The Lost Gardens of Heligan, near Mevagissey, are one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. Loes has been dreaming of it for years, so there we went, yesterday.
The gardens were created by members of the Cornish Tremayne family from the mid-18th century to the beginning of the 20th century.They still form part of the family’s Heligan estate. The gardens were neglected after the First World War and restored only in the 1990s, a restoration that was the subject of several popular television programmes and books.
The place name, properly pronounced ‘h’LIG’n’, and not the commonly heard ‘HEL-i-gun’, is derived from the Cornish word helygen, “willow tree”.
The gardens are in a wide, spacious area. Several options are being offered to the vistors: Main Garden Features, Curiosities, Animals and Woodland Sculptures, Lost Valley and the Outdoor (?) Jungle.
I do like gardens, but I don’t know much about them. Therefore, afterwards I learned that I had missed the Swan’s Egg Pear, the Handkerchief Tree, world’s largest Fuchsia, the Ginkgo and the emu, the second tallest bird in the world (after the ostrich). I felt sad about missing the emu, who lays 40 eggs a year and is omnivorous! Did I know that daddy emu carries out most of the nursery duties, refusing food and drink while he incubates them for 40 days and then guards the chicks for the next five to seven months? No, I did not. I do wonder what mum is doing all the time when her spouse is busy…
But my biggest delight and pleasure was to find a little field with pigs. How often do we see nowadays pigs rolling in the mud, making these grunting noises, running around…
Farrowing means giving birth to piglets
A sow is an adult female that has had piglets
A runt is the smallest of the litter
Weaners are piglets at 6-10 weeks old, weaned from the sow
A stag is a boar castrated after maturity
I’m sure we all know that famous saying by Winston Churchill about pigs?
“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”