We present Lu–Hf dates from multiple growth zones within two large garnet porphyroblasts by a micro-sampling method. A single eclogite sample, taken from the Huwan shear zone in the Hong'an orogen, was investigated with Lu–Hf geochronology by micro-sampling and traditional bulk separation methods. The sample contains a few large garnet porphyroblasts up to several centimetres in diameter and a second major population of smaller (0.1–2.0 mm) garnet porphyroblasts, comprised of dark cores and pale rims. Elemental compositions and mineral inclusions in the garnet appear consistent with two garnet generations. Lu–Hf dates (c. 400–264 Ma) were determined from twelve micro-sawed garnet sections from two large garnet porphyroblasts. These Lu–Hf dates overlap with age peaks defined by 115 SIMS zircon U–Pb analyses from the same eclogite sample. Bulk analyses of smaller garnet separates define a minimum date of c. 306 Ma and a maximum date of c. 252 Ma for the dark cores and pale rims respectively. These Lu–Hf dates were interpreted to bracket the period of garnet growth and the broad interval from c. 400 to 264 Ma is best explained by protracted and episodic garnet growth, which may require that these rocks experienced two subduction cycles that were initiated during the Devonian and terminated in the Triassic.