Wander the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall with Tim Smit

Explore the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall with its finder and restorer Tim Smit.

Garden and sculpture

In episode 11 of season three, explore the wonderful Lost Gardens of Heligan with its finder and restorer Tim Smit (who also established the Eden Project). Prepare yourself for some entertaining surprises as Tim discovers some of the more unusual produce of the magical vegetable garden. Tim is talking to Annabel Ross.

Advertisement

History of the Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall were rediscovered after a hurricane in the 1990s, which saw the hidden plot was revealed beneath a veil of bramble and ivy.

The Heligan manor was first built in the 1200s as home to the Tremayne family. The estate was developed from 1766, when the walls of the flower garden were built, to 1907, when the Italian garden was put in place. However, throughout the early 20th century bramble and ivy covered the thousand acres and after decades of neglect the gardens were almost completely concealed.

The derelict gardens were discovered by Tim Smit and John Willis who were inspired by a motto carved into a limestone wall, which still reads “Don’t come here to sleep or slumber” with the workers names signed underneath and the date – August 1914.

Advertisement

By 1991, planning permission was given to open to the public. Since then, work on the grounds has continued through an established team at Heligan and the garden has received numerous awards for restoration.