Thursday, May 07, 2009

Garden Heaven at Heligan

Jack and I wanted to come to England in the spring because we love rhododendrons and today we saw some amazing ones. They towered over us -- one was 75 feet across at the crown. We visited the Lost Gardens of Heligan south of St. Austell -- I think it was about 40 miles from here. The day was overcast but didn't look threatening and we lucked out -- no rain while we were there. It was chilly, but we were dressed warmly enough -- in the 50s with only a slight breeze.

The first manor house was built here in the 12th century and was followed by rebuildings and alterations over the centuries. Earliest records of the gardens date back to the 1700s. They grew and thrived until World War I. Though the property remained in the Tremayne family for 400 years, for various reasons, the gardens were neglected following the war. The family now leases the gardens to a non-profit organization whose goal is not only to restore the beauty of the gardens, but to make it a working estate.

The Giant's Head, in the Woodland Walk, was created by local artists Sue and Pete Hill. Though a totally contemporary creation, it was done in the same spirit that Victorian gardeners had in creating features of interest to enhance the enjoyment of the natural landscape.

Although it is getting close to the end of the season for camellias, many of the plants were still blooming profusely.

Garden areas at Heligan range from exotic and wild to formal and utilitarian. These poppies were in the Flower Garden. Other gardens included the melon yard, vegetable garden, apple orchard and the oldest working manure-heated pineapple pit in England (since the 1800s).

Tropical ferns and giant rhubarb plants flourished alongside magnificent rhododendrons in the Jungle -- a tropical paradise in a deep chasm. The rhodies are definitely the stars of the show this time of year. Some of the plants are approximately 150 years old and were brought from Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal by Sir Joseph Hooker.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The eyes are looking so good beautiful postings ..........

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