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.

Zinnias attracting bees and butterflies in the cutting garden. August 2019. Click image to enlarge

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).

The Ravine. August 2019. Click image to enlarge

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.

Northern Summerhouse garden with fountain. August 2019. Click image to enlarge.

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.

Jo’s Monday Walk


  1. Sue says:

    The Ravine and the New Zealand area look well worth an explore…not that I could manage them now!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well those two areas are pretty even. The woodland and jungle areas wouldn’t be suitable though. I saw someone struggling with a wheelchair in the woodland.

  2. beetleypete says:

    Colourful and lush, to brighten up a dull day in Beetley.
    I have also noticed how many venues are mainly appealing to families with young children these days. Commerce rules, Jude. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      Indeed it does Pete. They are not exactly cheap days out either. As an increasingly grumpy old woman I prefer places without all the rugrats.

      1. beetleypete says:

        My step-daughter took her little boy to Chessington last week. £52 for an adult, £48 for a 4 year-old boy. £100, just to get in!

        1. Heyjude says:

          Yikes! That is crazy money!

  3. bushboy says:

    So lovely to enjoy with my place so sad

    1. Heyjude says:

      Oh? What has happened to your place Brian? Not bush fires?

      1. bushboy says:

        No Jude, fires are not near me at present. The drought and a lack of water has seen my garden starting to die. The top of a couple of Palms that keep my house cool in Summer have dropped off, many bushes are almost dead. I am trying to save what I can but it is heartbreaking to see everything wilting under a hot sun and very windy conditions

        1. Heyjude says:

          And you are entering spring now so I assume it will only get worse? Or are you in a part of the country that gets spring and summer rainfall? Shrubs may regrow if they are well established. Weather patterns are all over the place, it is difficult to know what to plant for the climatic changes.

        2. bushboy says:

          Oh yes Jude. The days over the past weeks have been Summer temperatures so the oncoming seasons don’t bode well. Normally we do have good late Spring thought to Autumn rains. Last year they didn’t come except for occasional showers. Only had 2 dam filling events in the last eighteen months. I am about to get out and do some heavy pruning to try and save shrubs. I may have a cactus garden in the future lol

        3. Heyjude says:

          Hard to know what to plant. I had just got to understand that my garden and soil is suited to plants that like moisture so set about buying those types of plants and then last year we had a very dry summer! What you need is a bore hole!

        4. bushboy says:

          That would be a solution but the groundwater is too deep >200 meters and is not affordable. The best is to plant Australian natives which in most part my garden is. I like the flowers from exotics to have around as native flowers are small and not regular. The palms and lilli pillis are native but the lack of water over the past two years has made the garden very sad

        5. Heyjude says:

          That’s a shame. I hope you get rain soon. Plenty here!

        6. bushboy says:

          Yep, bring it on. Thanks for your concern and chat Jude ❤

        7. Heyjude says:

          You are most welcome Brian. Maybe next year we will be able to chat in person.

        8. bushboy says:

          Wouldn’t that be fabulous Jude 🙂

        9. Heyjude says:

          Fingers crossed!

  4. Pit says:

    The Ravine would be my favourite.

  5. restlessjo says:

    You’re getting very picky in your old age! But then you are spoilt down there for garden choices. 🤣 If I ever land on your doorstep you’ll have to go there again. Might try that with the lavender. It grows like a weed here and takes over the show so it needs keeping in its place. I love the smell though. 🤗💕

    1. Heyjude says:

      I like the idea of having several types of lavender in different size pots. Might give it a go. Just received the second lot of bulbs. Did I really order so many?

  6. Elizabeth says:

    My zinnias are thriving right now too. Sadly the woodchuck ate a number of the cosmos after he devoured the sunflowers. Second year in a row with few cosmos. May you have better luck.

    1. Heyjude says:

      My cosmos are coming to an end, still buds but the flowers are much smaller now and don’t last long. But they haven’t been eaten! Only way to find out about the zinnias is to try them!

      1. Elizabeth says:

        I buy six packets of seeds and plant them way closer together than advised and marvel at the abundance that has come up every year.

  7. Tina Schell says:

    Your walks amaze me Jo – you know SO much about gardens and flowers. Bummer this one’s losing your interest. I suppose they’re thinking to go where the money is??? Anyway, blossoms notwithstanding I loved your last image best!

  8. It’s all so beautiful and lush.

  9. Joanne Sisco says:

    I love the look of terracotta pots grouped together with complementary plants – like the photo with the bench – and yet I’ve never made the attempt to produce such a look in my own yard.
    I really should be more adventurous when it comes to gardening.

    1. Heyjude says:

      The one thing I did take away from this visit is the grouping of pots on a patio. Mine is too cluttered this year. Next year I shall simplify my container planting.

  10. I am torn between my desire for children to learn stuff and enjoy themselves through opportunities not available to my generation, and my irritation at them clambering over everything I want to take a picture of! I’m glad i’m Not the only grumpy old woman.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I’m happy that the kids have all these ‘activities’ though as a parent I wouldn’t be happy with the price they have to pay. What irks me is that the actual garden side isn’t developed more for those without the rugrats.

Comments are closed.