The Power of the Flower

There are loads of places in the county that I’ve never been to and today we found one. It wasn’t hiding and we weren’t the only ones to ‘discover’ it but nevertheless it was a discovery as far as I’m concerned. This afternoon we found Trengwainton (courtesy of our National Trust handbook). It was lurking up the back of Penzance beyond Heamoor and close to Madron hiding in plain sight. A grand, wide gateway with white painted railings and a pair of lodges either side greet you at the foot of the driveway. DSC_0010You don’t get to sweep into the driveway like some kind of movie star mind. We went and parked with the other beaten up Volvo’s in the overflow parking ’round the corner. On the way to the parking you pass a well/ stream where I kid you not there was a chap who’d come just to wash his car for free! Well equipped with bucket, sponge and Turtle Wax he was buffing away like a good’n! The Pirates of Penzance live on apparently and this Ford Fiesta was getting a right good swashbuckling sans water meter thank you very much. The usual NT drill follows with scanning of card,free map and trying to get the kids through the gift shop without acquiring any more middle England approved plastic tat.

We’re through the checkpoint without tears, breakages or recriminations of any kind…

We’re through the checkpoint without tears, breakages or recriminations of any kind (we once had an incident where they confiscated my then five year old son’s new ball at the gate for fear that he may have enjoyed it in a manor unbecoming of a Trust property). On the inside there’s an exciting network of easy paths – not muddy and all very well maintained. The paths crisscross the driveway which will eventually reveal the property (which is apparently still owned and occupied by the Bolitho family who’s Cornish roots stretch back into the mists of time and whose name conjours up images of wealthy bankers in the days when Cornwall was peppered with lucrative Tin mines and their associated engineering and distribution networks). The garden is amazing and I think we hit it about right in mid March although it’s certainly one of those that will keep on surprising throughout the year.

Camelia, rododendron and magnolia adorn the deep British Racing Green backdrop with electric pinks, pure whites and vibrant yellows. Such a variety that even the least knowledgable plant philistine like me can’t fail to be excited. We really noticed the perfume of the flowers around the garden too! IMG_9907There’s a stream adding interest and this is punctuated by little bridges, ponds with lilies and tall 20ft tree ferns stooped over like old gentlemen poised to tell you about what they’ve witnessed over the years.

tall 20ft tree ferns stooped over like old gentlemen poised to tell you about what they’ve witnessed over the years

The kitchen garden is large and has a high brick wall with pretty arched doorways into it. I do love a walled garden. IMG_9904There’s something exciting about a place that’s hidden from view behind a twenty foot brick wall and when you enter to find such an orderly and well thought out growing space frozen in time it fires the imagination with thoughts of bygone times when salad was salad! This particular walled garden was constructed apparently to the dimensions of Noah’s Ark!? I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when they came up with that idea…DSC_0041.jpg

The main house is a fine Cornish seat but perhaps reminding me a little bit too much of my prep school at Treliske for me to truly appreciate. Imposing, granite, grand and with outstanding sea views its the kind of place us estate agents dream of getting our hands on to market! Here you don’t get a hand or a foot on or in it as it’s still in use so instead we admired from afar and moved on past the Ha Ha to the terrace which is a beautiful level viewing area with fabulous vistas of Mount’s Bay including a peak through the trees to the mount. We rested a while and looked at the sculpture which has various names of the family and places as well as images of local icons like a fishing boat a mermaid and a scythe etc. We then wove a different path back through the gardens and down the driveway back to the main gate. Once again we manoeuvred the kids through the shop with my wallet intact and even skilfully avoided the tea rooms (which actually looked pretty good). We’ll be back later in the year to see for sure…DSC_0031.jpg



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