Stunning display of flowers drying for the Christmas garland.

Aimee Kingdom & Sophie Littleton with the 30,000 drying flowers at Cotehele

Aimee Kingdom & Sophie Littleton with the 30,000 drying flowers at Cotehele

The gardening team at Cotehele have again had a successful year growing and drying flowers for their annual Christmas garland.

‘We were so lucky with the warm and sunny summer, ‘says Dave Bouch, Cotehele’s Head Gardener, ‘and we’ve really benefitted from it. This year we’ve grown and picked about 32,000 flowers and the drying has been really reliable. It will be satisfying this winter to look up at the colourful garland and reflect what the summer was like.’

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Creating the Cotehele garland

Despite a very tough growing year, National Trust staff, volunteers and members of the public at Cotehele in Cornwall, are just starting the meticulous process of creating the longest Christmas garland at any Trust property in the country.

Although a really tough growing year has meant that only 25,000 flowers have been picked this year rather than the usual 30,000, the team involved are confident the garland will look as stunning as ever.

The flowers are picked and dried in the garden at Cotehele; usually flower picking begins in May but this year due to the poor growing season it didn’t start until July.  Each flower will now be added one by one to create a stunning 60ft garland – which forms an integral part of the Christmas display at the property.

Every November, 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. Visitors are also invited to climb the scaffold and poke in a few flowers if they’d like.

Constructed during November by a team of staff and volunteers, the spectacular result can be seen daily through December, except 25 and 26 December.

Dave Bouch, Head Gardener at Cotehele, says, ‘Each year theGarlandis different, depending on which of the specially grown flowers have done well. It’s been a really tough growing year and this has affected the quantity of flowers to pick and the time it’s taken us.  However I’m confident it will still be a stunning display and we’re once again encouraging members of the public to help us create this magnificent garland. If you’ve not seen theGarlandat Cotehele, you must. A visit to the garland will undoubtedly become one of your family’s annual Christmas traditions.’

Elsewhere in the hall, traditional decorations include conifer and Mahonia around the door ways perhaps highlighted with some native berries from the garden. They’ll also hang Beech and hazel branches from the wall.

The Hall at Cotehele is now open for visitors to see the building of the garland which continues until 23 November, 11am – 4pm. Its then open for viewing until the 24 November – 31 December (except 25-26 December) 11 am – 4pm. £5pp entry; National Trust Members free.  During this time 18 different choirs and musicals groups will perform at various times under the garland during the holiday season. Antique weapons will be on display for close inspection on most weekdays before Christmas in December.  Check the website for more details.