Devon & Cornwall have their fair share of spectacular scenic gardens even if there are few that can match the grandeur of the majestic gardens in other parts of the country. This weekend allowed short but rewarding visits to two different gardens at the opposite end of the spectrum although they were less than an hour’s drive from each other.
The National Trust Overbecks Garden perched on a headland at the mouth of the Salcombe Estuary in Devon is surely one of the most beautiful if compact gardens in the South West. Covering seven acres it contains mature exotic specimen plants from all over the world and possesses some outstanding Magnolias. A visit in March this year was disappointing as the nationally renowned Magnolia Campbelli “ Overbecks” with its own cultivar name (see Blog March 2011) as all the blooms had been killed off by the severe frosts and prolonged severe weather. It was therefore a treat to see the remaining mature magnolias located in different parts of the garden in full bloom albeit somewhat late in the season. The exotic subtropical setting of the magnolias amongst Echiums and tall Chusan Palms in the warm sunshine was more reminiscent of Madeira than south Devon.
In contrast but in many ways just as spectacular was a private visit the day before to a minor Cornish garden where the rhododendrons were at their peak in the most striking of bright colours. The image shown here is of a ruby red flower which along with many other varied colours seemed much more intense than in previous years. The coming week’s weather is unlikely to be as good as that which most parts of the country have experienced recently but if these sunny days continue it will provide a short lived opportunity to see these vibrant colours in all their glory in gardens near you before the season inevitably moves on.
Make the most of it while it lasts!