Trelissick Garden, Cornwall

St Mawes, Cornwall

St Mawes

Not a bad view from your table for lunch.

The weather has been glorious for almost a month now. Hot with barely a cloud in the sky. Not the best scenario for the temperate garden maybe, nor its withering gardener.. we’re just not used to this in Devon. Where’s the rain? But it felt wrong to miss the opportunity for a day out. Especially with the next renovation project looming and knowing full well that we’ll be confined to barracks for the next three weeks at least.



King Harry Ferry

It also happened to be our wedding anniversary. So where does the romantic husband take his water phobic wife for a carefree and relaxing excursion? On a boat. Well of course he does. It’s the quickest way by far to get across the Carrick Roads and there’s a garden on the other side. I can still hear him saying it..



To be fair to Mike, as regular readers may recall I’ve cracked the chain ferry thing in recent years (here). It didn’t stop me having an extra large glass of wine with lunch though I can tell you. Anaesthetic. Just in case. The Dearly Beloved took the picture above, from the front rail of the ferry.

While he was away a nice man with a ticket machine came to the car for the fare. “Single or return?” I may have confirmed the former option a little too emphatically.



This chap was well settled in on the upper deck. He goes back and forth all day.

Even if they did have to handcuff him to do it.



But there is hardly any movement and to be honest I didn’t even realise we’d started the crossing until I happened to glance out sideways. The river view, on first appearances, has much in common with that last experience on the Australian Daintree with the forest reaching down to the water on either side. It’s about the same distance too although this boat takes longer to get across. Or that’s how it seemed. Here you’re allowed out of the car. I managed the short walk to the side of the ferry where the curious passenger can peer down a glass covered hole in the floor if she chooses and see the chains passing through. Oh my. No crocodiles though. I take my comfort where I can.



Trelissick House

The estate has been under the ownership of the National Trust since 1955 on condition that the family be allowed to continue to live in the house. Thus, while the gardens have been available to the public for many years it’s only since 2014 that the house has been open too. The then incumbent, William Copeland, decided to downsize and move his young family to a ‘normal sized’ house nearby, auctioning off the contents including many antiques. The National Trust acquired some of these to restock the house but it’s fair to say it has still lost much of its ‘lived in’ feel.



The view from the terrace. Not one I’d find easy to leave.



As with so many of the gardens on the south Cornish coast the borders have a tropical feel.



A none-too-brilliant shot of Impatiens tinctoria. The breeze got up!

It does show how much the West Country needs rain. Almost unbearable to see plants wilting so heavily: this was the only perky bloom I could find.



Better luck in the shade. In Cornwall hydrangeas are often to be found in this particularly vibrant shade of blue.



Trelissick is renowned for its shrubs and trees. The rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias are almost out of their season now but the woodland walks are still truly spectacular. And a welcome relief on such a hot day.



Mahoosive monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana)



 And Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa)



Jack Lilley’s summerhouse, with views back across the river. The estate is situated on its own peninsular, there is water on three sides.



The Water Tower

It even has its own fairy tale castle.. where you can actually stay! Four floors, one room per floor. Next time maybe. And yes, there is a land route. The same one I’d called up on the sat nav for the homeward journey..


2018-07-11T11:55:20+00:00July 11th, 2018|Tags: |


  1. derrickjknight July 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    A fine photo story

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks Derrick.

  2. London Cottage Garden July 11, 2018 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Lovely to see your pictures of the sea while I’m sitting here in London, as I’m not likely to get to Cornwall. Off to Yorkshire next week but no seaside there either. Those blue skies and blue sea look so lovely and cool.

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      It’s usually cooler on the coast isn’t it, but it didn’t feel like it that day! Have a good time in Yorkshire.

  3. Caroline July 11, 2018 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    Wow, what a beautiful place, you’re so lucky to have it on your doorstep. I wouldn’t want to leave!

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      Apparently I’ve been to Trelissick before, many years ago, but I have to say I don’t remember it at all. It would’ve been good to have had more time in St Mawes but that’s the trouble with day trips, always pressed for time.

  4. hb July 11, 2018 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Lovely! The condition of the lawn shows how dry it has been. You are not saying you miss endless rain, are you? ;^) I “Tropical”…to these SoCal eyes, it seems to say “New Zealand”. (A NZ-er would laugh at that, probably.)

    Amazing Cupressus macrocarpa; they don’t get that big here!

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      That tree was amazing. Took me a while to track it down online and was surprised to find it’s one of yours! It doesn’t seem to mind the rain. Dare I say, I am beginning to miss it. But after an hour or so I will be complaining about it again you can be sure.

  5. Peter Herpst July 11, 2018 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Happy anniversary! A gorgeous garden and wonderful place to celebrate your special day.

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks Peter.

