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Spring in Cornwall is declared for 2022!

Spring is here! Cornwall's Spring Story is the proof that spring really does arrive in Cornwall first - but which are the six Great Gardens of Cornwall all eyes have been on for the big count?

The moment Cornish magnolias flower, spring has arrived. And in Cornwall, a project run by The Nare Hotel and The Great Gardens of Cornwall, Spring is declared on the day that all six champion magnolias campbellii trees have flowered with 50 blooms a piece.

The head gardener at each of the chosen six Great Gardens sends in a daily report (and photos!) of their champion magnolia campbellii tree, as the buds begin to shed their outer winter jackets to come into full bloom.

Tregothnan Gardens Cornwall © Emily Whitfield Wicks

The annual declaration of Spring has happened! On 22 Feb 2022 all six gardens declared their full 50 blooms… beating last year’s date by four days (it happened on 26 February last year), a full month earlier than the astronomical start of spring (which is the 20 March), and much earlier than gardens across the rest of the country.

But which are the Great Gardens of Cornwall that are counting?

Trewidden Gardens, Penzance

Famous for magnolias and camellias, this beautiful and tranquil 15 acre garden with a tea room, plant and gift sales is near to Penzance. Forming part of the historic Bolitho Estate, Trewidden Garden is also home to Trewidden House, a resplendent 19th Century manor house.

Caerhays Castle Gardens, Gorran, St Austell

Caerhays Castle Cornwall © Emily Whitfield Wicks

On the south coast near St Austell you’ll find the magnificent gardens and Grade II listed 140 acre woodland at Caerhays, often described as a spring-time wonderland for visitors. Home to a National Magnolia Collection, the collection even houses a 100 year old Magnolia tree. The gardens also feature many rhododendrons, camellias and trees which are nationally classed as Champion Trees by the Tree Register.

Trebah Garden, Mawnan Smith

Trebah Gardens © Emily Whitfield Wicks

This glorious steep-sided sub-tropical garden winds it way through the 100-year-old rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias which create a riot of pinks, until suddenly you pop out on the private beach on the banks of the unspoilt tidal river, the Helford. Rated as one of the best 80 gardens in the world, Trebah is often named by the people we interview as a personal favourite.

Trewithen Garden, Grampound Road, Near Truro

Trewithen Gardens Cornwall © Emily Whitfield Wicks

Trewithen has nearly 30 acres of woodland gardens and about 200 acres of surrounding parkland. In 2012, Trewithen received the accolade of becoming an International Camellia Garden of Excellence – one of only 39 gardens in the world to have that honour (and 1 of only 5 in the UK). Among the many spring highlights is the UK’s finest specimen in cultivation of Magnolia campbellii subsp. Mollicomata* which was introduced from China and, standing at over 65 ft high, is one of the glories of the garden.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Pentewan, St Austell

Lost Gardens of Heligan Cornwall © Emily Whitfield Wicks

Experience the awakening of their fabulous collection of historic shrubs and explore the ‘National Collection of Camellias and Rhododendrons introduced to Heligan pre-1920’ – Heligan’s expert gardeners have helped produce a self-guided trail that will take you on a journey around the garden, taking in beauties like the tree above – starts 5 March.

Tregothnan, Tresillian, Truro

You’ll recognise Tregothnan from their Cornish-grown tea… sadly for us, the family owned estate near Truro is private aside from occasional events, so you’ll have to take their word for the magnolia count I’m afraid!

Cornwall’s Spring Story was founded by Toby Ashworth of The Nare Hotel, in partnership with the Great Gardens of Cornwall. It was in response to the fact that, by waiting until May, many garden lovers were missing the most splendid sight of all – the flowering of the magnolias – which occurred in February and March each year, earlier than in other parts of the country.

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