I awake to “pssttt…..SQUIRREL!!!!” Chris has made friends with a
local who happily takes almonds then cherries as treats. He knows
the rules of polite nut engagement and is a happy start to the day.
The last of the domestics is to drop our bags back into storage.
Once accomplished we set off to see The Lost Gardens of Heligan. I
was desperate to see them last year, but underestimated the time it
took to pack and leave and so missed them.
The gardens were part of a thriving estate for over 400 years up
until WW1 when all the men went to war and the estate and
gardens closed over as nature drew a cloak of secrecy over them.
The families that ran it for 400 years were very private so not a great
deal is know about the estate, but we do know that nature took
hold and the estate was left fallow until its discovery in 1990. It was
unrecognisable under overgrowth. A team of dedicated volunteers
has spent the last 25 years faithfully restoring it.
It now boasts over 200 varieties of heirloom fruits and vegetables, a
herd of Dexter cows (one third smaller than the average cow) and
many variety of sheep, chicken and ducks. Also a thriving farm shop
and a cafe that takes advantage of the estate’s produce. This is
sustainable farming with a respect of the land, the animals and
wildlife on it. Much of the farm is dedicated to wildlife preservation
and has a thriving family of barn owls, native birds, squirrels, foxes,
badgers and bunnies. There’s a wildlife hide where the local school
children have carefully detailed their sightings. We see many
varieties of birds snacking on feeders and just as we leave, a baby
bunny joins them.
The gardens also have a series of modern but expressive sculptures,
the giant’s head, the grey lady and most captivating, the mud maid.
She’s just beautiful, a giant maiden asleep on her side, her face and
hand beautiful in their curves and detail. Her body is covered in
moss and her hair is artfully planted. She’s the absolute highlight for
me. She looks as if she wakes when the garden is still and sleeps as
Dinner at home. A chorizo chicken bake. Yum. Early to bed for both.
We’re still tired. Chris is still very ill.