THE National Trust Tamar Valley estate Cotehele’s annual Christmas garland is celebrating its 65th anniversary since the tradition to adorn the Great Hall began in 1956.
It will be marking the occasion by recreating the design of early garlands which had a more traditional, greenery-inspired look.
The team are turning back the clock to recreate a historic photograph of one of the earliest garlands that was taken in the 1980s. They’re also calling for visitors’ memories and photos they’ve taken of the garland over the years to see how it has changed over time.
Marking a return to its traditional look, the garland will be made up of a mixture of greenery, including pittisporum and adorned with dried flowers, including cheerfully coloured strawflowers and statice.
Each year the team at Cotehele spend eleven months planning and growing the garland. However, due to the impact of COVID-19 and subsequent Government guidelines and restrictions, plans had to be adjusted as there was a lot less time available for planting and growing the usual 30,000 flowers the team needed for the usual display. So this year hundreds of sprigs of pittisporum will be used and fewer dried flowers than previous years, creating an impressive natural look.
The garland will make a welcome return to being housed inside the Great Hall, following last year, where the display moved outside for the first time ever.
Dave Bouch, National Trust Head Gardener for Cotehele, said: “A garland has always featured at Cotehele since the first was created in 1956. Since then more and more flowers kept being added to the design each year.
“This year we’re taking this opportunity to step back and reflect on how this tradition started by recreating an early photograph of the garland. From a time when it was a more modest design and inspired by the decorative greenery and kissing boughs that the Tudors brought into their homes in the winter.”
Rich Burrow, National Trust, Visitor Operations & Experience Manager said: “This year we’re asking visitors, volunteers and supporters to share any old photos they might have of the garland over the last 65 years. We’re keen to document it and see how it might have changed over time. For anyone with images, please send to [email protected]”
From tomorrow (Saturday 20 November), the Cotehele Christmas garland can be seen within the Great Hall every day until January 2 (except December 25 and 26). The garden, estate, restaurant, shop and gallery will also be open, along with the mill on Saturdays and Sundays. More information can be found at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele