Welcome to Pinetum Gardens
In the heart of St Austell, discover Pinetum Gardens, a place of tranquillity, peace and remarkable garden scenery. This family-owned garden offers an intimate experience with a personal touch, rarely found in our busy world.
Lovingly created over the past four decades, this 30-acre garden is home to one of the largest plant collections in the county. Set within stunning parkland, ten individually themed garden rooms host an array of plants. We are also home to some of the county’s most spectacular champion trees.
A garden for all seasons, it is a botanical delight for gardeners; a wonderful retreat for walkers and a place for families to explore and have fun with nature
About Us – 40 years in the making
Sir Alan Dalton, Chairman of English China Clays and a much-loved figure in the business and public life of his adopted county of Cornwall.
From left to right: Chang Li, Ray and Shirley Clemo. The Clemo’s were the principle creators of the gardens, Shirley is an expert plantswoman and was awarded an MBE in 2011 for this garden.
Chang Li. Introduced elements of Eastern influence, enhanced the visitor experience, and a desire for the gardens to be enjoyed by the community.
- Cornish Cottage Garden
- Japanese Garden
- Courtyard Garden
- Sunken garden
- The Pinetum
- Old Garden
- Water Garden
- Winter Garden
- Woodland garden
OverviewThis 30-acre estate comprises of several gardens within the one, forming the back-drop to a stunning range of over 6000 types of plants, most of which are labelled. Wandering through the original part of the garden large trunks and branches shrubs give a feel of maturity and discovery as you happen across various object d’art. In stark contrast you eventually break through to open park land, lake and mature oaks reminiscent of Capability Brown’s English landscape style. Then behind you lies the Japanese garden complete with authentic tea pavilion. The Gardens are home to several Champion Trees. A Champion Tree has to have been officially measured by the Tree Register and is declared a champion for either being the tallest of their type or for having the largest diameter.
ArboretumThis Arboretum was planted in 1982 after first removing the remains of a fir plantation and then growing a season of potatoes to clean the soil. The trees and a few rhododendrons around the perimeter are now beginning to mature. This is a very restful place and visitors love to walk through and sit on the conveniently situated seats to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the area. Don’t Miss:
- Among the firs there is a beautifully shaped Abies Koreana with its striking blue cones.
- Bark spotting – the Prunus Serrula with its wonderful red bark set against the cream bark of Betula Costata and the white bark of Betula Jacquemontii.
- Autumn scent – A ring of several Clerodendrum Trichotomum with their powerful scent fill the air in Autumn, and the glorious colour of the acers and parrotia go out in a blaze at the end of the season.
Cornish Cottage GardenSituated behind the original Sir Alan Dalton Suite, the Cornish Cottage Garden contains many perennials backed with shrubs – a real cottage garden combination of herbaceous, bulbs, shrubs, trees, ferns and climbers. Colour plays an important part in gardens and the beds have been planted with this in mind. Spot the statues around the Cottage Garden. There are two water features, the smaller pond often home to rare newts which can breed safely. Bordering the pond are plants that enjoy a damp environment including deep red astilbes, pale iris and hostas. Don’t Miss
- Spring Scent – seek out the fernery, just off the cottage garden, which has two trees of daphne that fill the air with a delightful, overpowering scent. There are plenty of seats enticing visitors to sit and contemplate upon the peaceful nature of the surroundings.
- Summer colour – Discover the water feature with it’s deep purple iris and pure white zantedescdias.
Japanese GardenThis Skakkei garden (meaning borrowed scenery) is the result of detailed and careful planning following a visit to the very beautiful gardens of Kyoto in Japan. While in Japan, different forms of gardens were studied and plans of one garden were obtained. The original garden owners also visited the Kyoto botanical gardens and made friends with one of the English speaking gardeners who, after hearing they were going home to build a Japanese garden, offered seeds of the plants. Every year, a list of seeds available is sent through from Japan and as a result, nearly all the plants in the garden are from seed obtained this way- keeping the garden truly authentic. The Japanese summer house was built based on a 17th century design. The location is placed so you can take in the wonderful view of the Capability Brown inspired lake and parkland.
Courtyard GardenThe Courtyard garden is designed as a formal garden with a centre piece statue surrounded by coloured grasses. The scheme was to incorporate all the colours of the spectrum hence a yellow and blue border, a red and orange border and the soft pinks and mauves in the remaining border. The three borders flower from June until the frosts. The rest of the garden, incorporating fourteen magnolias, many camellias and rhododendrons, and several other shrubs and bulbs, are spring flowering. The pathways have only relatively recently been re-laid using granite paviours which once formed the platform of a local railway station. The surrounding fir trees were all seedlings found in the garden and have made a more interesting backdrop than a conventionally planted leylandii hedge.
Sunken GardenThis garden is mainly below the level of the surrounding garden and, at some points, at eye level with plants. It is the warmest spot in the Gardens. There are lots of scented plants in the garden which like the heat of the sun and on a warm day their perfume pervades. It also has a beautiful cascading water fountain which the birds enjoy using for bathing and drinking. The dry raised beds provided ideal conditions for many South African plants such as watsonias and scented gladiolus which need sharp drainage. The dianella, from New Zealand, has taken over a large area and you can see this magnificant plant covered in full Oxford blue berries late in the season. The tree, a lotus, has tiny edible fruits in the autumn and a lemon flowered clematis growing through it, with a ground cover of blue sweet peas at its feet..