  6. Jayne Hill July 11, 2018 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Happy anniversary, what a wonderful garden to visit.
    I hope your place is faring better than ours – barely 1mm rain since the beginning of May and I just cannot water it all. Pretty certain we have already lost one youngish tree and wonder how much more will not have survived.

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      Even established shrubs are wilting here now. As you say, we can’t get everywhere with the hose. The plants in the areas with irrigation are generally surviving but hardly thriving. A few rain spots on the forecast for next week but we’ve seen those before this summer.

  7. An Eye For Detail July 11, 2018 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Oh, I loved seeing all this! Trelissick has been on my wish list for a few years, and as I have never been to Cornwall (!!) I have had to dream. But next June it is! We went to Isle of Wight a few weeks ago and loved the gardens, the views, and just about everything. But next June we will definitely be in Cornwall so I am bookmarking this post. Thank you!!!

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Hurray! I hope the weather will be as kind to you as it has been this year. A couple more for your list, all in the same sort of area: Trebah (here) and Glendurgan (here), conveniently all in the same sort of area. Of the three, Trebah is my favourite.

  8. Rebecca July 11, 2018 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Happy anniversary! Such a pretty place. The water was a beautiful blue and I loved the gardens. So many fun tropical plants mixed into everything. Hope rain arrives soon!

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      I couldn’t believe the colour of the water, stunning isn’t it. Made even me want to get in it, but then it was a very hot day!

  9. Kris P July 11, 2018 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Happy anniversary! The trip was well-worth confronting your fear of water for. (Does this mean you don’t swim either? It’s one of the best ways to beat the heat!) I’m always surprised when I see tropical plants in the UK but I’ve come to believe that you can grow anything and everything there.

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      No, I don’t swim. Paddle about well within my depth but that’s about it. I have been following the story of the Thai cave boys with my heart in my mouth. It would be my ultimate nightmare, being claustrophobic as well. But then I would never have gone in there in the first place.

  10. snowbird July 11, 2018 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful way to spend an anniversary, loved the photos and that you took the boat! Yay! I’m hoping to go to Cornwall for a week this year, the views from Poldark may have inspired me! You won’t find any perky blooms here either. Happy

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Now don’t go expecting that all the men down here go about bare chested and carry scythes.. or that they look remotely like Poldark. If only!

  11. Heyjude July 12, 2018 at 12:14 am - Reply

    Trelissick is so lovely, time for another visit. I don’t think I have ever been in the summer months. And St Mawes looks beautiful too. And quiet. It won’t be in a couple of weeks time! Just when I was thinking I needed to buy plants suitable for a bog garden this happens! Lush green Cornwall is a dusty yellow khaki colour! I am sure the rain will arrive with the beginning of the school holidays!!

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      I must admit the school holidays tend to be for staying at home and getting things done, everywhere else is far too crowded. The impending renovation work is well timed. September is usually nice though and by then we might even have had some rain! Seems odd to see the green disappearing doesn’t it.

  12. janesmudgeegarden July 12, 2018 at 5:29 am - Reply

    What a lovely garden visit, worth the sea trip, I’m sure, in the end. The view from the terrace is enticing and the lawn there could almost be a Australian lawn! Happy Anniversary!

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:52 pm - Reply

      It’s very Australian weather at the moment. Clear blue sky every day which is most unusual. When the sun disappears I look up to see what’s happening.. oh, a cloud, well I never!

  13. Anna July 12, 2018 at 8:18 am - Reply

    Oh that must have been a grand day out Jessica. Happy Anniversary to both of you! I have a fear of flying which has meant that I’ve spent my life earthbound. Well done to you for taking to the waters xxx

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anna. I sympathise. There are places I will never get to go. Antarctica, the Galapagos, the Maldives, the first two quite a regret really.

  14. Jacqueline Mumford July 12, 2018 at 8:35 am - Reply

    What beautiful photographs Jessica and such lovely gardens … all looking very lush in spite of the glorious weather we are enjoying. Monkey puzzle tree always remind me of my childhood ….. where we lived there were many Victorian/ Edwardian houses and many had monkey puzzle trees in their front gardens …… I think that the monkey puzzle tree was the thing to have in those days ! Happy anniversary to you both and hope you are still celebrating ! XXXX

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:02 pm - Reply

      They look such vicious trees, I dare say I’d end up with even more injuries if I had one. I like to see them though, from a distance!

  15. Susan Garrett July 12, 2018 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Yorkshire gardens need rain too everything looks so subdues and the grass is nothing like green just like the grass in your photos. I’m also sure that the sun is bleaching the flowers

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      The flowers are certainly not lasting as long as they usually do. The first rose flush was over very quickly and my poor cornus trees are looking very sad.

