Lunch with a plan

On Monday, we went for lunch at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, near St Austell in Cornwall. I would have enjoyed a look round the gardens themselves but a disgruntled child is not the best companion. However, we had been taken with the offerings in the cafe last time we visited, in 2015, and it was worth the trip again.

On the wall opposite our table was a plan of a vegetable garden. Without the space, I won’t be implementing such myself anytime soon, but here it is:

Outside, I was reminded of the exotic nature of the gardens themselves. Cornwall’s climate is different from mine in that it is generally warmer and there is substantially more rain. Thus, it is possible to grow palms

and gunnera

with ease. The gunnera pictured above would be fantastic for shading the back of my house in summer but I’d be forever watering. However, I’m still tempted, having learned that parts of it are edible.

Talking of edible plants, I discovered a mini forest garden near the Eden Project shop, which I visited one last time before we headed home on Tuesday. It’s a bit more manicured that mine but I’m glad to have seen it, as it makes me feel I’ve done the Project now.

Another unexpected find before we got much further down the road was a nursery selling unusual plants. It had more of the palms and lots of other greenery I would never put in my garden but the parking area was graced with a large wall of bamboo

which would certainly be a good wind shield.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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23 Responses to Lunch with a plan

  1. skyeent says:

    I’m heading south to visit gardens and forest gardens in the west country at the end of September including also the Eden project and the lost gardens of Heligan. Although I’ve seen both of these, my friend I’m going with (better than a disobliging child) hasn’t. I’m very happy to visit them again and am sad for you that you missed the jungle at Heligan. Maybe another time. I’ll look out for the nursery and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a forest garden at Eden, so more new things there also!

    • Helen says:

      Oh, I have seen the jungle at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, so I haven’t missed out (we actually went into the gardens last time in 2015 😊). We also went inside the Eden Project then. The forest garden bit is near the bus stop/disabled parking – you don’t actually need to pay to see it. So, you might have missed it if you didn’t walk along that particular path to the entrance.
      Here’s a link to the nursery: As the website suggests, it is a peaceful place to walk around, so I was glad my GPS caused me to double-back on myself.
      Anyway, I hope you enjoy your trip to the West Country next month. It must be nice to explore with a friend 😊.

  2. it sounds like your visits were enjoyable even if you couldn’t go in and did get soaked!

    I’m interested that parts of gunnera are edible, will be doing a search later, however, gunnera is on the RHS list of invasives, here on the Hebrides it is an invasive and due to it’s size it blocks the light so kills native plants growing near by, in the dry east with colder winters it probably isn’t a problem, Beth Chatto has it, but in wet mild Cornwall! now to see if the islands have a new food crop and maybe we can eat it to eliminate it 😉

    • Helen says:

      Gunnera on the list of invasives…. Maybe the very small stuff I’ve seen in the English countryside is a variety of it – never put the two together before!
      I can’t remember where I read about it having any edible parts to advise where to look. If you could eat bits, that would add a new dimension to foraging 😊

  3. I looked up edible gunnera, and it is the stalks of G. tinctoria that are edible, apparently it is eaten raw, in salads etc. I am pretty sure the one invading the islands is G. manicata which is not edible but I read the large leaves make a waterproof roof covering, perhaps a new roof for my shed, Frances

    • Helen says:

      Shame you probably can’t eat the local gunnera…

      On the subject of invasives, I recently discovered that crocosmia is also on the list. Apart from patches I noticed in Cornwall, I haven’t seen any in the wild, but clearly we have a lot of cleaning up to do.

      Anyway, maybe a few leaves for your roof would be a start 😊

  4. Sorry you were hampered. We have a path in our garden named Heligan, because when we arrived it was so overgrown that we didn’t know it was there

  5. mortaltree says:

    Ah, yes. Gunnera is SO tempting. You know it’s also a nitrigen fixer? It uses different bacteria, and a different method of fixation than legumes, or most N fixers actually. I must confess I am guilty of trying one and killing the poor thing. What’s more, I have a feeling I’ll try it again.

    Will be very interested in your attempt if you should ever try it.

    • Helen says:

      I didn’t know it was a nitrogen-fixer! More food for thought, then😊.
      Likewise, if you try it again, I’d be interested to hear of the results.

  6. I always think I’d need a bigger garden for Gunnera, but if it’s edible I may give it a go. I have some dwarf bamboo but daren’t grow the full size as it’s invasive and the neighbours wouldn’t appreciate it.

    We’re off to Cornwall soon and hoping to visit the Eden Project.

  7. Sounds like you had a really nice time in Cornwall. Have enjoyed reading your posts about your trip 🙂

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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