Sonya's Travels 2

Sonya Is Our Houseplant Manager And A Very Keen Gardener Who Loves Getting Out And About Visiting Gardens And Places Of Interest. Read On To Find Out More About Sonya’s Recent Visit To Cornwall’s Famous Gardens.

Cornwall’s Gardens In A Weekend

Time for a short break, or maybe along weekend. Our trip started Friday when we drove to St. Austell with the journey taking seven hours as there was lots of traffic! We stayed in a lodge at the Cornwall Hotel, which was a great base, being clean and comfortable.

We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning and after a lovely breakfast set off for the Eden Project. Our first visit had been some years ago when the children were small and the Eden Project was still being developed. We arrived early to get a closer parking spot – it’s very hilly there as it was once a quarry and after a long day the last thing you want is a long trek up the hill to the car.

The tropical biomes were our first stop as the heat steadily builds as the day warms up! I was really looking forward to seeing the tropical plants, trees and flowers. We were lucky enough to see Roul Roul birds and their tiny little chicks. Roul Roul partridges live on the forest floor and spend the majority of their day foraging for food. They eat fruits, seeds, large beetles, wood ants and snails. There were also little armies of ants cleaning up which I found fascinating.

As you walk along the rope bridge you come to a beautiful waterfall where everyone stands for a few moments to feel the slight misty spray and cool down. At set times you can go higher, but unfortunately we had just missed the time slot!

The palms soar high, bananas have huge leaves and some even have fruits. There were pineapple gingers, bromeliads, Hibiscus, Caladium, Aphelandra – too many plants to mention them all! I find this biome so exciting and inspiring – seeing everyday houseplants growing to there full potential – they are like old friends to me.

Our journey continued to the Mediterranean biome which was a little sparse last time we visited, but now it looks great with ancient olives, daturas, euphorbia, aoniums and even a Jacaranda tree which you may have seen on your holidays. Citrus trees, were growing side by side with vegetables inside and outside the biomes.

There is so much more to the Eden Project than is immediately obvious with a message of education and caring for our planet. Recycling and the impact that we are having is everywhere from the shops to the restaurants. Everything has been so well thought out. There are inspirational videos, one of which I watched about astronauts and how looking back at the earth had a profound impact on them, which I found touching and thought provoking. There’s lots for children to do. Science and education has been made so stimulating and fun that they can’t but help be engaged. For adults just to add to the fun there is a huge zip wire, a swing and other scary rides, which is at an extra cost.

We returned the following morning and went on the zip wire that travels over the top of the Eden Project. It’s the longest and fastest in England and is both hair raising and exhilarating – a real wow moment!

After a cup of tea to calm the nerves we headed off to The Lost Gardens of Heligan. The garden feels vast and maybe flip flops weren’t the best idea! Heligan has been a major restoration project over the years. As the name suggests it is truly a jungle with surprising plants at every turn, with over 200 acres to explore including glasshouses, a walled garden, cutting garden, vegetable garden, ponds, a rope bridge – again, good footwear is a must! There are ancient crumbled walls where plants have taken up home, farm animals for the children, places to stop on route for a drink and a snack or even a picnic. Dogs are also allowed, so all the family can visit. Heligan is not ideal for push chairs or wheelchairs because of uneven surfaces and hills.

On Monday we decided to stay another night. We had to move into the hotel, but they were kind enough to transfer our belongings while we went out for another day exploring.
We headed off to Saint Ives for breakfast and a paddle as it’s a favourite family spot with crystal clear water and bright blue sky’s – heaven! I could have stayed all day but another garden was on my mind and we needed time to explore it.

Trebah is a beautiful sub-tropical garden with a stunning coastal backdrop and it’s own private beach on the Helford River. I was so impressed with Trebah – the plants were huge and I felt like Alice in Wonderland after she had drunk the shrink me potion! It’s a huge garden and so well looked after, which must be a mammoth task. A Dicksonia Antarctica jungle – I have never seen so many at once – truly magical. There were Gunneras with such huge leaves that you could walk under them and so many plants mingled together, including skyscraper bamboos – the kind you could probably use for scaffolding. Streams, waterfalls, lily ponds, including one with koi were all strikingly beautiful. Near the top of the garden there are amazing views that give the opportunity to really appreciate the scale of this immense place.

The restaurant and plant shop are at the end of your journey and of course I couldn’t resist a little plant from the shop to add to the growing collection in the car is a must! We had an amazing time in Cornwall, so much more to explore but my husband was gardened out (his words) and we are needed at home – see you again soon Cornwall.