels

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

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P1060382 © JT of jtdytravels

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

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P1060403 © DY of jtdytravels

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

Does anyone know the name of this beauty?

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P1060404 © DY of jtdytravels

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

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P1060405 © DY of jtdytravels

In any case, it is a joy to behold!

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P1150487

P1150487 © JT of jtdytravels

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

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P1150486 © JT of jtdytravels

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

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P1150495 © JT of jtdytravels

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

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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!

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P1060402 © DY of jtdytravels

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

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P1150525

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.

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P1060422

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.

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P1060415

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.

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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.

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P1150557

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.

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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 beaches of Cornwall are very popular with English visitors from the northern counties as well as overseas visitors.  Some, like Port Isaac, have been made too famous by TV shows such as Doc Martin.  Others, like St Ives, are now famous as artist colonies.  And still others are fishing villages, such as Padstow, which TV chef Rick Stein has made famous.  In summer, they are all filled with tourists.

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P1050661© DY of jtdytravels

Today, there are many more tourists in Padstow than when I was there in 1986.  Now, the village shops are all cafes and souveneir shops.  Now, pleasure yachts fill the harbour with many fewer of the working fishing boats.  It has lost its allure for me, although, judging by the number of tourists, it’s still a big drawcard for many.  We were looking for something further off the beaten track.

Perhaps the most famous of all Cornish tourist destinations is Land’s End.  It’s always packed with tourists and, even back in 1986, there was not a lot of the natural beauty left to be enjoyed.  It’s become something of a fairground.  I would not go there again.

We sought a quiet place to enjoy the weekend and found Sennan Cove, only a short distance north from Land’s End.  It’s a place left in peace by the tourist buses which would find it very difficult to make their way down the narrow, twisting, steep road to the cove.   And, anyway, there’s not a lot for a busload of tourists to do… it’s just a peaceful beach.  It was perfect for us!

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P1150277 © Jt of jtdytravels

When we arrived, the sea was calm and there were just a few people on the beach enjoying that peace.

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P1150283 © JT of jtdytravels

Patches of seaside daisies held their faces up to the warm afternoon sun.

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P1150276 © JT of jtdytravels

Some daisies even grew into an electrical box by the edge of the road!

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P1150288 © JT of jtdytravels

Our home away from home for the weekend was the Old Success Inn, built in the 1600s and, in some ways, it still felt like that. It was a bit of a rabbit warren of rooms with bits added to the original building over the centuries.  This was the Inn where David slept on the floor because the bed was so soft he thought that it would cave in and smother him!   At least the floor was better for his back.  We enjoyed our time there;  the staff were friendly, the pub food was better than most pubs and the location was just right.

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P1150440 © DY of jtdytravels

Sennan Cove is a tiny village with just a couple of shops and cafe.  A few small, old style fishing boats were pulled up in the shelter of the long slip way for the rescue boat. This is one of the most treacherous areas on Britain’s coastline (and there are quite a few of those).  The life boat station was established here in 1853 and people have been rescued from the unpredictable sea here ever since.

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P1150424 © JT of jtdytravels

It was not always thus… for many centuries, rescue was not always uppermost in the minds of locals.  This area was renowned in times past for the many shipwrecks that, in the view of the locals of the time, provided food and clothing for the poor.  It’s said that donkeys were used to carry lanterns across the cliff tops to fool seamen and create many ship wrecks in and around this rocky cove. Looking out across some of the beach rocks it’s possible to see a couple of the dangers that lurk in these waters not too far from shore.  And there are many other rocks unseen beneath the waters. The list of ship wrecks is a long one.

Smuggling was another well known, and dangerous, part of local life in these parts, in times past.  They got away with much at Sennan Cove because the Revenue men were mostly busy patrolling the villages and coves on the other side of Cornwall, the side closer to France and with usually better sea conditions.  Stories of smugglers and their close calls with the law abound in books about Cornish coastal life.  They have become akin to Australia’s bushranger stories and just as much romanticised, when the facts were, in reality, very brutal for those who took part.  But for the desperately poor villagers of Cornwall, smuggling often made survival possible.

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P1150441 © DY of jtdytravels

There are a few houses tucked in between the beach front and the steep cliff.  This one has an iron bar attached just below the roof to make sure that the thatch roof isn’t disturbed by delivery trucks, or the local double decker bus, when they turn on the quay side.  This is a no through road and a tight turn is a must.  As with any coastal area, the sea salt has made the iron turn to rust, thus adding a visual warning presence to the side of the house.

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P1150435 © DY of jtdytravels

There are no gardens as such here but there’s an occasional mallow plant.

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P1150437 © DY of jtdytravels

The path up the hill to the south of the village is adorned with blackberries.

Weed they may be in Australia, but here they provide delicious berries –

and very attractive small flowers.

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P1150423 ©   DY of jtdytravels

David climbed to the top of the cliff.  Looking north along the coast it’s easy to see that Sennen Cove is well placed for walks along the Cornish coastal path.  Apart from the wonderfully rugged coastal scenery to be enjoyed along the way, there are many ancient sites to see as well as relics from the once thriving tin and copper mining industry.  We would search for those old mine workings next day.

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P1150426 ©  DY of jtdytravels

Wild flowers, like this Thrift, add to the beauty of the area.

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P1150438 © DY of jtdytravels

A mix of Silene and Thrift makes a pretty, natural rock garden.

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P1150429 © DY of jtdytravels

Lichen on the rocks adds a dash of bright colour.

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P1150422 © DY of jtdytravels

I wonder how long this rock has been balancing on the cliff edge…

and how long it will stay there!

