It’s not a quick drive to these gardens as they are on the south coast and the other side of Truro from me, but one I thought I might do more often than I have. Living in the far west, almost at the end of Cornwall’s major road the A30, means anywhere eastwards is a bit of a haul, especially in the holiday season with the associated traffic jams.
Although I purchased a Local’s Pass last year I did not find the time to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan until very recently. Too late for their wild flower meadow, but still in time to see the lovely herbaceous borders in the Sundial Garden (G7) and admire some of the crops and flowers in the massive walled Kitchen garden (G1) where the Zinnias were especially beautiful and attracted loads of butterflies and bees. Maybe I’ll try those in pots next summer instead of the Cosmos that I had this year. Though I have an idea that S&S like Zinnias.
I was hoping to see Heligan throughout the seasons, but that hasn’t happened. Maybe I’ll try again next year, or maybe not. I am not as enamoured with this garden as I once was. Like the Eden Project it has become very commercial aimed mainly at parents of young children rather than those who love plants. Which is great if you happen to be in that group, but not so if you’re not.
Saying that there are some areas that I like and are worth a revisit. The first is the little Italian courtyard (G10) which I reached via the Ravine (G11).
It is the sort of little courtyard garden I would like to have. Nicely secluded and peaceful with covered seating and a nice rectangular pond. Verbena bonariensis, Gaura, Crocosmia, Cosmos and Phlox sway above the thick soft velvety silver-leafed Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ or Lamb’s ears and hardy geraniums that line the courtyard path surrounding the pond. And I liked the group of terracotta pots full of lavender, an idea I may copy next year for my own patio.
Another little courtyard (Northern Summerhouse G13) with another rectangular pond and a fountain is also a favourite spot and this summer the pots were filled with mainly white flowers.
Cosmos, frothy thalictrum in both white and pale pink, white trailing bacopa and the palest pink Japanese anemones, Such a simple combination which works very well possibly because they are all grown in terracotta pots of differing heights and each plant has a different type of foliage. Another easy idea to copy.
From here a short walk through the lovely New Zealand (G14) area filled with tree ferns and grasses and unknown flowering trees
leads you through the Reserve yards (G17) with the old glasshouses and wonderful wooden doors on the red-brick outbuildings and into the Sundial Garden.
but I’ll give that one its own post as there is a lot to delight the senses there.
I agree with you about the changes at Heligan. I loved it when we first visited but the appeal has waned somewhat. Plenty more places to explore though!
Phew! Glad it’s not just me!
It has all grown a great deal since I visited in 1998, when I think the gardens had only fairly recently been ‘rediscovered’.
Yes, I imagine it was quite different then. I think the Italian courtyard was the first area to be restored.
Yes, it was in the early years when I visited too and renovations were still in the early stages, and a return visit has been on my wish list for a some time. I am surprised to hear about the emphasis on attracting families these days though, which must be a largely commercial decision which seems a shame for the likes of us
This is on my Wishlist for the next time I am in Cornwall.
Spring is a good time to visit.
Pretty gardens thanks for letting me tag along
Happy to have your company Alice 🙂
Comments are closed.