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The Lost Gardens of Heligan: A Journey Into Good Old Victorian England


English traditions and the British contribution to the development of landscape design are extremely weighty and easily noticeable in many parks located in different parts of the world. Great examples of landscape art are in England itself, for example, the beautiful "Lost Gardens of Heligan" in Cornwall, which will be dedicated to today's virtual tour.

Cornwall is located in the south-west of Great Britain, the Gulf Stream carries its warm waters past its shores, greatly influencing the climate of the area, making it more warm. The mild climate, combined with the efforts of enthusiasts, allows them to cultivate on this land, in addition to local species, many tropical trees and plants, usually growing in more southern latitudes.

The History of the Lost Gardens

In England, all significant objects have their own interesting history and "lost gardens" are no exception. The garden is located in the park, which for four centuries belonged to the noblemen of the Tremeinov family. The gardens were born in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This period was the heyday of Great Britain, when it was at the zenith of power, and English scientists went on expeditions to the most distant corners of the world and brought from them rare plants that few people knew about before.

At the same time, there was a great interest in landscape design, which was reflected in the increased fashion for the decorative design of gardens, parks, estates. Rapid development of various design areas took place. Under the influence of fashion trends, the garden belonging to the Tremains was designed according to the rules of the "gardenesque" direction.

According to this style, the site was divided into several zones, distinguished by an individual design solution. Thus, the Heligan garden included several areas, each of which played the role assigned to it: a place for a walk, a garden where vegetables were grown, a plot covered with real jungle with exotic fruit trees.

According to the initial idea, a modest role was assigned to the garden - to diversify the menu of the aristocratic cuisine of the owners of the estate due to unusual fruits and vegetables.

But soon the garden acquired such a charming look that concerns about the most aesthetic design of this magnificence came to the fore.

The First World War had an extremely negative impact on the garden - most of the gardeners caring for the garden went to the front, and the Tremeynov family went dead. A representative of the family who lived on the estate did not take proper care of the garden. Naturally, having lost care, the garden quickly began to decline. Almost the entire garden was under the thick cover of overgrown weeds and ivy, which was greatly facilitated by great humidity and a warm climate.

About half a century, the gardens were in oblivion, until, finally, a man appeared who decided to make every effort to return them to their former charm and splendor.

His name was Tim Smith, a sound engineer by profession, he carried in his soul a genuine passion for gardening and the ability to appreciate the beauty of nature.

Smith with the help of friends began to actively take measures to restore the gardens of Heligan. It required a lot of money and Smith organizes several television broadcasts and publications in the press to draw the attention of the English public to the disastrous state of the once beautiful garden.

These measures had an effect, restoration work began, and many British watched with interest in the media their progress. And Tim Smith described how the restaurant went in his book, which described in detail how England returned a wonderful piece of its past and what difficulties had to be overcome.

Location

Heligan Gardens: today

A visit to the gardens of Helingan can be compared to a journey into the past, as in some kind of science fiction novel. In this place you can feel the atmosphere of Victorian England, with its characteristic attributes and spirit. This mood is maintained, and so, gardening is carried out with such tools and with the use of technologies that were in use a century ago. An exception is made only for fertilizers, giving preference to modern formulations.

In the restored garden, division into plots with different functional loads is preserved. Paths with rhododendrons and ferns grow on the sides of the garden. Taking a walk, you can suddenly find yourself in front of a grotto covered with moss and ivy or a charming Italian-style garden.

In the far part of the garden is a plot with the speaking name Jungle. At this place, one of the former owners of the garden, Jack Tremaine, decided to embody the idea of ​​growing heat-loving plant species in England. At first, the seemingly insane undertaking was unexpectedly successful. Bright tropical plants that are so uncharacteristic for cool and foggy Albion began to grow here, which during the flowering period amaze visitors with a rainbow palette of colors.

Walking along the path, winding under the canopy of mighty oaks and beech trees, you can go to the Lost Valley, in which there really is such lush vegetation that this place seems completely devoid of traces of human presence.

Three orchards of fruit trees, from which the harvested fruit was served on the table, are located not far from the Tremeinov estate. Around kindergartens erected decorative fences.

The attention of people visiting the garden is always attracted by the pineapple pit. Since even the South English climate is not very hot, in contrast to the places of usual growth of pineapples, the solution was found in using special pits for growing heat-loving crops. Such pits are heated by biofuel, which is compost.

Such an original technology required careful monitoring. One of the gardeners carefully monitored the pits, measuring the temperature every three hours, whether it be day or night. And although this method of cultivation was laborious, thanks to it, the Tremain family could be proud that their menu included freshly picked pineapples.

Tim Smith and like-minded people tried to revive this ancient technology of growing in a pit, without using modern achievements. And they didn’t do it badly; the grown pineapples were even sent as a gift to the Queen of England.

Parks and gardens of England

Living sculptures of Heligan Gardens

One of the most remarkable and memorable features of Heligan Gardens is his living sculptures. These amazing sculptures are a surprisingly successful combination of minerals and living plants. The most famous of them are two sculptures - one called "Sleeping Girl", the second - "Giant's Head". They became the hallmark of Heligan Gardens, inseparable and, probably, the most original element of the landscape. Plants are planted in such a way that they are perceived as hair on the head of stone sculptures, and the girl’s body from immodest looks is covered by a green moss coverlet.

The lost gardens of Heligan are a wonderful opportunity to stay in the very heart of nature, in which man-made elements are organically combined with the pristine beauty of plants. A visit to this place enriches the worldview with new ideas about the old English spirit, which is embodied here in peculiar sculptures, romantic houses and grottoes, floral arrangements and much more.