Far from being dull and dormant Trewithen Garden is ablaze with Christmas Cheer – literally!

The early flowering Rhododendron has blossomed in time for the festive period – over a month ahead of its generally expected time.

The tight pink buds appeared at the end of November blooming into heads made of several, mostly white, bell-shaped flowers.

'Christmas Cheer' is an old hybrid descended from the mauve Rhododendron you see in woodland. One of its parents is the now rare hardy dwarf shrub that grows above the tree line and was discovered by Russian traveller Count Apollo Apollosovich Mussin-Puschkin, who sent it back to Kew in 1803. It was crossed with another, unrecorded, parent plant -and the result was Christmas Cheer.

It’s not the only plant flowering in the world-renowned gardens at Probus between Truro and St Austell. The Rhododendron, Cornish Early Red, is also showing its colours!

This spectacular, tall, shrub with its large trusses of flowers ranging in colour from red to purple, is the only surviving original Rhododendron planted by George Johnstone – the grandfather of the estate’s owner Michael Galsworthy. Johnstone is the creator of the modern day garden at Trewithen, which he began by planting over 100 Rhododendrons in the early 1900s.

“It’s been a fabulous Christmas for colour in the garden,” said Trewithen’s Head Gardener, Gary Long, “What’s more, it won’t be long before the daffodils are at their best!”

Trewithen Garden will re-open to the public on Sunday, March 1, when its internationally acclaimed Magnolias and Camellias should be in full bloom.