Visitors to Cornwall may not be aware just how much earlier spring arrives in Cornwall than in the rest of the UK.
Thanks to its unique micro-climate and warmth from the Gulf Stream, Cornwall’s magical blooming gardens are home to some of the most exciting, rare and beautiful plants and trees in the British Isles.
Cornwall’s gardens can be explored all year round, but the very best time to visit is when Cornish magnolias are in full bloom during the early part of the year. With warmer temperatures hitting Cornwall sooner than the rest of the UK, spring has arrived in England the moment that the Cornish magnolias flower.
Pride of Britain Hotel member, The Nare Hotel, offers some fascinating insight into the progress of the magnolia flower blooms with their very own ‘Spring Bloomometer’.
Each year, six nominated champion magnolia campbellii (or ‘Campbell’s Magnolia’) are monitored in six different Great Gardens of Cornwall, to record the date they come into full bloom. The head gardener at each of the six Great Gardens sends a daily report of their champion magnolia campbellii tree, along with photographs and an all-important bloom count, so that progress can be monitored. The moment that all six champion magnolia trees have flowered, with at least 50 blooms on each, spring has arrived.
In 2021, spring was declared on Friday 26th February, nearly a month before the official first day of spring on 20th March, and much earlier than the rest of Britain.
Get live updates on The Nare’s Bloomometer and follow Cornwall’s spring story as it unfolds for 2022, here.
The six gardens participating in The Nare’s Bloomometer are the best-known, largest, and most historically and horticulturally important gardens in Cornwall. They are:
Situated just south of Falmouth, Trebah is a sub-tropical paradise with a stunning coastal backdrop. There are 26 magical acres of Cornish valley garden with over four miles of footpaths, the result of over 180 years of inspiration and dedication. Explore canopies bursting with exotic blooms, and vibrant tunnels of colour that cascade down to a private secluded beach on the Helford River. In spring, Trebah comes alive with a colourful array of 100-year-old rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias.
Trewidden House & Gardens
Trewidden is a beautiful 15-acre garden situated in the heart of West Cornwall and forming part of the historic Bolitho Estate. Created in the 19th century, Trewidden Garden is a renowned Cornish Spring Garden with extensive collections of camellias, magnolias, azaleas and one of the finest stands of tree ferns in the Northern Hemisphere.
Nestled in a secluded valley above Porthluney Cove, the gardens at Caerhays Castle are one of Britain’s horticultural treasures. Set on the Southwest Coast Path, visitors can explore the beaches of East and West Portholland. Home to the National Magnolia Collection, the gardens are a spring-time wonderland. There is a 100-year-old magnolia tree within the 140 acre woodland gardens, as well as many rhododendrons, camellias and trees which are nationally classed as Champion Trees by the Tree Register.
Thirty years ago, Heligan’s historic gardens were unknown; lost to the brambles of time. Today, the Lost Gardens are pride of place among the finest gardens in England: 200 acres of exotic sub-tropical jungle, atmospheric Victorian pleasure grounds, and an interactive Wildlife Project.
Tregothnan is internationally known as the home of English tea, the only producer growing tea in England, which started with their first harvest in 2005. Twenty years later, there are now up to 20,000 tea bushes planted every year and Tregothnan is known as a luxury tea brand. The flora around the tea includes the famous pink magnolia campbellii that was introduced from Darjeeling in India and often heralds spring in Cornwall before it arrives in Darjeeling!
Trewithen boasts 30 acres of woodland gardens, and more than two hundred acres of parkland. Amongst its many highlights includes the UK’s finest specimen of magnolia campbellii subsp. Mollicomata, introduced from China and standing at over 65 ft high, it is one of the glories of the Garden when it flowers
The current bloom count is 239 out of 300 blooms, so there’s not long to go….
Cornwall’s Spring Story was founded by Toby Ashworth of The Nare Hotel, in collaboration with The Great Gardens of Cornwall. For further information visit: