Cornwall in Bloom | Mousehole’s Flowery Past

Image: Catherine Shipley, Southwest Rambles

West Cornwall has long been celebrated for its mild climate; a warm sub-tropical ecosystem that allows this unique corner of the UK to nurture field vegetables all year round and burst into spring earlier than any other part of the country.

Porth Enys House – built in the early 1900’s – is a grand and imposing property that sits protectively above Mousehole. This beautiful home’s 20 acres of land nurtured vast amounts of flowers, from primroses, magnolias, sweet peas and geraniums, to fuchsia and kaffir lilies in the winter and was once the main suppliers of fresh cut flowers to London via the Penzance ‘perishable’ train for almost 100 years.

Holiday Homes Cornwall

The direct link, which was opened in 1866 by Great Western Railway, would leave in the late afternoon from Penzance, travelling the 275 miles to London and arriving in time for the early opening markets in London, Bristol and Manchester.

The unique climate of West Cornwall means it’s always the earliest place to bloom into spring in the UK, which allowed traders in London to command higher than average prices for these early spring flowers.

This highly beneficial trade between West Cornwall and London continued for many years until importing from overseas locations, such as the Netherlands, took precedence over the UK’s flower trade. Despite the UK having some of the best climate and conditions for cultivating flowers, we now sadly import approximately 90% of our fresh cut flowers.

But the temperate climate that draws over 5 million visitors to Cornwall each year still remains. It’s this unique feature that allows vast expanses of lush sub-tropical gardens, such as The Lost Gardens of Heligan and Trebah Garden to flourish and produce exotic foliage; and long-standing annual events, such as The Cornwall Spring Flower Show which has been going strong since the late 19th century.

Today, Porth Enys House is a luxury holiday home, available to rent all year round. Guests can wander through its 20 acres where blooms still flourish today, and make their way down to the private shoreline where a small boat would have been laden with the cut flowers and sailed across to Penzance.

Book your stay here – Porth Enys House.