Summer in Cotehele's garden

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.

The East Terrace is beautiful in June
Looking through the flowers in the East Terrace towards Cotehele house
The East Terrace is beautiful in June

The Upper Garden

The red and white water lillies are in flower in the upper garden pond and their many lily pads are providing shelter for all the frogs that spawned this spring.

As summer gets underway the upper garden shows its true colours. Each border is planted with a different colour scheme - 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.

Take a seat by the pond in the Upper Garden and relax
View of the pond in the Upper Garden at Cotehele
Take a seat by the pond in the Upper Garden and relax

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.

In summer this garden is full of blooms. You may well see volunteers here cutting the flowers and stripping them of leaves before bunching them up to be dried in the store room.

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.

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 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.

Purple crocuses and white snowdrops 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.