A visitor from Australia has returned to Gyllyngdune Gardens to plant a tree in the grounds her ancestors built.

Sue Markwell, a sixth generation descendant of General William Jesser Coope, who established the Summerlands estate including the gardens, visited last year and promised to return, so staff at the gardens arranged the planting as a surprise.

Sue and her husband Paul Oates run a farm in Queensland, a tenth of which is given over to growing pines for cabinets, so Gyllyngdune’s visitor and education officer Jacqui Owen and head gardener Matt Stannard felt planting a pine in Falmouth would symbolise closer ties across the miles and the generations.

Sue said: “It was very spiritual, with a great sense of history, which I love. It’s been overwhelming really.”

“I'll be giving Jacqui the history of the family, and I hope one day my three children will come to see, and I'm just about to become a grandmother. I would love them to see their heritage.”

Sue and Paul had been visiting his relatives on the Lizard last year, and had been intending to visit Falmouth, when she Googled Gyllyngdune and found the number for the Princess Pavilion box office, so she visited the site and vowed to return.

This year she brought with her more information on the family, as well as old photographs, and she says she is considering writing a family history.

Jacqui said: “It was Matt's idea to have a tree planting, we were trying to get a hoop pine, which is what they grow, but it wouldn't flourish in the conditions.

“This Scots pine is a connection over the miles, and her great-great-great grandfather did so much to make the gardens, so she had something to plant in the gardens to follow in his footsteps.”