Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, England –
“One of the most mysterious estates in England. At the end of the 19thC its thousand acres were at their zenith, yet only a few years later bramble and ivy were beginning to draw a green veil ….”
The gardens and estate were developed by four generations of the Tremayne family between 1770 and 1914 and are now claimed to be the site of the largest garden restoration in Europe. When World War I started in 1914, all the male staff signed up to serve, and Heligan House, built in 1603, became a convalescent home for the duration of the war. At war’s end the Tremayne’s were not able to maintain the estate, and the gardens went into gradual decline. Then, in 1990, a chance meeting between the Tremayne family member who had inherited the gardens, John Willis, and Tim Smit and John Nelson changed the history and direction of Heligan Gardens. Smith and Nelson got a lease on the gardens, researched their history, raised money and the restoration began, and still continues.
Cornish artists Sue & Pete Hill were commissioned by Heligan in 1998 to create two exciting and imaginative living sculptures. They are made from mud, twigs, plants and flowers using metal stakes to support the arrangements.
One is the Giant’s Face, and the other is the Mud Maid who sleeps peacefully by the Woodland Walk.
By happenstance later in our wanderings we met Lyn Nelson, wife of John Nelson, partner in the Heligan Gardens and owner of The Crown Inn in St-Ewe.