Several weeks ago we announced a rare opportunity to visit an ancient Cornish garden on Sunday, May 21, when Penheale Manor at Egloskerry, near Launceston, will open its gates. Penheale house and garden were renovated in the 1920s under the direction of Colonel Norman Colville and offer a unique insight into the gardens of 400 years ago, with a style and atmosphere unlike any other garden in Cornwall.
Gardening writers say that to wander through its courtyards is to take a trip back to the days of the Tudors, and there are echoes of still earlier times: the lake extending beyond the walled garden is thought to have been shaped from the remnants of mediaeval stewponds. The estate once hailed as one of the finest and best-preserved specimens of ancient manorial residences in the county lay in ruins when Colonel Colville came to live there in 1920. The restoration of both the house and garden is down to the combined vision and skills of Norman Colville and Edwin Lutyens and, in the years since then, the courtyard and walled gardens have been extended and developed to frame and complement the unique range of buildings. Norman’s son, James Colville, also has a fine eye for detail and continues to improve the planting, the vistas and surrounding landscape
In the beautiful woodland, there are camellias and rhododendrons to delight lovers of Cornish spring gardens – the yew hedges, formal rose garden and sheltered herbaceous borders mean that a visit to Penheale is a treat. From the gatehouse to the courtyard pavilions above the house, and the long, sweeping lake, this is a garden on a grand scale.
Fiona Colville, wife of the owner and trustee to The Charles Causley Trust, had a few words to say on the opening of the gardens:
Although there is never an absolutely perfect time to visit a garden, May is almost as good as it gets – just as the best of spring and summer are merging.
We are delighted to have the chance to share the magic of this beautiful corner of Cornwall which can be enjoyed on so many different levels; as a plantsman, or to appreciate the ‘natural Spring buzz’ or, simply, as an opportunity to unwind for a Sunday afternoon of ‘smelling the roses’, meeting friends and enjoying tea.
By doing so, we are able to support The Charles Causley Trust and help to extend its work and membership. The Trust has taken the lead not only in celebrating Causley, and securing the legacy of our internationally recognised and popular poet – firmly basing it in Launceston – but in perpetuating the inspiration of Charles Causley by encouraging new and emerging literary talent.
In turn, and inevitably, this will confer sensitive benefits on Launceston and its surrounding area – in which we have all chosen to live. What could be better?
Patron of The Trust Patrick Gale shared similar praise for the beauty of Penheale and its gardens:
Penheale has one of those utterly magical Cornish gardens that work in perfect harmony with the distinguished Jacobean house at its centre. From spring shrubs, to roses to an herbaceous border that strikes envy into every gardener that see it, there is something for everyone and romantic atmosphere to spare.
We hope to see as many of you as possible enjoying the gardens in May. You can find more details, including directions and ticket information, on our website event listing or on our Facebook page. We look forward to sharing this beautiful spring event with you all soon.