What makes Trengwainton so special

Close up of pale yellow Rhododendron macabeanum at Trengwainton Garden in Cornwall

When walking through Trengwainton at the height of its spring and early summer colour, it’s hard to imagine a time when this and other British gardens were completely devoid of the exotic blooms of magnolias, rhododendrons and camellias.

Where did they come from?

The rhododendrons you see at Trengwainton were largely grown from seed gathered in north-east Assam and upper Burma by Frank Kingdon-Ward on his 1927-8 expedition. Thanks to his passion and bravery, plants that started life on the side of a hill in the Far East, now have their home in the far south-west of Cornwall.

Unique to Trengwainton

One of the glories of the collection is Rhododendron macabeanum whose creamy yellow blooms flowered for the first time in Britain at Trengwainton.

It was the skill of head gardener Alfred Creek that ensured the success of these tender seedlings, but it was his successor G W Thomas who made a number of new rhododendron crosses. Hybrids that are unique to Trengwainton are the rhododendrons R. Morvah, R. fusilier, R. golden horn and R. miss pink.

Champion trees

The plant collection also includes some champion trees (the largest tree of its species) in the shelter of the five sections of walled gardens. They come with the tongue-twisting names of; Craibiodendron yunnanense, Dodecadenia grandiflora, Eucryphia x hillieri and Hoheria populnea.

Other notable trees

Nearly 90 of Trengwainton’s trees feature in The Tree Register, which is a record of notable and ancient trees in Britain and Ireland. These include a number of magnolias, whose huge waxy flowers create a memorable sight in February/ March, right through to the Acers in autumn.