The PinetumDiscover over 80 different conifers in the 4 acre Pinetum. Specially planted in the shape of an amphitheatre with the largest trees on the perimeter and the lowest in the entrance giving an awesome sight of the variety of trees. The largest of the trees will ultimately grow to 200-300ft. in height – the Giant Redwood from America being one of the largest. Several of the very unusual trees have been grown here in the nursery from seed obtained through plant hunting expeditions. History
- The Pinetum was planted in 1993 in 4 acres of land. All were given plenty of room to mature and it was thought 40ft. centres would be adequate.
- Every tree was given a mulch mat around it to save the stress of competing with the grass up to its neck and also help to preserve moisture in the early stages of growth. These mats gradually break up by the time the trees have matured sufficiently and no longer need protection.
Old GardenAfter entering the main gate you move down the serpentine red brick path to a bridge which is intertwined with white scented wisteria. The large boulders in the cascades were surface granite from Luxulyan, a nearby village. The water is recycled by a large pump situated under the bridge to feed the cascades and to oxygenate the water. In early spring you will encounter azaras which have the sweet scent of vanilla, berberis, abelias, michelias, syringas and many more trees and shrubs. This is where a lovely horse statue rests amid two tetrapanax which, in time, will tower over him. Watch for the lovely pseudowintera along the path before entering the next garden.
Water GardenGiant gunera surrounds the water garden which was started in 1989 on a sloping site. It was first planted with vegetables to clean the site and then, to the surprise of everyone, a pond was created on the top of a hill. It was built solely for the wildlife and it attracts many species of dragonflies, heron, deer, badgers, foxes and, of course, rabbits. Newts, frogs and toads come to spawn every year. Reflection in a water garden always provide a lovely feature to gaze upon. In this garden, a large purple beech reflects majestically in the water, especially when accompanied by a bright blue Cornish sky. The garden is very relaxing with plenty of seating. The lower part has highly coloured herbaceous plants and several grasses, bambooss and ferns in the shade of the trees. The tender pinus patula and p.montezumae from Mexico make a good backdrop. Many magnolias are planted for spring interest. Later, when all the primulas are in flower, especially the scented Himalayan specie plants, they provide an unforgettable sight.
Winter GardenPine Lodge gardens are open all year and the development of this area was to provide an illustration of species that look their very best in the winter. It is Cornwall’s biggest dedicated winter garden. The 3 acres has been designed like a rose, with the paths spiralling away from the centre boss so there are plenty of curves – no straight lines. All the plants have either winter flowers, beautiful bark, colourful foliage or heavily scented leaves. There are many heathers, hundreds of bulbs and some very unusual evergreen trees.
Woodland GardenThis embraces the approach road to the main garden and is planted with thousands of snowdrops. These are followed by bluebells, wood anemones, hundreds of primulas, specie crocus and some dutch hybrids (loved by squirrels). There are also many large leaved rhododendrons, a collection of over a hundred camellias, many unusual trees and shrubs, and several magnolias. An acer glade provides brilliant autumn colour. Part of the fir plantation was felled in 1993 and has since been replaced by over two thousand native trees.
Relax in a welcoming atmosphere with friends and family and enjoy a selction of hot and cold foods. We serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea with a smile.
The Garden Kitchen (01726 77918) is open from 10 – 5 with hot food service ending at 3pm.
In the first of a series of guest blogs, we asked accommodation providers myhotelbreak to explore the reasons why their customers love to visit Pinetum, here’s what they had to say: When seeking the perfect hotel break, having interesting and memorable attractions...read more
Whether you’re a frequent visitor to Pinetum or you are looking to discover ‘Cornwall’s Secret Garden’ for the first time you can’t afford to miss this very special offer. Over the next six weeks we will be throwing open our gates to Cornish...read more
We need your help! The Easter bunny has given us 11 letters to hide around our gardens and it's your mission to find them and solve our Easter phrase. Visit our admissions desk and our friendly staff will hand you a slip to note down what you've found. Come back once...read more
Now available – accommodation on-site in our Kindling holiday lodge. Contact us to check availability and prices via email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone the office on 01726 73500.
Opening & Admission
Open DAILY all year round from 10am with last entry to gardens at 4pm.
Entry to the Courtyard Kitchen and shop is free.
Seniors (over 65) £9.00
Young Adults (11-17 years old) £5.00
(2 adults and 2 young adults)
FREE ENTRY FOR UNDER 11’s
RHS / National Trust Members benefit from 10% off daily admission prices upon production of a current Membership Card
There is wheelchair access on the pathways throughout nearly all of the gardens. We have three easy-to-use mobility scooters for hire at reasonable rates ; these can actually be operated by a companion if necessary.
The Garden Kitchen
Cafe serving breakfast, morning coffee, lunches and afternoon teas. Open 10am until 5pm – hot food served until 3pm (closes 4pm throughout winter months)
Dogs on leads welcome
Groups, tour operators, coach companies and garden societies all enjoy a warm welcome at Pinetum Gardens.
Special rates are available for pre-booked groups of 15 or more.
Welcome talks are available on the coach on arrival free of charge.
Full guided tours are also available by prior arrangement.
Catering packages – Morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea is available in the Garden Kitchen.
Educational visits are welcome, please contact us to discuss.
We are always in need of practical gardening help, but we may also have an opportunity in other areas to suit your interests – please contact us to explore options.