Glendurgan Gardens, National Trust Cornwall

Glendurgan Gardens, National Trust Cornwall

Glendurgan Gardens are beside Trebah on the Helford River in Cornwall, the steep sheltered valley of Glendurgan harbours a 30 acre garden with a gloriously lush display of trees and flowers. The famous cherry laurel maze of 1833 has been restored. In 1962 Glendurgan was donated to the National Trust by Cuthbert and Philip Fox.

Alfred Fox built an unpretentious, now creeper-clad, house at the top of the valley, looking out over open land towards the Helford River. The house is still privately occupied and not open to the public.

Glendurgan is one of the great sub-tropical gardens of the South West, with many exotic and rare trees and shrubs growing here. In Spring camellias, azaleas, magnolias, rhododendrons, camellias and wild flowers. In summer Bentham's cornel in the valley slopes, hydrangeas, eucryphias, aquilegias and foxgloves.

Glendurgan Gardens were created by Albert Fox around 1826. Three subsequent generations of the family carried on the gardening at Glendurgan. It would also appear that it was his bothers that started Trebah Garden (Charles Fox) and Penjerrick Garden (Robert Were Fox). It is only a few miles away from the Fal estuary, a deep-water harbour that provided the Fox family with a convenient way of importing plants from all over the world. His family had established a thriving shipping company in nearby Falmouth during the 18th century.

It is in one of the three valleys which converge at Durgan. And the valley drops down to the tiny village of Durgan and its beach. Many of the fine old trees that still exist today were planted by Alfred Fox, including the two splendid tulip trees below the house. He was laid out the serpentine twisting paths.

An interesting nook is Holy Corner containing plants associated with the Bible like a yew, a tree of heaven, an olive, a tree of thorns and a Judas tree. A tropical garden displays bamboo, tree ferns and 'Gunnera manicata', with huge umbrella-like leaves.

The laurel maze, dating from 1833, the winding silvery-grey hedges of the maze are on a slope and are in the shape of a serpent curled up in the grass.

National Trust in Cornwall

Historic Gardens in Cornwall

Glendurgan: A Personal Memoir of a Garden in Cornwall Charles Fox

 

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