The Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall has been breeding the rare Manuka plant (a native plant from New Zealand) since the 1880’s. Usually only in flower through June, the rare bushes are seemingly confused by the year’s fluctuations in climate and are, in a bizarre twist, flowering now during our winter solstice, which ties in perfectly to the normal summer soltice flowering time over in New Zealand.
As an accredited substance for use against MRSA in hospitals, the plant is reputed for its anti-bacterial, ant-inflammatory properties and was once used by the Maoris for medicinal purposes.
Jonathon Jones, Garden Director at Tregothnan said: “Manuka is becoming a household name thanks to the massive following the honey has in the health food market. The Manuka bush is carefully harvested and dried at Tregothnan and chopped into loose tea.”
The Manuka’s sweet flavour has been likened to the Rooibos or Honeybush in South Africa.
Tregothnan Estate has remained in the Boscawen family since 1335, its Botanical Garden is the largest historic garden in Cornwall, and is home to the world’s only surviving travelling greenhouse. Now, the private gardens are internationally known for the country’s first and only tea plantation and the UK’s only collection of Manuka plants.