Cotehele garden

Cotehele’s garden is relatively young in historical terms. It has developed since the sixteenth century and continues to vary and evolve each year.

The garden is open every day from dawn to dusk.

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, spring tulips, a giant busy lizzie, magnolias, azaleas and a towering handkerchief tree in the north east corner.

The Terraces at Cotehele
The Terraces on the east side of Cotehele House, Cornwall

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. Summer delivers a field of wild flowers and a gate at the bottom takes you to the tiny Chapel-in-the-Wood, built by Sir Richard Edgcumbe I.

The Valley Garden at Cotehele
Yellow summer flowers in the Valley Garden at Cotehele, Cornwall

The Upper Garden

In summer, froglets test their new legs, island hopping between the lily pads in the Upper Garden pond. At the edges of the garden, the deep borders are colour themed. The top (north) border is 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 Upper Garden at Cotehele
The lily pond in the Upper Garden at Cotehele, Cornwall

The Cut Flower Garden

This is where we grow a variety of annual flowers for the house and the Christmas dried flower garland. It’s at its busiest during the summer months when you can watch gardeners tending the beds and stripping leaves off of the 32,000-ish (the number varies depending on the growing season) garland flowers to aid in rapid drying.

The Old Orchard

The old orchard contains a variety of productive trees including apples, Tamar cherries, pears and walnuts. 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

Apple collectors and propagators James Evans and Mary Martin inspired and informed the Mother Orchard. It was planted in 2007 and is part of a wider programme to trial West Country apple varieties. There are over 300 trees in the orchard representing some 120 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.

Apple trees and a living sculpture in the Mother Orchard at Cotehele
Apples on a tree and hand sculpture in Mother Orchard at Cotehele, Cornwall