On our March holiday in Cornwall, we visited several of the region’s many spectacular and lovely gardens. While Heligan was my absolute favourite I thoroughly enjoyed each one we visited; every one had something unique to offer.
The first garden we went to was Tremenheere Sculpture Garden. Unlike most of the other Cornish gardens- which are situated within the grounds of grand houses, have a long heritage and have been landscaped for may decades if not centuries- Tremenheere is a modern landscape of the 2000s.
In some ways you can tell that it’s more modern, and that it’s gone for something of a ‘USP’ with the sculptures to distinguish itself from the competition of the more established gardens. That said, it does have several of the features of the larger and older gardens, such as the zones of tropical planting and native woodland.
The steps in the ‘floating garden’ below are part of a 2015 Chelsea Garden by Darren Hawkes. They’re made of hundreds of slivers of slate stacked on its edge that somehow look like they’ll be soft to walk on.
The garden is on a smaller scale than the likes of Heligan and Trewithen, but there is a lot packed in. The sculptures are all plotted on a map so you can make sure you don’t miss them.
‘Black Mound’ by David Nash Ra was one of my favourites; it’s a collection of charred oak trunks nestled into the woodland. I expect it looks even better when all the bluebells around it are in flower. In my different designs for my own garden, the idea of a collection of vertical shapes of different heights keeps appearing.
I also very much liked this monolith from Darren Hawkes’ Chelsea garden.
If you look through it from a certain angle, you see up the hill to the ‘Restless Temple’ by Penny Saunders, which moves and sways around ‘…at the mercy of nature, challenging our preconceptions of what we hold secure and stable in everyday life’.
The most atmospheric part of the garden was the camera obscura, situated inside a pitch dark dome in the middle of the garden. This early form of ‘camera’ picks up light through a tiny hole in the roof and projects it onto a round screen at waist height in front of you. You get a live image of the outside, with the trees swaying in the wind, and you can turn and tilt the screen to get a 360 degree view of the garden.
Near to the car park is this plant shop with the most amazing green roof, but sadly it wasn’t open when we visited.
Tremenheere is definitely worth a visit, particularly if you want to see something a little different to the stately home gardens. It was less busy than most of the other gardens we went to, though I’m sure as its reputation grows it will become more popular, and judging by the full tables at Tremenheere Kitchen it looks like the restaurant alone brings a lot of people to the site.
Before leaving, we picked up the Great Gardens of Cornwall map and had it stamped. If you’re visiting Cornwall, make sure to do this as it gets you a discounted entry to all of the gardens in the scheme.
All photos, except for the last two, taken by Dave Musson