Holiday garden visits: Heligan

Final holiday post! And only a month after we got home! Well, there were lots of photos to get through.

On the Wednesday of our holiday week we went to Heligan, choosing our day carefully to avoid rain. Our holiday cottage was less than 20 minutes’ drive from the gardens so we were able to have a nice long day out without having to travel very far.

Interestingly, one of the commenters in the visitors’ book at the cottage said they had been disappointed in Heligan, and when I got back to work one of my colleagues said the same thing. I was amazed by this but then perhaps it depends on your expectations and on what you do when you get there. One thing I will say is that it was extremely busy and it’s probably difficult to find a day when it isn’t (we had to queue for a while to buy our lunch) but once you’re wandering around the gardens it’s easy enough to find the bits that are quieter and more off the beaten track. Everyone does the more formal “designed” areas and the walled gardens, and most people make it to the Jungle garden and parts of the Lost Valley but there are some more far-flung woodland walks where we saw hardly anyone. Just be aware than some of the paths are on the steep side!

On the woodland walks you have to look out for the Giant and the Mud Maid, of course.

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But did you know they now also have a Grey Lady, in reference to a reported haunting?

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Lots of bluebells in the woods, of course.

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And in one corner, tucked away, is this mound – possibly the remains of a medieval site.

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From the upper gardens you can see the top of the Jungle.

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Though nothing really prepares you for actually walking through it.

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I couldn’t resist a bit of artiness with a tree fern!

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The Lost Valley is a lovely walk and includes more sculpture, this time relating to the charcoal burning which they have started to carry out here again since restoring the gardens.

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One of the fascinating aspects for me is the rediscovery and reconstruction of so many “rooms” and buildings. One of the first to be uncovered was the Italian garden. They went to some trouble to get a reconstruction of the statue in the middle of the pond.

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And there’s the Sundial garden

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And any number of glasshouses which have been brought back into use.

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The Northern Summerhouse is very pretty, with its sea view through a shaped hedge, but on this visit I was more taken with the texture of its carefully reconstructed floor.

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In the New Zealand garden we found more sculpture and some much-needed shade.

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The walled gardens – for various produce, edible and decorative – are a focal point.

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We were amused to hear someone confidently telling their companion that the pineapple pits were full of “aloe veras in pots”! They were looking at the ones that didn’t have fruit on, of course…

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A few other eye-catching plants:

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And in one of the gardeners’ sheds, someone has made themselves at home.

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Not the best photo in the world but I hope you can spot the swallow. There were a few but they didn’t really want to pose for me!

So if you’ve never been to Heligan, I hope you’ll visit and not be disappointed. If I lived down there I’d probably get a season ticket!

 

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