Ken Caro Garden
Ken Caro Garden

Ken-Caro Garden, near Liskeard, is a 4-acre domestic garden offering a great deal of interest for the horticultural enthusiast. In addition to a lily pond, flowering shrubs, conifers, and herbaceous plants, an aviary provides added interest.

The gardens were begun in 1970, as 2 acres, largely planted with fruit and vegetables. Then in 1994 the vegetable garden was recreated as a 'secret garden', and over the following years the garden space has more than doubled, adding ponds, island beds, and carefully arranged sculptures. Shrubs and flowers have been planted to lead your eye out across the sweeping landscape vistas beyond the garden boundary.

A quiet garden path
A quiet garden path

The garden's hyphenated name is a combination of the first names of the couple that launched the project, Kenneth and Caroline Willcock. We were fortunate enough to meet Caroline Willcock on our visit, and she's a delightful woman, full of enthusiasm for the garden.

What to See

One of the main garden features colour, with plants arranged to give a display of colour through every season. In early Spring there are daffodils and carpets of snowdrops, followed as the weather wams by camelias, rhododendrons, and magnolia (over 200 varieties).

In May the herbaceous shrubs add their splash of colour, with orchids, wisteria, and dahlias by mid-summer. In late summer there are hydrangeas and phorium, and as Autumn turns colder there are beautiful displays of red and gold. The garden is carefully arranged for shape as well as colour, with architectural plants adding structure, and bold combinations of plants.

At the edge of the main garden is a large pond, shrouded by giant gunnera through parts of the year, but with benches beside the water for sitting and allowing the beauty of the landscape to sink in. At the bottom of the garden the land falls away, and slopes down to a 1 acre woodland area, with a quiet stream running through it.

This is a plantsman's garden, and visitors with a green thumb will find something to inspire their own garden creations.

Ken-Caro Garden is approached via a narrow, winding lane, so drive carefully, but your reward is a horticultural delight, with fabulous panoramic views over the surrounding countryside. There is an honesty box by the garden entrance, and parking for several cars.

Though it was a fairly dull, drab day when we visited, the gardens were a colourful deligt, and everywhere you looked was a splash of different colour or a half-hidden garden ornament to add interest. Though it is not large, Ken-Caro Garden has plenty to interest a gardening enthusiast, and we found it a pleasure to explore.