Monday, 26 August 2013

Finding the Lost Gardens of Heligan

One of the places we really wanted to revisit on our Cornish holiday was "The Lost Gardens of Heligan". DH and I visited in the 1990s. We had fantastic memories of it and we were keen to see what had changed.  

The original estate went into decline after the First World War when many of the staff went off to fight. The "big house" was eventually sold off in the 1970s. In 1990 the gardens were rediscovered under a tangle of laurel, and the restoration has been going on ever since. 

This friendly gentleman greets you as you arrive. I think he could do with a hair cut! Heligan is a very large garden, covering 200 acres, but we did our best to see as much as we could. In the morning we walked in the woodland and the "Jungle" and after our picnic lunch we explored the formal gardens and the kitchen garden.


The "jungle" looked almost prehistoric. Dragonflies zipped around the tree ferns and palm trees reached upwards. 

I felt much more comfortable in the large walled kitchen garden. This rather well-to-do scarecrow kept watch over orderly rows of vegetables and flowers.

I loved the way the rows of dahlias were nestled between the runner beans and cordon apple arches. I assume these were for cutting for the big house.

The pineapple pit was built in the early nineteenth century. The local gentry would compete to see who could grow the biggest fruit. They also grew melons, which were hung in little nets as they grew.

The formal gardens were spectacular, with well thought out colour schemes. There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore, far more than we could manage in one day. We were happy but tired by the end, and grateful to return to our cottage to recover!



  1. Hi Lesley, I have always wanted to visit here, it is on my to do list. Thank you for the stunning photographs, they are just lovely, looks like you had a wonderful time. Your parcel is now in the post and I hope you receive it very soon. It has been sent with much love from me

  2. This is definitely on our to do list, although we can't chance it this time with our van!

    My parents have been and have raved about it since.

    Thanks for sharing such lovely photos Lesley. Those Dahlias!

    Sft x

  3. I was in Heligan last week! Perhaps we were there the same day and smiled at each other!
    I try to go each year if possible.
    Did you find time for the Eden project ? it is definitely worth a visit.

    1. Hi Gill, isn't that a funny thought? We did visit the Eden Project, and were blown away by it. I'm trying to order my photos into some sort of post, but there is no way I will do it justice! We loved Cornwall, and are thinking of going back. My daughter, who is 13, particularly loved it. Lesley x


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