After a very good growing season, National Trust staff and volunteers at Cotehele, nr Saltash in Cornwall, have nearly completed the process of creating the longest Christmas garland at any Trust property in the country.
When they are finished, they will have created a 60 foot garland overhead containing 34,000 flowers plus a 40 foot extension around the east doorway with another 12,000 flowers, all grown and dried on the estate.
‘The 40 foot garland extension is something we started making a couple of years ago,’ says Dave Bouch, Cotehele’s Head Gardener. ‘It’s been really popular, I think because it gives visitors a chance to see the garland at eye level, so we’ll definitely be doing that again.’
This year white Helipterum and pink Acroclinium have grown really well and Dave and his team are looking forward to seeing how they will all come together. They won’t know until about the middle of next week (Wednesday 14 November) what colours will dominate and what this year’s garland will look like.
All of the flowers are picked and dried in the garden at Cotehele; seeds were sown in early spring, flower picking began in May and each flower will now be added one by one to create the stunning 100 foot decoration – which forms an integral part of the Christmas display at the property.
Every year at the beginning of November, the hall in the historic house opens to the public so visitors can watch staff and volunteers putting the garland together from flowers such as Ornamental Grasses, Everlasting Sand Flower, Straw Flower, Paper Daisy, Paper Rose and Statice.
From Sunday 15 November, the spectacular result can be seen daily until 31 December, except 25 and 26 December.
Dave says, ‘The garden team here at Cotehele is terrific. I’m so impressed with their huge time commitment – both staff and volunteers — to create yet another amazing and memorable display, now a firm part of families’ s annual Christmas tradition.’
Elsewhere in the Great Hall, traditional decorations include conifer and Mahonia around the door ways highlighted with some native berries from the garden. They’ll also hang Beech and hazel branches from the wall.