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I’d so enjoyed my holiday in Cornwall in June 2021, and found there was so much more I wanted to see and do there, that I decided to book for this year, though in more comfortable accommodation, (the subject of my next post). I drove south-west on Monday 27th June, and, having now reviewed the more than 1000 photos I returned with, can see that I have about 11 blog posts to prepare, for a week’s holiday.

Last year I had extraordinary thoughts of returning to the Eden Project on my way, specifically to have a go on the zip wire there. But in the event I replaced that idea, for a variety of reasons, only one of them not being sure whether I really dared, with a visit to The Lost Gardens of Heligan. So, having dropped Bella off at her cattery (unvaccinated Tilly remaining at home) I arrived at the venue in good time for a light lunch during which I perused the guide.

(What’s the opposite of foreshortening? This picture makes the guide look longer than it is.)

Heligan has a history going back to the thirteenth century, but was ‘lost’ and increasingly overgrown between 1914 and 1990. Its timeline is here.

This view greets you as you step into the gardens.

I then took Beacon Path. As I often do in discovering a new place, I started by staking out the perimeter, clockwise. During my week in Cornwall, I saw many such tangles of rhododendron trunks.

After a while I found myself in an area called ‘New Zealand’.

The guide explains that the so called ‘Flower Garden’ is also about fruit and vegetables.

This is possibly my favourite photo of the visit,

or perhaps this.

The Sundial Garden

I started to explore more widely than just the main gardens, and came across this wood turner, who was making honey dippers, near Home Farm.

The East Lawn was a large play area for children.

But I was headed much further on, down, down, down, through The Jungle to the Burma Rope Bridge.

This was great fun. I held back to get a clearer picture of what was before me (fortunately no-one was queuing behind me) and to avoid the stupidity of the not-so-young man two in front of me who insisted on bouncing around and disturbing others on the bridge.

At the other end, and after a few yards right, I followed none of these following directions, becoming conscious of the time, and took the Diagonal Path behind me. It was quite steep.

So I was glad of the several opportunities it gave to rest.

Approaching Home Farm again, I saw the very recently installed Bugginghum Palace, which hopes to make it into The Guinness Book of Records as the largest insect hotel in the world.

On Home Farm, a ‘chicken tractor’. It is moved frequently to give the residents fresh grass.
Bee boles dating from about 1820. Bees continue to play an important part in Heligan’s work.

This is the “Thunderbox Room, a lighthearted title for the gardeners’ lavatory. … It was in the first of the two cubicles in 1990 that Tim Smit and John Nelson first noticed the names on the wall. …. numerous barely legible signatures… August 1914… shortly to depart to fight in the First World War. Of the total of thirteen Heligan men who were to serve… only four survived.”

I was disinclined to enter just to see an old-fashioned loo, especially given the low headroom, but then I noticed a swallow flying in, and suspected that it was visiting a nest.

I was right. Just inside the doorway, behind me …

I hung around, my camera at the ready, to be rewarded with this, for no more than two seconds.

I was doubly pleased to have entered the Thunderbox Room, as it led into the Italian Garden.

Minutes later I was in The Ravine,

then came across this curious tree. It is a Douglas Fir, with a Witch’s Broom ‘necklace’ round it, highly prized by bonsai specialists apparently.

Flora’s Green, near to Beacon Path and the exit

It was time for me to leave – licking an ice-cream. I had not seen the entire estate, far from it, and this is only a tiny selection of the photos I took. But Marks and Spencer called…