name, Trengwainton, means "The settlement of spring" in the
Cornish language. It probably refers to the fact that plants
rhododendrons may start blooming in November in this
garden. This area gets around 50 inches of rain per year so
there is plenty of moisture for a wide variety of plants.
Many tropical and subtropical plants will survive here that
will not grow in other parts of England. From the top of the
garden, you can see
St. Michael's Mount and the Lizard Peninsula.
There has been a dwelling at Trengwaiton since around the
16th century. In 1814, it was purchased by a rich sugar
planter from Jamaica who started planting trees on the
estate. In the early 20th century, G.H. Johnstone of
Trewithen and Lawrence
Johnston of Hidcote Manor
offered plants from an expedition they had sponsored to
Asia. Many of the rhododendrons on the property came from
seeds collected on that expedition.
The gardens started opening to the public in the 1930's and,
like most large British gardens, fell into neglect during
World War II. Areas were opened up to vegetable production
to support the war efforts.
In 1961, the gardens were turned over to the National Trust.