EXPLORING CORNWALL: TREGOTHNAN ESTATE & GARDENS

by - July 14, 2019

girl in white dress walks along road bordered by tall green trees

gdpr note; #ad #giftedpartnership - day with tregothnan estate and gardens is a gifted collaboration 



Tregothnan’s beautiful and mysterious gardens are only open to the public once a year each spring, though you can book a private tour throughout the rest of the year – and it is absolutely worth a peek…

Not only are the Estate’s endless gardens home to some of England’s rarest plants, a private deer park, ponds, and bee hives, but it also houses England’s only tea plantation! My tour of the garden was so fascinating, every corner hid a snippet of thrilling history or plant-magic. I truly do love exploring hidden gems like Tregothnan, and learning as I wander.

girl in white dress walks along road bordered by tall green trees

People travel from all across Cornwall to purchase Christmas trees from Tregothnan in the winter time, but there are so many secrets tucked away behind the closed, white gates. You begin your journey by strolling along a winding road framed by impressively tall trees, before finding yourself at the welcome area and mini coffee shop/store (Christmas trees on the left!). Naturally, when visiting a tea plantation, you need to start the experience with a cuppa, and so I trialled a cup of Tregothnan’s home grown Early Grey. What really caught my attention about their blends is that they use no oils and no nasty tannings… these tend to leave that filmy residue on the top of your tea, like many major brand’s tea bags do! Tregothnan’s produce is all natural. The tea leaves are picked from various spots around the estate at dawn, dried, blended with other home grown herbs and florals, and boxed with their chic and classic packing. Perfect!

I have previously sampled their English Breakfast blend, and on the way back I tried their Afternoon blend. Their teas are so natural and fresh that you really don’t need to add sugar or milk to enhance the flavour. The reason we add sugar and/or milk to tea at home, is because the vastly commercial tea bag blends can be pretty bitter, in fact, I learnt that sugar and milk were introduced to tea many many moons ago when tea first became popular in England. It was such a luxury product that cheaper, faux, disgusting, concoctions were made and sold unknowingly to customers, and these not so nice ‘blends’ were mixed with milk and sugar to cover up the grim flavours. If you didn’t know, we pinched tea from China, and their blends are so pure, like Tregothnan’s, that no flavourings are needed to soften bitter vibes, and after travelling to many spots around the globe I very quickly realised that England seems to be the only place that adds milk to tea. Asking for milk has gifted me with some very, very odd looks in other countries, especially elsewhere in Europe.

a girl in a white dress stands in a bluebell field (without flowers), with tall, green trees on either side

From here, the guided tour of the gardens begins, and you’ll find yourself walking along just a fraction of Europe’s longest driveway, toward a grand, seemingly never-ending house… it was truly like stepping into a period drama. As I glanced right, some horses appeared from the adjacent stable garden – hello Hallmark romance movie! The house itself is home to the Boscawen family, and is entirely private… no photos allowed! The estate dates all the way back to 1334, and is located near the sea port of Falmouth.

Lots of ocean expeditions to other lands used to carry plant specimens back to Tregothnan via Falmouth, and the grounds house some of the world’s largest camellias and rhododendrons dating back to over 200 years ago. Tregothnan is also home to the world’s only camellia labyrinth, which you’ll find hidden away between sections of the garden. Apparently deer do love to wander into the labyrinth, so take care when exploring!

girl in red dress stands above still pond, surrounded by green trees, grass, and yellow and white flowers

So why is Tregothnan the only tea plantation in England, what’s the secret? Ok, so here’s where my inner nerd and outer tea lover can get super nerdy and excited together…

Tea is a type of Camellia, the Camellia Sinesis to be exact, and as we already know, Tregothnan is pretty well established in growing and caring for the ornamental variety. 200 years of practice comes in handy. In 1999 the head gardener at the time planted an experimental tea garden in a sheltered area of the estate. It took six years of love and care before the plants could be harvested… the longest ever wait for a cup of tea, surely?! But worth it! Tregothnan is now home to around 150 acres of tea plant. Now here’s the magical part…

As you explore the gardens you may notice a little shift in the atmosphere! I stepped from one section of the garden to another, and it genuinely felt a little warmer. The river Fal runs through the estate and gardens, and provides Tregothnan with some interesting, unique, pockets of atmosphere – they have their own micro climate! Whilst the ornamental variety of camellia are found across many English gardens, different varieties of the tea plant thrive in climates best suited to them… so as the climate varies from spot to spot, you have to plant tea that is best suited to each climate. Tregothnan’s team of clever, clever botanists and gardeners now care for a range of tea plants that can be found across the gardens. I’d love a little tea bush amongst my vegetable and herb garden!

But wait, it gets better… not only do they grow tea plants, but they also grow a wide range of plants, flowers, and herbs that are blended with their tea leaves, and can create bespoke blends on request. Some of the tea plants are even surrounded by Manuka bushes, and are also blended with the tea leaves, and the flowers for honey!

a girl in a red dress stands in the middle of a tea plantation, surrounded by tall, green trees

Tregothnan really is one incredible, self-sustaining, working estate.  If you have a plant lover or botanist in the family, or simply love roaming around pretty gardens in any season, Tregothnan is such a unique spot to explore. The estate allows bookings for private tours of the grounds, bee-keeping classes, flower arranging workshops, and in depth tea workshops. Thank you so much for having me!

Claudia xo

Tregothnan Estate & Gardens: tregothnan.co.uk



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4 comments

  1. Obsessed with your breezy dress snaps! The landscape is gorgeous.

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    1. Ahh thank you!! It's such a dreamy, floaty dress!

      Claudia xo

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  2. This sounds like a must do!!!

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    Replies
    1. It's such a great private garden to explore! I'd love to go back and try their bee keeping experience!

      Claudia xo

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