Caerhays Castle in Cornwall has been named Garden of the Year by the Historic Houses Association which described it as ‘impressive’ and ‘striking’.
The judges particularly praised the garden’s collection of Camellia x williamsii, which dates back to 1923 when it was bred at Caerhays. Caerhays is also one of only four gardens in Britain to hold a National Magnolia Collection, with 72 species of magnolia in full bloom in early summer.
‘A woodland garden like Caerhays never stands still and is never ‘complete’, but this is certainly a key moment in the history and development of the plant collections here,’ commented the gardens’ owner, Charles Williams.
It’s the second time Caerhays has been in the news recently: in February Charles Williams presented flowers at Downing Street to announce the official arrival of spring. The beginning of spring is declared when six named Magnolia x campbellii trees at gardens across Cornwall flower with over 50 blooms. Representatives of the gardens travel to Downing Street with Cornish MPs to present a bouquet of magnolias.
This year the official start of spring was declared on the 10 February – a full three weeks before spring began in 2015 (on 3 March) and the earliest spring since the tradition began.