Garden visit:

Trevarno Estate

Crowntown, near Helston

Trevarno is well-worth a visit at any time of year. When I went there in February I enjoyed the misty, mizzling atmosphere of early spring. The birds were beginning to sing and there were snowdrops and celandines out, as well as azaleas.

Trevarno is signposted from the Helston to Camborne road. A one-way system provides separate entrance and exit roads and there’s plenty of room for parking.

From the car park it's a short walk to the main yard. The large and beautiful conservatory café, with a fountain at its centre, is perfect for sheltering from spring showers. You can buy hot or cold drinks to wash down slices of homemade cake and other refreshments.

The gardens are entered either through the conservatory or through the large wooden gate at the side of the yard. There is a big expanse of lawn where peacocks wander and occasionally scream at each other. To the left are banks of shrubs and trees, and a summerhouse where, I suppose, earlier inhabitants used to keep an eye on children playing on the lawns below or scurrying up and down the tree tunnel. Beyond the lawn is the elegant Italian garden, now restored. If you look back across the lawn there is a splendid view of the house, with its crisp, simple lines, that are almost doll’s house-like.

Further paths lead to the bluebell wood, the lake and the arboretum. The lake is really big and must be teeming with life below the surface. A pair of muscovy ducks had it all to themselves when I visited in February. I like the little Victorian boat house, and the absurd, gothic-style potting shed nearby. At the other end of the lake, water flows over a weir, flanked by a pair of tree ferns.

One of the most striking things about the gardens is the height of the trees. It's hard to believe that this sheltered setting is so close to the wind-blasted Lizard peninsula. If you think there aren’t any trees over four feet high in west Cornwall, have a look at Trevarno’s trees – some of them must be well over 100 feet.

Plants are for sale near the car park. The National Museum of Gardening is well worth a visit, with some weird and wacky items aimed at promoting maximum garden with minimum backache. There is a toy collection (for which a small extra charge is made), but be warned, you may feel rather old if you see the toys you played with as a small child! The craft workshops make and sell hand-made items which have some connection with the estate.

Trevarno’s history began in 1246 when it was owned by Randolphus de Trevarno, so it’s hardly surprising that the place has such a mature and settled feel to it.

The Weir, Trevarno

The tree tunnel, Trevarno