Cornwall’s Spring Story

The moment Cornish Magnolias flower, spring has arrived in England

Cornwall's Spring Story is the proof that spring really does arrive in Cornwall first. Each year six nominated champion Magnolia campbellii are monitored in six different Great Gardens in Cornwall to record the date the Magnolias come into full bloom. The moment all six champion magnolia trees have flowered with at least 50 blooms on each, Cornwall declares spring has arrived in England.


In 2019 the arrival of spring was declared on Thursday 14th February. This is over a month before the astronomical date of spring (20th March) and much earlier than than the rest of Britain. 

This date is the second earliest declaration since the foundation of Cornwall's Spring Story. In fact since their first flowering in 1962, records show that the Magnolias at Caerhays Estate in Cornwall, home to a National Collection of Magnolias, have only been in bloom earlier than the 14th February on four occasions. 

See below for the date spring was declared by Cornwall's Spring Story in previous years or click the button below to see the 2019 Bloomometer and Spring has Sprung video. 


The head gardener at each of the six Great Gardens sends in a daily report of their champion Magnolia Campbellii tree, as the buds begin to shed their outer winter jackets to come into full bloom. Each gardener sends photographs and the all important bloom count, so that progress across all six gardens can be monitored. Spring is declared when the six nominated Magnolia Campbellii have 50 blooms apiece.

A woman holds a large magnolia flower.

You may also wish to follow the story on the Great Gardens of Cornwall website or on Twitter @Gr8Gardens following #MagnoliaMania and #CornwalSpringStory. There is comment and intrigue, regular postings and photographs as the season progresses and the trees come into full flower. 


- 26th February 2018
- 28th February 2017
- 10th February 2016
- 3rd March 2015
- 3rd March 2014
- 19th February 2013

A girl stands beneath a pink magnolia tree.
Beautiful pink Magnolias at one of Cornwall’s Great Gardens


Over the years it has become increasingly apparent that many people do not fully appreciate quite how early spring arrives in Cornwall and how much earlier than the rest of England. Whilst there are lovely gardens to explore in Cornwall throughout the year, really the very best time to visit the Cornish Spring Gardens is when Cornish Magnolias are in full bloom during the early part of the season.

Toby Ashworth gives his daughter a pink magnolia flower.

The blooming of Magnolia flowers often occurs around the beginning of March - a fact rarely even appreciated by gardeners throughout the rest of England. But over the last few years, spring has been declared even earlier, thanks to some mild winters. Cornwall's Spring Story was founded by Toby Ashworth of The Nare Hotel, and in collaboration with The Great Gardens of Cornwall.

The Nare on The Telegraph website lifestyle section.

The Telegraph article on Cornish Gardens

Read the recent article by Joanna Fortnam of The Telegraph, which reviews several of the Great Gardens of Cornwall, and highlights the early arrival of spring in Cornwall.

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Visit the Great Gardens of Cornwall website to register for your chance to win a 4 night break at The Nare, including tickets for all of the participating gardens. The competition is open until 31st December 2019 and the winning couple will be invited to join us at The Nare during the Spring of 2020 with the chance to visit the Great Gardens of Cornwall when the magnolias are flowering.

A couple enjoys a private tour of Tregothnan Garden.
Guests on a private tour of Tregothnan Garden

The country house hotel by the sea