Cotehele’s annual tradition of building a 60ft Christmas garland made up of thousands of flowers grown on the estate is turning 60 years old, and the team at the National Trust House and garden are celebrating.
In honour of its diamond year, the gardeners have been sowing secret plans all year to give it a new look, which today was revealed.
‘We’ve had a lot of fun growing a different assortment of flowers this year and we’re all waiting with anticipation to see what it will look like,’ says Cotehele Head Gardener Dave Bouch.
The 60ft garland in the Great Hall contains 31,200 flowers plus a 40ft extension around the east doorway with another 7,920 flowers (39,120 in total) all grown and dried on the estate.
When the residents of Cotehele first hung a modest, floral, Christmas display in the Tudor Hall six decades ago, little did they know how their simple decoration would turn into the magnificent garland it is today.
The staff and volunteers have been working on the twelve-day process of creating this year’s anniversary garland, the longest Christmas garland at any Trust place in the country.
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 100ft 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, Winged Everlasting, Straw Flower, Paper Daisy, Paper Rose and Statice.
From Saturday 12 November, the completed garland can be seen daily until 31 December, except 25 and 26 December. The Cotehele Christmas food fair, in partnership with Taste of the West is Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 November, 10am-4pm, and is a good time to see the completed garland.
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 doorways highlighted with some native berries from the garden and mistletoe in case anyone wanted to steal a kiss. They’ll also hang Beech and hazel branches from the wall.
Take a look at our film about how we create Cotehele’s magnificent garland: http://youtu.be/_JDAdjCTaAY?list=UUn7AVPnhUdtScCSEwyQIfDw