A Valentine’s Day Walk

It wasn’t a deliberate decision to go out on Valentine’s Day as we don’t bother with it, but we had to pop out into St Ives anyway and since it was turning into a lovely sunny day we decided to drive over to Trebah Garden on the Helford river for lunch and a walk in the garden. Lunch was a delight, though the service very slow and I was itching to get into the garden. One Cornish fishcake with poached egg and rocket and one Mediterranean flan with salad later and we were off. Looking for snowdrops, camellias and the magnificent magnolia for which the garden is famous, as well as the delicious spicy fragrance of the Sarcococca confusa (Sweet Box) which surrounds Alice’s Seat.

Heading anti-clockwise around the garden the first thing to catch my eye outside the Visitor’s Centre was this Jasmine which was full of buds. If mine looked like this I might be more tempted to keep it!

Continuing along the Lawn Walk, which was bathed in sunshine and from where you get a view over the valley and down to the Mallard Pond and out to sea, we admired the many succulents which  love this area and where  Agaves, Aloes and Aeoniums sunbathe on the terrace keeping their sharp spikes well away from passing folk.

We made our way carefully down through the water garden because it was wet and somewhat slippery, stopping to photograph the views before heading upwards along Stuart Hill to the Stumpery.

On this upper level you get lovely views over the valley floor. Camellias, daffodils, berberis and mahonia grow on the banks alongside the path and there are plenty of benches to sit and rest or admire the views if you should so wish to. The Camellias range from the purest white (Cornish Snow) to pale pink, cerise and crimson. Some are flecked or bi-coloured, some single or double. Trebah has a collection of over 500 Camellias and February is the beginning of its main flowering season.

The main attraction though is the giant Magnolia Cambellii (Giant Pink Tulip Tree) at the top of the Chilean Coomb. This tree comes from the Himalayas and is covered with a a spreading canopy of rose-pink blooms, some of which are up to 25cm in diameter. It takes many years to flower, but once it does…

Joseph Hooker described these magnolias as: “the noblest species of the genus in every respect”

From the amphitheatre we descended to the Davidia Walk alongside the Gunneras which at present look like alien bodies in a war zone, though they are beginning to green up again. The path follows the Hydrangea Valley to the Mallard Pond and where the garden swings round to circle back on the eastern side of the pond. The hydrangeas look magnificent in the low sunlight even with the dead heads. This is the time to cut off those heads to a pair of new buds and cut out any dead or diseased wood. A big job for the gardeners in this garden.

Now we were in the sunshine and it was pleasantly warm. This is a sheltered garden, unlike my windy spot on the hill. Snowdrops and Evergreen Azaleas look pretty on this side of the pond and here you find the superb Magnolia doltsopa ‘Silver Cloud’ (the header photo) which is covered in bronze furry buds and pure white tropically scented flowers.

After passing the Bamboozle where you find several species of bamboo ranging from golden stems to almost black we turned to go uphill once again towards Alice’s Seat – a lovely thatched seating area – admiring hellebores on the bank and smelling the scent of the Sweet Box long before we could see it. Although the flowers are tiny the smell is divine.

We returned to the Visitor’s Centre along Camellia Walk just in time to grab a deserved cup of coffee just before the restaurant closed. Trebah is one of my favourite gardens and very popular in the summer months, but for now we locals can enjoy it in relative peace. Note that until the middle of March there is no beach access as work is being carried out to improve a step free access.

If you like a stroll, long or short, you might enjoy joining Restless Jo, who always walks on a Monday.


  1. Lignum Draco says:

    A lovely selection of scenic photos, Jude. You were blessed with fine weather that day.

    1. Heyjude says:

      It was as though spring had arrived! A gorgeous day. Been a bit hit and miss since.

  2. Sadje says:

    It looks heavenly. Sitting on that bench and seeing all that beauty. Thanks for sharing

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is a gorgeous garden in all seasons. Always something to see.

      1. Sadje says:

        I should put it on my list of places to visit.

  3. Sue says:

    What a delightful place, Jude!

    1. Heyjude says:

      One of my favourite gardens. If it was NT then I’d visit more often, thankfully at this time of year it is half price entry.

  4. pommepal says:

    I loved this walk with you jude and the magnolias are truly magnificent. Love the names of the areas too, stumpery and bamboozled. A garden worthy of many visits

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is a lovely garden and they have a nice restaurant too. We might pop over tomorrow if the sun shines and go for lunch at a pub on the river.

      1. pommepal says:

        That sounds good

  5. restlessjo says:

    Glorious, Jude! Will enjoy it properly later as I’m squinting in the sun right now. A nice man was just here to measure for an awning. At the same time as you were there we were double dating with Becky and Robert😎🌹🐦🍰💕 xx .

  6. bushboy says:

    Thank you for a lovely walk Jude. But pray tell, what is a Stumpery?

    1. Heyjude says:

      A stumpery is a sort of rock garden made by using dead tree stumps. The one in this garden has lots of tree ferns too. I shall take a photo of it on my next visit 🙂

      1. bushboy says:

        Now that would be a treat to see. Thanks for the explanation……it really had me stumped 😀

  7. Lynn says:

    We are buried under snow here so looking at all of these lush green colours is so refreshing! Looks like a beautiful spot to visit.

    1. Heyjude says:

      You can keep the snow Lyn! I am more than happy to see colour returning 🙂

  8. Wow wonderful nature! Thank you 🌱🌸

  9. Joanne Sisco says:

    I love February in your part of the world 💕

  10. Irene says:

    Enjoy the walk through the garden. Thanks for bringing color into my day since we are covered in white snow. 😊

    1. Heyjude says:

      Seems like a lot of people have snow right now, I am so glad that we don’t!

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