Wednesday, 20 May 2015

May 20th 2015: Cornwall: Lost Gardens of Heligan

Monty the Motorhome is on a wild camp, just a few miles from Jamaica Inn, on the edge of Bodmin Moor, at Collinford Lake. So he is  mindful of the Kipling poem quoted at the start of Daphne Du Maurier's novel
If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie.
Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by
So maybe tomorrow's post will tell you if the 'Gentlemen' did go by at midnight.

We left our overnight stay in Mevagissey and drove about 3 miles to the Lost Gardens of Heligan, arriving shortly before the opening time of 10.00am.
The first thing that impressed us was the provision of a dedicated motorhome parking area, with plenty of space. Not often seen in the UK unfortunately.
This garden has become quite famous due to the well documented restoration project that has been conducted over the last 25 years. Now they are magnificent, with flowering Rhododendrons taking centre stage at this time of year. Extensive woodland gardens give way to more formalised planting near the main house, but there is also an extensive walled garden with productive fruit and vegetables. I have been to many gardens and often they have a whiff of neglect, which is hardly surprising considering the cost of upkeep. Very few places achieve that manicured, yet informal look; however Heligan has it in spades. The paying public flock here (so arriving at opening time was a good idea) and the estate has diversified with animals, timber and charcoal production, courses on various country crafts, as well as the normal tearoom fare. All in all it is a very successful business enterprise that deservedly is one of the top attractions in the South West.

Part of the immaculate walled garden - where we saw many different types of  veg and fruit growing, all looking strong and  healthy; a real credit to the gardening staff.

In the 'Jungle' area - a valley densely planted to resemble a jungle environment

One of the huge Rhododendrons in full flower
Crossing the rope bridge in the 'jungle'

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