The botanical gardens in Cornwall were first described back in 1695 by intrepid traveller, Celia Fiennes, in her book ‘Through England on a Side-Saddle’ when visiting Hugh Boscawen, her kinsman by marriage. The character of the present garden was defined by Evelyn Boscawen, the sixth Viscount Falmouth, and his brother, the Honourable and Reverend John Townshend Boscawen, the rector of nearby Lamorran. They brought rhododendrons, rare trees, shrubs and camellia plants into the garden over a hundred years ago – thought to be the earliest plantings of camellias in the open.
Canon Arthur Boscawen of Ludgvan Rectory, the son of the Rector of Lamorran, also introduced many new plants to the garden in the early years of the last century. The present Lord Falmouth’s grandmother was a distinguished gardener who, for many years, was Chairman of the Swanley Horticultural College for Ladies. Lord Falmouth’s mother was also a knowledgeable botanist and they added to the beautiful and rare plants at Tregothnan.
The late Lady Falmouth, who started life as a horticultural student at Studley College in Warwickshire, became a working gardener and continued this long tradition and in turn the Honourable Evelyn Boscawen is now in residence and continuing the tradition with dynamism.
As a private botanic garden and arboretum Tregothnan is unequalled, offering a diversity of plants and trees, rare collections, sweeping vistas and peaceful secluded groves. Plants collected during recent expeditions to Japan and South America give the gardens truly international feel. The garden is an official ‘safe site’ for the keeping of rare or endangered trees from all over the world.
The garden holds some ‘Red Book’ endangered plants and trees which are larger than any remaining in the wild. Plants from trips to Japan and South America in 2007 add excitement to the garden. The only known surviving example of a Wardian case, a travelling greenhouse first seen in the late 1800s, can be found at Tregothnan and pays testament to a long and enduring history of botanical collecting.
Whilst the botanical garden remains private, the open garden weekend each year offers the chance to visit the gardens for 3 days of the year only.