Autumn in Cotehele's garden

Fallen leaves and wheelbarrow in the Upper Garden in autumn at Cotehele

There’s something new in the garden for you to discover 365 days of the year. Spanning 14 acres plus 12 acres of orchard, it has variety far beyond the average garden on account of its terrain, rills and juxtaposition to the house.

The Terraces

The Terraces on the east side of the house are probably the most formally planted. Here you’ll find seasonally mixed borders of hydrangeas, roses, geraniums, a giant busy lizzie and a towering handkerchief tree in the north-east corner.

In autumn the aster 'Purple Dome' will be in full flower. If you pop through the archway on the north end adn go past the lime tree you'll fine Acer Grove with brilliant autumn colour.

The East Terraces in autumn at Cotehele
View of the east range of the house and East Terraces garden in autumn at Cotehele, Cornwall
The East Terraces in autumn at Cotehele

The Valley Garden

A tunnel from the formal terraces leads to the steep and wild Valley Garden with a path curving down to a thatched Victorian summer house, a medieval stewpond and dovecote. In autumn you'll find colourful foliage, especially in the acers and purple beech.

A gate at the bottom takes you to the Chapel-in-the-Wood, built by Sir Richard Edgcumbe I, and inside the building you'll find details of the lucky escape which led him to build it.

The Valley Garden at Cotehele
The Valley Garden in autumn at Cotehele
The Valley Garden at Cotehele

The Upper Garden

In autumn, a circuit around the upper garden shows off the ash and dogwoods in their finest seasonal hues. At the edges of the garden, the deep borders are colour themed. The top (north) border is planted in ‘hot’ colours, and the west border is in golds and silvers, following a plan introduced by gardens adviser Graham Stuart Thomas in the 1960s.

The American ash on the east side, the dogwoods on the island in the pond, the yellow stemmed ash and the tulip tree all look exceptionally beautiful in autumn.

The American ash in autumn in the Upper Garden at Cotehele
The American ash in autumn colour in the Upper Garden at Cotehele, Cornwall
The American ash in autumn in the Upper Garden at Cotehele

The Cut Flower Garden

This is where we grow a variety of annual flowers for both the house and the 60ft-long Christmas flower garland usually on display in the Great Hall between November and December. Annually there are 20,000-40,000 flowers in the garland -- the number varies depending on the growing season.

The long, hot summer this year has resulted in a bumper crop of flowers for this year's garland. It's an extra special garland this year too as it will be complemented by a beautiful artwork on the walls around the Great Hall in commemoration of the First World War Armistice a hundred years ago.

The Old Orchard

The old orchard contains a variety of productive trees including apples, Tamar cherries, pears and walnuts. Autumn is the busy season here, when we harvest the apples.

Although the lichen-covered trees look old, many if not all are comparatively recent, having been planted since the 1960s. Despite the young age of the present trees, a 1731 map of Cotehele indicates that areas behind the house have been used for growing fruit trees for many years.

The Mother Orchard at Cotehele
The Mother Orchard with hand sculpture and apples in autumn at Cotehele, Cornwall
The Mother Orchard at Cotehele

The Mother Orchard

We're busy in autumn harvesting apples here too. Apple collectors and propagators James Evans and Mary Martin inspired and informed the Mother Orchard. It was planted ten years ago a part of a wider programme to trial West Country apple varieties. There are over 300 trees in the orchard representing 125 different varieties of predominantly local origin.

The varieties grown here have been bred over the last 250 years to survive the mild and damp climatic conditions of the southwest peninsula. The intention of the current project is to provide a reference set of ‘mother trees’ that can be used for the selection of future varieties for both domestic and commercial use.

Yellow flowers at Cotehele, Cornwall

What's that plant?

If you see a plant you'd like to identify and you don't see a gardener nearby, simply email: askthecotehelegardener@nationaltrust.org.uk and a member of the team will identify the plant. Try to: >> Describe the location > > Provide some photographs > > Describe any special features such as flower and leaf shape, colour, bark etc.