Seasonal highlights in Cotehele's garden

Looking across the east terrace borders at Cotehele, Cornwall

Spanning 14 acres of gardens and 12 acres of orchards, Cotehele's garden is unique and varied all year round, but visiting in summer is particularly enchanting. The borders in the upper gardens become a myriad of herbaceous plants and colourful flowers, while the terraces burst with hydrangeas, roses, geraniums and irises.

 

What is open in the garden at Cotehele?

All areas of the garden and orchards are open, apart from the Prospect Tower which is currently closed for everyone’s safety.

East Terrace

You’ll find terraced herbaceous borders on the east side of the house, leading down towards the fanastic view of the viaduct towards Calstock.

Here you’ll find seasonally mixed borders of hydrangeas, roses, geraniums, irises, salvia, Centaurea Monatana and Centaurea Montana Alba and Veronicastrum.

View of the East Terrace at Cotehele
View of the East Terrace at Cotehele
View of the East Terrace at Cotehele

Upper garden

The upper garden has a central pond, filled with red and white water lilies in the summer. Their lily pads provide shelter for all the frogs that spawned here in spring. The pond is framed on all four sides by herbaceous borders planted in different colour schemes.

At their best in the summer are the top (north) border, which is planted in ‘hot’ colours, and the west border, which is planted in golds and silvers. These planting schemes follow a plan introduced by garden adviser Graham Stuart Thomas in the 1960s

The upper garden is a peaceful place to sit and relax in summer
Looking towards Cotehele house form the upper garden pond in summer
The upper garden is a peaceful place to sit and relax in summer

Cut flower garden

We begin planting out seedlings here in spring as we grow a variety of annual flowers for both the house and the 60ft-long Christmas flower garland on display in the Great Hall between November and December. Typically, there are 20,000-40,000 flowers in the garland - the number varies depending on the growing season.

The Cut Flower Garden in the summer
The Cut Flower Garden in the summer
The Cut Flower Garden in the summer

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 dovecot.

In summer the Valley Garden becomes a jungle of lush green trees and gunnera manicata (giant rhubarb). Spend a moment relaxing by the serene pond and then follow one of the wildflower lined paths down to the quay.

The wildflower meadow and Summer House at Cotehele
California golden poppies and the Summer House at Cotehele, Cornwall
The wildflower meadow and Summer House at Cotehele

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. Please provide some photographs, along with a description of its location and special features such as flower and leaf shape, colour, bark, etc.