Upon a recent trip to Cornwall, McQueens’ Commerical Manager, Andrea Bassoli and School Principal, Sophie Powell made a pilgrimage to the renowned gardens of Tregothnan
- a truly multi-faceted working estate. With a rich 700-year history, it’s a paradise of botanical treasures, from rare trees to ornamental flowers. Andrea was delighted to discover that the Truro-based estate grows a cacophony of foliage - which McQueens now proudly incorporates into its designs. So inspired by the array of gorgeous green varieties, our florists have created the Truro
bouquet, a wonderfully wild aromatic tribute to an iconic British garden. We were delighted to have the opportunity to sit down with the estate's Marketing Manager, Bella Percy Hughes to discover more about the Cornish wonder…
The Truro Bouquet created with Tregothnan foliage
Hello Bella, thank you for joining us on the McQueens journal. We’re very excited to be working with Tregothnan, can you introduce the estate to our readers?
Tregothnan Estate is home to the Boscawen family and is a living and working private Cornish estate with a rich history dating back to 1334. The name ‘Tregothnan’ literally means ‘The House at the Head of the Valley’ and is still a private family home today. Tregothnan has the largest historic, botanic garden in Cornwall. Its character was formed by the sixth Viscount Falmouth and his brother - the rector of nearby Lamorran who bought Rhododendrons, rare trees, shrubs and ornamental Camellias into the arboretum two hundred years ago.
Tregothnan has persevered in pioneering botanical firsts, using our expertise to nurture rare plants, shrubs and Camellia sinensis (tea plants) within our unique micro-climate. Eight miles from the coast with the deep sea creek of the Fal Estuary running through the estate, the warm and wet conditions are perfect for our thriving tea plantations, which allows us to grow and produce the most British tea in history. Tregothnan began supplying Britain’s first homegrown tea in 2005, creating the ultimate Britishness in every cup. The world’s first true British tea has been heralded as the ‘new Darjeeling.’
Hidden behind the iconic kitchen garden door - the oldest remaining part of the estate dating back to the Plantagenet era - you can find our Camellia sinensis plantations from which we hand-pluck the leaves at dawn. As well as growing English tea and a vast range of plants that create the delicious herbal infusions, a diversity of lands also allows us to produce Cornish Manuka and wildflower honeys, our fine and rare Kea plum jam and sustainable coppiced charcoal. Beautiful British flowers from the Tregothnan estate and surrounding lands are cut for our range of hand-tied seasonal English bouquets.
A jaw-dropping canopy at the Tregothnan Estate
Tell us a little more about the area of Truro, the estate is set in?
Tregothnan is four miles off the beaten track from a little town called Tresillian, about 15 minutes from Truro. Tresillian is on the edge of the Roseland Peninsula of Cornwall which is bordered by the winding Fal Estuary. The Roseland is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with wonderful coastal scenery, secluded inlets, calm waters and meandering waterways. A lush landscape of rolling hills leading straight into the water plays host to Tregothnan’s pioneering tea plantations, warmed from beneath by the deep sea creek of the Fal.
McQueens are very excited to be working alongside Tregothnan - we’re so inspired by the beautiful botanics, our florists have created the Truro bouquet from the classic Tregothnan, where is this foliage grown and can you tell us about some of the ingredients?
We have two main areas on the estate where our fabulous foliage grows – Pig Meadow and Barn Close. Both meadows are around half a mile from the florists’ workshop where the foliage is cut and packed. Pig Meadow has Eucalyptus, Parvifolia, Drymis (Pepperleaf), Euc. Nicholli, Euc. Gunni, Myrtle and Hazel. The meadow is enclosed by a beautiful wall of hydrangeas in a whole spectrum of blues, lilacs and ultramarine hues.
Barn Close is more of an off-road experience! Down a winding farm track and across fields of baby tea bushes, Barn Close is the furthest West section of the hub of Tregothnan Estate. Barn Close is home to a 150m run of Callestemon (Bottlebrush), six 60m rows of Euc. Subcrenula, Euc. Perriniana, Pittosporum, Elaeagnus, Bay, Tree Ivy, Camellia, Manuka, Rubus, Cinera, Mini Laurel and Willow.
Tregothnana Himalayan Tea Plantation
It’s such a multi-faceted gardens - what are some of the most unique aspects of the estate?
The garden has been shaped over centuries by the same family of avid plant collectors. It’s unique in its near 700 year old heritage and rarity of many of the plants it protects. The Tregothnan botanical garden is around 100 acres of trees, shrubs and diverse flora and fauna. Tregothnan is the home of Camellias, playing host to thousands of varieties, two national collections, the largest Camellia maze in the world and the oldest outdoor grown Camellia in the UK. Tregothnan has the Wollemi Pine – or Dinosaur Tree – which was a pine species thought to be extinct for 50 million years and found by a climber in a ravine in Australia. Brought to Tregothnan for protection and cultivation, the Wollemi Pine is now off the endangered list, literally brought back to life by the expertise of the gardening team at Tregothnan.
What are the different ways members of the public can enjoy Tregothnan?
Tregothnan offers Private Garden Tours to visitors wishing to experience the majesty of Tregothnan’s botanical wonderland in a uniquely private environment (you would be the only party in the garden during your private tour). A passionate member of our gardening team acts as your host, explaining the fascinating history of the garden, its impressive plant collections and exciting plans for the future. The tour takes about two hours and finishes with a cream tea. Our guests are always spellbound by the magnitude and diversity of the visit as well as the passion of one family for this incredible living collection. Tours are £65.00 per person
Tregothnan also opens its gates to the public for one weekend a year. The annual Open Garden Weekend happens every April and all the proceeds are donated to charity. Entrance is £10 per person and the weekend is full of entertainment, refreshments and lots of fun for all the family.
Each McQueens bouquet is a hand-crafted by our talented team of florists, using the freshest, finest flowers. Our online flower shop offers same day (London only) and next day (London and nationwide) delivery service for orders places before 2pm.