Having stood on the spot since the 16th century, Cosawes Barton on the outskirts of Ponsanooth, has seen many changes


Having stood on this spot since the 16th century in one form or another, on the outskirts of Ponsanooth, a village between Truro and Penryn has seen many changes

But there is no tale of drama, no story of rediscovery or of rescue from the brink of wilderness, just of love and a collective appreciation amongst those who have known it. The atmosphere here is so very calm and quiet. The tranquility tangible and a strong sense that this is a garden comfortable with itself having been nurtured for generations.


Its latest owners are the Bishop family, Louise and Andy and their children Sophia and Sam who fell in love with Cosawes Barton at first sight and have been busily getting to know the garden and sensitively converting a quadrangle of farm buildings into luxury holiday accommodation since moving in last year.

We are new to gardening’ explains Louise when describing the family’s relationship to the garden, I like to think of us as custodians. We hope to build on what has been created here already and learn more about the garden, we love the space.’

Luckily for Louise and Andy, they have inherited Andy Trebell, a gardener who has worked here for 25 years and is as passionate about the particular 17 acres of Cornish countryside that make up Cosawes Barton as Louise and her family.

Being new to any garden can be a daunting experience with each month presenting something new. It is sound advice to live with a garden for a year before carrying out any major changes that way every perennial, bulb, shrub and tree will have revealed itself along with any gaps, horticultural tasks and problem areas will also have made themselves known to the new gardener.


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Getting to grips with the microclimate and how it affects different parts of the garden is just as important as discovering previous gardeners’ planting choices. It can be a very steep learning curve and one that requires a degree of patience.

The garden at Cosawes Barton has never been opened to the public before, and so is something of an exclusive for the National Gardens’ Scheme this year. Louise explains why her family have decided to open the gates now: As well as raising money for charity, it’s a great way to share the garden and meet people from the local community.’ And visitors are certainly in for a treat.


A walled garden nearest the house is the original garden. Large trees providing shelter and an enviable sense of maturity, established shrub borders compliment the generously planted, mixed perennial borders that are cut deep into the lawn and crammed full of colour. Herbaceous geraniums, daylilies and roses stand proud against their permanent backdrop. A clematis clambers vibrantly across a border at the perfect height to be enjoyed and stellar inula and towering echiums bring their stature.

Catching gardener Andy at work in the border, he runs through some tasks for the month In September, there will be much weeding and pruning going on. This is a large garden maintained to a high standard and that takes work.’ He enthuses over the summer garden and encourages a spring visit: The rhodies, camellias and azaleas are incredible and there are masses of snowdrops, it’s a real sight’ as if anyone would need to be invited twice!

The beautifully crafted high stone walls that embrace the garden are as much a part of the space here as the plants themselves. Maintained with care and restored with sympathy where necessary, they are a work of art.

Moving away from the house, on the other side of the wall, and a collection of specimen trees planted into the grass in what amounts to a small arboretum. The pace of the garden changes here; cooler, more mellow and calm. Louise admits that this is one of her favourite areas.


Continuing further afield into the mixed woodland. Made up of ash, field maple, beech, hazel, oak and birch the trees are relatively young yet have still put on an impressive amount of growth in the modest 14 years since planting.

A wide avenue cut through the manicured woodland creates a perfect, wide vista looking back towards the farmhouse, the mown paths mark the way deep into the woodland and give way to delicate wild grasses beneath the tallest trees a gentle contrast effective in its simplicity. It’s worth remembering that this effect can be recreated with nothing more than a lawnmower and a little imagination in even the smallest of gardens.

If a garden could be lucky, this one is. It has the perfect combination of a new injection of inspiration and ideas, and the wealth of experience that comes with a gardener who has lived with different incarnations of a garden is more than many can hope for when new owners arrive. It is an exciting time for Cosawes Barton and this handsome space can only benefit from such a dynamic team.