  16. Charles July 12, 2018 at 11:36 am - Reply

    I used to work in the Namib desert in Namibia, and parts of Somerset are doing an excellent impersonation of parched savannah, including my lawn. I water the veg patch, my pots and the greenhouse, I also give some to the more stressed looking plants. On the other hand the weather is glorious and it would be churlish to moan. If this is 1976 again then that was 42 years ago. I would have to make it to 100 to see another one and with my bad habits I hope to be long gone before then! The fishing is dreadful which is a problem but then into every life some rain must fall….but when?

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:13 pm - Reply

      The soil here is much like a desert in parts. Just dust. The rest is baked solid. The river at the bottom of the garden has reduced to about 5 inches at the deepest point so I can understand the fish having a problem. Haven’t seen a heron in weeks so I imagine he’s hungry too.

  17. emilymbrown13 July 12, 2018 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    Aha, down my neck of the woods! Trelissick is lovely but I know what you mean about the house. We saw it during the auction process and some of the stuff that was sold off was spectacular, but should have stayed with the house really. Did you get to Lamorran House Gardens in St Mawes while you were down? It’s a small garden that slopes steeply to the sea and is jammed full of jungly loveliness and lush planting. Maybe one for next time. Glad you enjoyed your visit and Happy Anniversary.

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      I would imagine the sale proceeds from the contents went some way to fund the move. But it has left something of a shell, we left feeling rather sad. I’d like to have spent a lot more time in St Mawes than we did, it’s a lovely place so I’m sure we’ll be back. Lamorran House Gardens sound wonderful and it’s always interesting to see how other people manage steeply sloping sites! Had lunch at Tresanton, the food was lovely but the service very slow, further adding to the pressure of time.

  18. Mary July 12, 2018 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    Turquoise blue everywhere–even the hydrangeas almost seem the same colour. A beautiful day (water phobia aside) in a wonderful location with great photos. Hoping the wine and the occasion made it worth it. Happy Anniversary (at least after you metaphorically bonked Mike on the head for the water ride).

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks Mary. Yes, definitely worth it and certainly cracked chain ferries now. On the signage they call it a ‘floating bridge’.. sounds better than a boat!

  19. germac4 July 13, 2018 at 12:59 am - Reply

    Gorgeous gardens &, as you said, very tropical looking. I love the monkey puzzle tree, we have a small forest of them in the arboretum here in Canberra. I know what you mean about the forest meeting the sea…. Looks similar to the Daintree, you don’t see that very often. Happy anniversary!

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:35 pm - Reply

      The first thing that struck me (after ‘Oh heck, we’re moving…”) was how similar the view was to the Daintree. Other side of the world, entirely different climate, and yet it looked the same. Bizarre.

  20. wherefivevalleysmeet July 13, 2018 at 10:40 am - Reply

    A lovely way to spend your anniversary – Trelissick is a Cornish favourite of mine, and I actually enjoy taking the boat ferry to get there – I think that it added a touch of extra romance for your grand day out.

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      I would do the ferry again, it doesn’t feel like a boat at all. Also there was hardly any queue, so a very quick crossing.

  21. offtheedgegardening July 13, 2018 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    Fabulous! And well done you, we will made a seafarer of you yet x

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      You won’t. Absolutely not. Mike had originally suggested going to Lundy. Can you imagine.. I got as far as checking out the helicopter but it doesn’t fly in summer.

  22. offtheedgegardening July 13, 2018 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    ps Happy anniversary!

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      Thanks Gill x

  23. wherethejourneytakesme July 13, 2018 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Happy Anniversary Jessica- lovely day out. I smiled when I saw the King Harry Ferry – I went on it on a holiday once when I was about 14 we saw the signpost and followed it to see what it was and then before we knew it we were on the ferry crossing to the other side – my dad always liked an adventure. I could never quite remember where it was as we toured the whole of the UK with the caravan at one time or another – so now I know!

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      If you approach it from the St Mawes side you find yourself in the ferry queue with no way out, other than doing a 27 point turn in the middle of the narrow road. That’s unfair I think. There should be an escape route.

  24. Jess July 14, 2018 at 10:43 am - Reply

    What a beautiful place for your anniversary! I love those blue hydrangeas that they have in Cornwall. Mine are mauvey blue and I live near Brixham, I think it must be the soil that determines the colour. I’d love to have turquoise ones! x

    • Jessica July 14, 2018 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      It is the soil. When we moved here there was a rather garish pink one on the terraces which I shifted to the woodland, where I would see it less! Over the years it has gradually gone through pink/mauve to mauve/blue and this year it’s almost true blue. The soil on the woodland floor is more acidic. Turquoise might be too much of an ask, but it would be lovely!

  25. ginaferrari July 19, 2018 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    It is beautiful… worth braving the boat to get there. There seems to be a lot more green than here in the east where everything is yellow and dry.

    • Jessica July 21, 2018 at 10:14 pm - Reply

      We’ve had a couple of bouts of drizzly rain but not enough to stop our lawn going yellow. Just enough to stimulate the weeds back into growth!

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