Summer in Cotehele 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 Terraces at Cotehele
Stone urn with purple summer flowers in The Terraces at Cotehele, Cornwall
The Terraces at Cotehele

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.

A summer's day in the Upper Garden at Cotehele
Family with two adults and three children next to the pond at Cotehele, Cornwall
A summer's day in the Upper Garden at Cotehele

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.

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.

Ranger James Robbins on his weekly butterfly count
Ranger James Robbins amongst yellow flowers catching butterflies in a net at Cotehele, Cornwall
Ranger James Robbins on his weekly butterfly count

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.

Taking a closer look at the medieval stewpond in the Valley Garden
Explore one of Cornwall's many subtropical gardens this summer
Taking a closer look at the medieval stewpond in the Valley Garden

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.

Mirrors and plants from the spring collection

Cotehele shop and plant centre

The perfect place to find a souvenir of your visit to Cotehele or find that plant you fell in love with in the garden - Cotehele's shop and plant centre are temporarily closed from 19 March until further notice. We're proud to say that all the money we raise through sales goes back into the conservation of Cotehele.