Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Down in the Jungle

Maria often describes our garden as a jungle.  It's not - certainly not compared to the aptly named Jungle at Heligan, near Mevagissey in Cornwall.

The story of the rediscovery and restoration of Heligan after years under rampant growth has oft times been told.  I've even heard it from Tim Smit, the main inspiration behind the restored garden - a most impressive public speaker - and a fine tale it is.  But not one for here.  Others do it better.

I've visited Heligan a fair few times since it's initial re-opening.  It's only an hour away.  It's been fascinating to see the restoration of the decorative and productive sides of the main garden.  But I have to confess the main attraction for me is the Jungle, a steep sided valley with pools and a small river at the base, penetrated by boardwalks and bark paths, and densely planted with big leaved plants.  Tree ferns, Trachycarpus palms, Sequoia, Gunnera, bamboos, Musa and many others forming an almost sub-tropical rainforest type structure.  My idea of a garden.

First sight is impressive - but also deceptive.  Rhododendrons and tree ferns round a small lake, the view framed by a Trachycarpus fortunei palm.

But then you move into the jungle and things get even more rainforest like.

Dicksonia antarctica under massive rhododendrons
Water is everywhere, framed by bamboos and tree ferns

Waterside plantings of massive leaved Gunnera and Lysichiton are dwarfed by tree ferns and bamboos

And Iris pseudacorus is dwarfed by the tall stems of Trachycarpus fortunei and fronds of the tree ferns in a drier patch.

One of my favourite views has to be looking down from the bark and wooden steps down to a slab crossing over the connecting stream between the lakes.

Or, if you fancy something a little more 'interesting', how about a trip over the rope bridge.  Apparently it's not going to be there for long.  As Maria said after her journey across, 'That's another one off the bucket list."  The camera was in the bag for the crossing.  You need both hands!

Another couple of shots taken in May last year to finish up with.

Now, how do I get all that in a 250 yd sq / 220 metre sq of garden?  Ideas on large denomination banknotes, please.

As always, click the pictures to embiggen.


  1. Magical Heligan, it's been awhile since we've been, we ought to next time we're in Cornwall.

  2. I’d love to have a jungle garden - my garden is 62 m2…..and I garden on a shoestring budget. I have opted for a jungle-feeling without the jungle plants, if you get me, and from late spring to late autumn, my garden is so full that it feels like a jungle :-)
    Thanks for the real-jungle photos, lovely place, I have seen it on TV, wish I had space for at least a couple of tree-ferns!