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Pine Lodge Gardens - St Austell

Thirty acres of variedly landscaped gardens including woodland walk, Japanese garden and ponds and lakes

This 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 reminisant of Capability Browns English landscape style. Then behind you lies the Japanese garden complete with authentic tea pavilion, but pay attention when you take the bridge over the lake, or there will be a splash!

For those who sit and look the slave garden offers a more poignant message. The focal point to the formal circular garden is a stunning statue of a slave set in bed of grasses. The slave is cruelly imprisoned by paths of hard, cold and unforgiving granite sets. In the summer three curved herbaceous beds are ablaze with the hot riotous colours, which may represent hell, or emotions such as furry and anger from one fighting to break free. Narrow yews add to the austerity like prison guards.

Possibly the most unusual feature is a collection of 80 conifers, all different, in a six acre Pinetum, set out in a chessboard style. This is an area to watch over the next 20 years as the tall ones at the back reach for the sky and those in the foreground act as large natural carpets.

In addition to Rhododendrons, Magnolias and Camellias so familiar in Cornish gardens there are Mediterranean and Southern-hemisphere plants grown for all year round interest. There are a host of specialist planting areas including herbaceous borders, a fernery, a woodland walk, an arboretum, shrubberies and water gardens. The water features include a large wild life pond, an ornamental pond with cascades, a lake with an island (home for ducks, black swans and water fowl) and marsh gardens. This is a garden for all seasons and the winter garden is host for a range of plants offering flower, leaf and stem colour in the darker months. Plans are afoot to extend the snowdrop collection into this garden and increase the number of Christmas Roses, as and when maturing shrub provide sufficient shade.

No garden visit is complete without rounding it off with "A nice cup of tea" and this is available in the courtyard tearooms. As a special reminder of your visit the nursery offers a range of rare and interesting plants. All in all this is a garden worthy of a visit at any time of the year.

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