Hope in a garden

Fun garden entrance at Heligan

Yesterday was so-called 'Blue Monday', the day of the year when we're supposed to be at our most miserable. I can't think of a better way to counteract the winter blues than to visit a garden, especially when it's in Cornwall.

Come with me for a quick pick me up trot around Heligan, which I had the good fortune to visit last week...

Camellia in full bloom in January

The warmer Cornish climate is always going to cheer the heart in January, especially when the Camellias are enormous and in full flower like this one. There were plenty of daffodils in evidence too, plus lots of tender plants such as Dicksonia not wearing fleecy winter coats like they need in my garden.

This is a garden that gives hope that spring will come, even in the darkest days of winter.

Heligan Kitchen garden collage
Click to enlarge for a better view of the garden details

Winter is a great time to admire fruit tree pruning perfection, top-up greenhouse and cold frame envy, and appreciate the odd splashes of colour to be found in the enormous kitchen garden. I also added tool shed envy to my list of sighs, though only my photo of the hundreds of terracotta pots in there is worthy of inclusion on our walk.

Heligan takes advantage of the sea's bounty as they're allowed to harvest local seaweed for their mulched beds. It's also here in the kitchen garden where we find many of the poignant reminders of Heligan's story of the gardeners who left for WWI and never returned.

Wheelbarrows lined up ready for action at Heligan

I idly wondered what happens if a gardener appears with the wrong wheelbarrow for the area they're looking after ;)

A quick walk to The Jungle
The walk to The Jungle... and back. A small selection of the views and plants we found
A brisk walk to The Jungle allowed us to take in plenty of the rest of the garden, though sadly we didn't have time to explore the wider estate of around 200 acres.

We did have time to admire the restios, agaves and other unusual plants; focus in on interesting textures, bark in particular; have a discussion on land art (such as Andy Goldsworthy - the pictured form is Growth and Decay by Cornish sculptor James Eddy); and to sniff the glorious Mahonia, thoughtfully placed at the side of one of the paths, just at a time when a pause for a breather was needed.

Naomi Slade on the rope bridge at Heligan
Thanks to Naomi Slade for her invitation to join her for her talks at the Cornwall Garden Society
I also managed a new photographic technique - taking pictures whilst the two of us bounced up and down on the rope bridge!

Thanks goes to Heligan for their hospitality and allowing us to go garden bothering at relatively short notice, and to the Cornwall Garden Society for making us both so welcome.

Old tools artwork
I loved the use of old tools in the artwork decorating Heligan's cafe. Their salads are fab too!

Update: Naomi has A Different View of our visit, in her usual thoughtful, lyrical style.


  1. Oh what a treat to ward away any mid-winter blues VP. Fabulous photos. It's been years since we have been to Heligan. However one of my nephews is getting married in Cornwall this year so we are hoping to fit one or two garden trips as well :) I will give the rope bridge a wide berth though. Just looking at your photo makes me dizzy.

    1. We didn't get to Heligan last year, so I was pleased to have the excuse to rectify that last week. I hope you manage a visit this year too Anna :)

  2. A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. Heligan is a favourite garden of mine and I always used to visit when I went to Cornwall to see relatives. I'd pass on walking across that rope bridge though. Flighty xx

    1. Thanks Flighty. I must admit my knees wobbled a bit before going over the bridge. I used to have an irrational fear of bridges, even the most solid looking ones!

  3. It is a long time since I last visited this garden, but I have always been impressed. I like the wheel barrow park.
    I seem to have lost the link to your blog so I have re done it with my new blog. I should now receive notifications of your posts.

  4. I loved Heligan but thankfully there was no rope bridge when we went - too scary!
    The camellia is amazing.

  5. I remember the Italian garden with a kind window in the hedge to a spectacular view.

  6. Amazing pictures. I love to try that bridge.


Post a Comment

I love hearing from you and welcome thoughtful conversations :)

Comments aiming to link back and give credence to commercial websites will be composted!

Your essential reads

Jack Go To Bed At Noon

Salad Days: Mastering Lettuce

Testing Times: Tomatoes

Chelsea Fringe 2014: Shows of Hands - Episode I

Things in unusual places #26: Rubber Ducks

The Resilient Garden

#mygardenrightnow: heading into summer with the Chelsea Fringe

Merry Christmas!

Introducing the #mygardenrightnow project

That blue flower: A spring spotter's guide