Coleton Fishacre garden

View from the summerhouse in the garden of Coleton Fishacre, Devon

With a climate as mild as South Cornwall created by the great trees sheltering this garden in a coastal valley, exotic and tender plants thrive in Coleton Fishacre garden. From formal terraces to woodland to explore, this garden is varied and filled with year-round interest, and one of the few National Trust gardens to be RHS accredited.

 

Formal terraces

The Hot Border in front of Coleton Fishacre house, Devon

The Hot Border

In front of the house the Hot Border is filled with flowers in fiery shades of reds and oranges, creating a ‘firework’ effect of upward pointing flowers in hot colours, which blaze all the way from summer through to late autumn. These were Rupert D'Oyly Carte's favourite colours, and he could see the border from his desk in the library. 

The Rill Garden with the stream running through at Coleton Fishacre

Rill Garden

The stream, or rill, which runs through the centre, gives this garden its name. The borders are planted with a mixture of hardy herbaceous and semi-tender perennials in soft pastel shades to create a relaxed and dreamy effect. Pastels were the favourite colours of Lady Dorothy, and her room overlooked this garden.

 

Red leaves of the Japenese Maple in autumn at Coleton Fishacre

Blaze of colour

The garden is bursting with colour throughout autumn, with Japenese maples that line the rill, and the impressive Persian ironwood tree and the tulip tree, both of which have stood watch over the house since Coleton Fishacre was built.

The Terraces

The terraces and walls around the house reflect the lines of the building, and are planted with tender, sun-loving plants. Each terrace has a pool; the upper pool's rounded outline sets off a sculptured otter by local artist Bridget McCrum. 

 

The quarry

The looming quarry wall that sits below the gazebo is where the stone for the house came from; it was transported up the valley on a railway track, which you can now see in the kitchen supporting the shelves.

 

 

Coastal woodland garden

View from the gazebo at Coleton Fishacre, Devon

Sea views

There are a few different spots around the garden from where you can soak up the sea views. Scout Point, the gazebo and the summerhouse all offer wide sweeping vistas.

Sea views from Coleton Fishacre garden in winter

Informal garden

The further down the valley you walk, the more informal this garden becomes. At the bottom is the tree fern glade, where hydrangeas flower in the summer and the rill trickles out to the coast. There's also a gate leading to the South West Coast Path, where you can take in the view at Pudcombe Cove and spot the old tidal pool the family just to use.