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P1150434 © DY of jtdytravels

Looking south along the cliffs gave an idea of the terrain that was mined for tin and copper.

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P1150290 © JT of jtdytravels

Watching the sun dropping lower in the sky across the Atlantic Ocean was a good way to end this day.

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P1150833 © JT of jtdytravels

By next morning, however, the blue sky had vanished along with the calm sea.  It was raining and exceedingly cold.  The miners of old had had to endure many a day like this, so we would continue with our plan to seek out some of the old mine workings along the coast.  Perhaps the unpleasant weather would add to our understanding of the way the miners and their families had lived.

More of that anon

Jennie and David

Photography Copyright ©  JT and DY of jtdytravels

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Set above the southern banks of the River Fal in Cornwall, Trelissick Gardens are large and park like. In a picturesque setting, they cover a peninsular of several hundred acres of contoured land.

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P1150187 © JT of jtdytravels

The garden has had many owners since its early days in the 1700s and each of them have made their own contribution to this garden. However, the greatest contributions have been made by Carew Gilbert in the late 1800s, Ida and Ronald Copeland from 1937 to 1995 and, since then, by the National Trust who now own the gardens. Three NT gardeners now take good care of the gardens with the help of volunteers (Friends of Trelissick) and students during their holidays.

The NT restored the orchard in the 1990s. It now contains 68 different apple trees, mainly Cornish varieties, and as such is a valuable asset to Cornish heritage. The grass in the orchard is left uncut in the summer to encourage wild flowers. Unfortunately we didn’t get to that part of the garden which must look good in any season with the spring apple blossoms, the summer wild flowers, the autumn apple harvest and then the tracery of the limbs in winter.

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P1150048 © JT of jtdytravels

Overlooking the visitor car park is the former water tower with its delightful squirrel weather vane.  Because the house and gardens are so far above the river, the water tower was built in about 1825 to pump water from the river.  Looking more like a fairy castle, this is now one of  five NT holiday cottages which can be rented on the estate. The house and gardens were given to the National Trust in 1955 with the proviso that future generations of the previous owners, the Copeland family, could live on in the house.

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P1060171© DY of jtdytravels

For now, just the gardens are open to the public. The reception, cafe and shop are housed in former farm buildings giving a rustic feel to the entrance. Once inside, the first thing that greeted us on a cool June morning was the beautiful sight and smell of wisteria. This curtain of flowers was labled as Wisteria floribunda ‘Macrobotrys’, a plant that has been known in Japan for at least 400 years.

P1150057  ©  JT  of jtdytravels

P1150057 © JT of jtdytravels

Flower beds line the short entrance walk into the main gardens.

Purple iris were brilliant against the greens.

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P1060185 © DY of jtdtravels

The markings on this yellow iris are stunning and the furled bud is so elegant.

It always pays to stop and take a closer look.

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P1150055 © JT of jtdytravels

Colours, shapes and textures were carefully blended in the garden design.

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P1150076 © JT of jtdytravels

There were delightful small plants, too, like this Scilla peruviana.

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P1150063 © JT of jtdytravels

The main lawn spills down a slope to a border thick with trees and shrubs. In the centre of the lawn is a large Cryptomeria japonica, Japanese Cedar, planted in the garden in 1898 by the estate’s owner at that time, Carew Gilbert.

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P1150193 © JT of jtdytravels

Carew was a great traveller and brought back many exotic plants from Japan, southern Europe, North and South America. Many of the bigger specimen trees in the garden were planted in his time. This one dwarfs David. It’s magnificent.

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P1150146 © JT of jtdytravels

Paths run along the top of the slope with glimpses of the River Fal.

Above the river, at the top of the hill, is a glimpse of the Tregothnan Estate owned by Lord Falmouth’s family.

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P1060236 © DY of jtdytravels

A closer view of the large mansion at Tregothnan. In 1832, Lord Falmouth of Tregothnan bought Trelissick from the then owners, the Daniells. The cost of building a new house at Trelissick and a slump in mining had forced the Daniell family into bankruptcy. The house was unlived in and the gardens untended until 1844, when the estate was purchased by John Gilbert, father of the plant hunter, Carew Gilbert. Thankfully, a keen gardener had come to live on the estate and his plantings form the skeleton of the gardens today.

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P1150151 © JT of jtdytravels

 There is plenty of space in this garden to wander and unwind as you discover the great variety of plants that grow in the various micro climates formed by the topography of the garden and sheltered by those trees planted by Carew Gilbert.

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P1150174 © JT of jtdytravels

It’s a garden to be enjoyed in any season of the year although early spring and autumn must be the most spectacular.  We were there at the end of spring when the garden was filled with many different greens highlighted by an occasional splash of colour.

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P1150163 © JT of jtdytravels

Trelissick is a huge garden. It’s not a place to try to see in just one visit.

Those who live near by, can take it in a section at a time, a season at a time.

We would, if we could.

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P1150177 © JT of jtdytravels

At the end of an hour or so of enjoying the garden and its trees, we came upon a small NT gate house. From there, steps lead down to the River Fal and the ferry, a popular way for people to come to the garden from north of the river. There’s also a river side path that’s always freely open to the public. This path area is thickly planted to give the main garden protection from the wild Cornish winter winds.

We decided to take the river side woodland walk and go on through the farm, leaving more wandering in the main garden until the afternoon. We’ll show you something of that relaxing walk in our next episode about Trelissick and then we’ll come back to explore more of the garden after that.

Jennie and David

All photographs copyright ©  JT and DY  of jtdytravels

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