Thursday, July 19, 2007

Books: The Lost Gardens of Heligan

One of the books I have had my nose in as of late is The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Run, don't walk, to your library, bookstore, whatever and treat yourself to this treasure. Then, curl up with some tea and crumpets.

Here's the general gist of it. A centuries-old, self-sufficient Cornwall (England) estate garden was left to crumble - after most of the garden staff was killed during the first World War. Then, around 1990, several gentleman gardeners decide to resurrect and restore it to its original state - unearthing delight after delight up from under the brambles and the overgrowth. The book describes their discoveries and their devotion to Heligan with the love and curiosity any gardener can appreciate.

I won't tell you what they find. But I will tell you that the book has wonderfully revealing pictures. I thought I would be able to restrain myself and just look at the photos as the story unfolded. Nope. I gobbled them all up and just stared at them, agog, for an hour before actually even starting the book.

If you are lucky enough to get over to merry old England, you can visit the gardens. Here's a look at Heligan's restored Italian garden.

(And, yes! They have before, after and historical photos of this spot in the book. Totally, horticulturally-nerdily satisfying.)


carrol said...

Soo intrigueing (sp?)..the idea that a garden can hold secrets. A family connection to Cornwall adds to my curiosity. Thanks for the recommendation

Tracey said...

Yes, many secrets. In fact, there are tons of buried clues that reveal more and more about the people who maintained the gardens. One bit of old graffiti said something along the lines of "Do not come here to sit or sleep." Goosebumps . . .

Terra Hangen said...

Oh my, this is the second title I jotted down, upon reading your blog. Thanks for the reviews.