Maggie's Virtual Garden Stroll in SW England, May '99

England's geography may be more familiar to nonresident Anglophiles in terms of literary titles than by actual county names. Think Pirates of Penzance, The French Lieutenant's Woman, To the Lighthouse, Lorna Doone, The Shell Seekers, and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, and we will arrive in the most southwestern tip of England. Here the peninsula catches Gulf Jet Stream airs, warming Cornwall to the most temperate spot of the United Kingdom. This is a land of generous rains, hearty soil, cool nights and passionate gardeners; descendants of a Victorian era endowed with the bounty of heroic world-trekking plant collectors. We have arrived in a Horticultural Mecca where palm tree fronds shade 30-foot rhododendrons, keeping company with banana trees, bluebells, camellias, foxglove, and tree ferns in seemingly naturalized, but cultivated gardens of cottages and estates. This doesn't sound like the generic 'English Garden' does it?  But that cliché term may best be defined as one which is 'found in the heart of the beholder', to avoid offending those of a commercial mindset or academic precepts.

Victorian Estate Gardens

Of the 74 gardens open to visitors in the county of Cornwall , here are a few scenes from two fascinating Edens reflecting the anomaly of tropicals amid classical European designs.

Glendurgan Gardens

Lost Gardens of Heligan

 Cottage Gardens & Wildflowers


Heligan Wild : A Year of Nature in the Lost Garden
by Colin Howlett

English Country Cottage : Interiors, Details & Gardens
by Sally Griffiths



Pleasures of the Cottage Garden
by Rand B. Lee

Creating a Cottage Garden in North America
by Stephen Westcott Gratton