Bloom­ing after 25 years

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

HE Heli­gan es­tate gar­dens in Corn­wall were a flour­ish­ing ex­am­ple of Ed­war­dian progress un­til the First World War over­shad­owed ev­ery­thing; by 1917, they were a sad, ghostly jun­gle, after 15 out of the 23 out­side work­ers had been killed.

The gar­den’s fa­mous res­ur­rec­tion didn’t be­gin un­til 25 years ago, when Tim Smit of the Eden Project and John Wil­lis, who was run­ning the es­tate, were hack­ing their way through the af­ter­math of the Great Storm. Their most poignant dis­cov­ery was the Thun­der­box Room—the gar­den­ers’

Tloos—with graf­fiti dated Au­gust 1914, which the Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum has des­ig­nated a ‘Liv­ing Memo­rial’.

The Lost Gar­dens of Heli­gan, which won Best UK Leisure At­trac­tion in the Bri­tish Travel Awards, starts its an­niver­sary year, marked by the plant­ing of some 20,000 snow­drop bulbs and 30,000 daf­fodils, by open­ing in aid of char­ity on New Year’s Day. Ad­mis­sion is free, but do­na­tions are en­cour­aged (http://heli­gan.com; 01726 845100). There’s to be a new rare-breed an­i­mal barn in 2017 plus a ‘Love Wildlife’ week from Fe­bru­ary 11 to 19. KG

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