Enys Gardens // Penryn

By . Last updated

Considered the oldest garden in Cornwall, Enys' fine gardens are noted in the 1709 edition of Camden's Magna Britannia. Indeed sections of the estate such as the bluebell meadows of Parc Lyre are believed to be untouched since ancient times.

The mild Cornish weather along with a favourable micro climate at Enys mean many tender plants and trees thrive here. One example is the Peruvian Laurel, one of only a handful of specimens found in the UK today. The Maidenhair fern tree (Ginkgo biloba) here is said to be the largest specimen anywhere in Britain outside of Kew Gardens. Other highlights include the large tulip tree by the cafe and Huon pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii).

Enys gardens bluebells

Enys Gardens are set over 30 acres and this includes open meadow, a formal flower garden, woodland walks, ponds and the Colonel's Garden which reflects the passion of J.D. Enys, one of the Victorian plant hunters. He travelled the New World sending back plants, trees and shrubs whilst on his travels through New Zealand and Patagonia

Whilst the ponds are merely ornamental these days it is likely that in Elizabethan times they would have been used to stock fish for the kitchens. These days they are planted with a fine collection of bamboo, tree ferns as well as a patch of Gunnera. Next to the ponds is the old waterwheel; this was installed in the 1820s and was used to pump water up the hill to a reservoir near the house. This was the idea of John Samuel Enys who fearing his new house might meet the same fate as the Elizabethan house which burnt to the ground. 

One of the most striking features of the estate is the clock tower which dates back to the 1840s. The clock was made by John Moore and Son of London and has been extensively restored recently to bring it back to life.

During the 19th century not only was the house rebuilt but the gardens were changed. These alterations began with Francis Enys who made the gardens less formal, demolishing parts of the walled garden. These changes continued after the house was rebuilt with the architects producing plans for both the house and gardens.

The gardens are now under the stewardship of the Enys Trust. Formed in 2002 by the owner Professor Gordon Rogers the trust's mandate is to:

"preserve, restore, maintain and conserve The Enys Gardens in their unique and unspoiled character with their natural ancient and traditional setting and the rare and scientifically interesting flora therein (albeit living and changing within this context), and to provide such opportunity for horticultural, scientific and historical research and inspection (with a view to publication and dissemination of the useful results thereof), and such access to educational groups and the public, as is commensurate with such preservation, restoration, maintenance and conservation."


Enys Gardens

Enys Gardens are open to the public from the 1st April to the 30th September: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 2pm until 5pm