England’s only tea grower has a record 600 species of flower in bloom, including 24 varieties of tea bushes, writes SWNS Reporter Emma Dunn. 

Cornwall’s Tregothnan ‘Teabot’ completed its annual count on New Year’s Day and gardeners were surprised to find so many flowers. 

Head gardener Neil Bennett found 51 Camellia sasanqua and 24 varieties of tea, making Tregothnan Europe’s largest tea garden. 

The tea flowers will take 10 months to produce seeds and will then be left to germinate before cuttings are taken when they are happy with the taste. 

Managing director Jonathon Jones said it has taken 15 years to perfect the taste of Tregothnan tea. 

He said: “We were expecting a low number, but it took most of the day to count 600 flowers.” 

Tregothnan produces around 30 to 40 teas - including herbal teas, which Jonathon says “strictly speaking are not tea – they should be infusions. “Tea comes from a camellia bush only and is oxidised - herbal ones do not.” 

Visitors are also encouraged to pick their own tea and grow bushes at home. 

“People forget tea is so popular,” Jonathon said. “We put the Englishness into English tea.” 

Tregothnan has been owned by the Boscawen family since 1334, and is believed to have been the first place to grow ornamental camellias outdoors in Britain over 200 years ago. 

The estate now boasts 26 miles of tea bushes, which thrive in a unique microclimate seven miles inland of Cornwall’s Mediterranean-style coasts, with regular fog helping nurture the plants due to a nearby deep-sea creek.