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Magnificent magnolias mark the arrival of spring in Cornwall

The flowers on this magnificent tree are said to herald the start of spring. Credit: ITV West Country

Six magnolia trees across Cornwall are all in full bloom, leading spring to be declared in the Duchy weeks before the rest of Britain.

Each year six nominated magnolia campbellii are watched in six different 'Great Gardens' in the county. Once the trees have all flowered with at least 50 blooms each, that is the date they say that spring has arrived in Britain.

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In 2019, the arrival of spring was declared rather appropriately on Valentine's Day, Thursday 14th February. This was when the last remaining magnolia campbellii tree reached 50 blooms.

So when did they reach their 'blooming' target?

  • Trewidden Gardens - 1 February
  • Trebah Garden - 3 February
  • Caerhays Castle Gardens - 7 February
  • Tregothnan Garden - 13 February
  • Trewithen Garden - 14 February
  • The Lost Gardens of Heligan - 14 February

This date is more than a month before the astronomical date of spring on 20 March, and is much earlier than usual.

'Cornwall's Spring Story' was set up to remind people how early the season arrives in the duchy and that, if they waited until spring has officially sprung, they might miss the splendid displays.

The magnolia tree in full bloom at the Caerhays estate near Gorran Haven. Credit: ITV West Country

Spring has sprung and what we're saying to people is Cornwall is open for business. Cornish gardens are looking fantastic, although it may seem extremely early to you, you need to get down here and see these amazing trees.

– Charles Williams, Caerhays Castle Gardens