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the garden of eden

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My long suffering wife finally decided,“if you cant beat em join em” and announced one day last spring "Ive booked short break for us in Cornwall for late September which involves a visit to The Eden Project, and the Lost Gardens of HELIGAN " I though I was hearing things because, while my wife will indulge my passion for visiting gardens on a local basis, this meant a dedicated trip to visit two of the gardens I have long yearned to see. Now I don’t know if anyone noticed but we then went on to have the most miserable summer I can remember in my life, so I held no great hope for fair weather on our fast approaching (first) visit to Cornwall, Anyway the great day came on 26 september and my wife and I set off to Perth to get the bus for our tour, the morning was quite nice with some sunshine which I chose not to believe was a good omen, and we set off, the trip although very long (about 600 miles) was punctuated by frequent stops, the first being at Moffat in the borders which was quite lovely, we stopped in Stafford for the night in a hotel which was only about a mile from the M6, the evening meal we had there was given a unanimous thumbs up from every one on the bus who we had started to find very good company. Onwards, we then stopped south of Birmingham on day two about 9.30 in the morning to be greeted by dense fog, just our luck I thought, but on continuing down the M5? the day became clearer and warmer and by the time we stopped near cheddar gorge, it was a beautiful day, southwards, we then found ourselves in Cornwall, and stopped at the Jamaica Inn for our last stop, finally we reached our destination Newquay and our hotel which had a large picture window overlooked Fistral beach which was inundated with surfers, the sight of 22 year old (male) surfers changing out of their wet suits right in front of the window was not at all offensive to my wifes eyes, (although she would never admit it) , anyway after such a long trip we were all very tired and after a few drinks in the bar it was off to bed, next morning began completely cloudless (although cool)and we set off to The Eden project, as we went along it became clear I was going to be a warm day, and coats were soon discarded, when we reached Eden it was in the 20’s (unbelievable given we had not experienced weather like it the whole summer) Eden was everything I had imagined and more the biomes presented a challenge both physically and more importantly to our conscience as they pointed out the effect the world is having on tropical regions on human, animal and plant life, because of our insatiable demand for the raw materials these regions provide, relief was provided in the outdoor gardens, which were awesome, we then decided to rest a while in the outdoor restaurant which was surprisingly cheap, and partook of a few pints of the local ale £1.50 a pint WHAT? I have a rule that when I leave a garden I have visited I MUST take away a momento, so we went to the (very well stocked) plant sales area,and after much mulling over which plant should make the long trek north with me, decided on an Aeonium Shwartzkopf which at only 3.75 thought was excellent value, back to the hotel and after a long but very enjoyable day, again most people on the bus were too tired for a long session in the bar, and it was off to bed about 21.30, next morning once more showed great promise and soon what clouds there were rolled off into the Atlantic leaving another cloudless day, onto The Lost Gardens of Heligan, the warmth of the day already building when we reached the garden about 10.00am we were given a guided tour by a gentleman who brought the gardens heyday in the early 1900’s to life and we were transported back to 1902 effortlessly by him, the tour ended and visitors were left to explore for themselves, by which time the temperature was in the mid 20’s eh? in late September? so it was somewhat of a relief to go down into the “jungle” which was noticeably cooler, but we didn’t realize the climb out of the jungle ( trachycarpus fortunii growing to 30 feet amongst many other things) was quite so steep, so following another (older) couple from our tour, we climbed a boardwalk up to the main garden, this proved to be quite a challenge as the climb in places felt almost vertical, the older lady was having a bit of sport with me by asking if I needed to stop for a rest, (smoker) pride would not allow me to stop, and when we reached the top I thought I was going to collapse, (would never have admitted it though) we then went for the ubiquitous cream tea in the gardens outdoor teahouse, the wife returned with tea and scones the size of saucers with jam (seemed like a full pot) and enough clotted Cornish cream to fill a large sponge, I said “that would have cost you” she replied “£4.50” WHAT? you would pay that in marks and sparks for one, back to the entrance and the plant sales area , and again after much heart searching decided on a Restio Baloskion Tetraphyllum which after checking is supposed to be hardy down to minus 10 hmmm may keep that in the green house for the first winter or two, cost me again about 3 quid I’m starting to think were getting ripped off in our local garden centers because I have never seen such hard to find plants at such reasonable prices, before leaving we went to an adjoining farm shop, and on speaking to the butcher he told us that the last couple of days had been the best weather Cornwall had had all summer, talk about luck, next day we started the long journey north again, punctuated by really interesting stops, the best one being at a cider maker in Taunton, but as we went north you could feel we were leaving the balmy weather behind,when we got back to our mid point stop for the night at the same hotel we stopped at our our way south, the weather was cold and miserable with heavy rain,but again they fed us with a memorable meal, this time though the passengers decided to stay in the bar (it was our last night) and have a session, fell into bed about midnight, Northward, the day began where the previous one had left off and the trip north was one of constantly heavy rain, back to reality was the all pervading feeling on the bus, but as we drove north of Stirling and only an hour before we got off the bus, the sun came back out, and by the time we reached Perth It was a very respectable day for Scotland in late September, everyones spirits were revived, Perth, almost home when we got off the bus (to be picked up by our daughter for the remaining leg home) my wife presented the bus driver with a thank you card and of course a little something to get himself few pints, the driver (a gruff but amiable Aberdonian) was genuinely touched she should take the trouble to buy a card, but as she pointed out his entertaining and somewhat ribald comments over his speaker made the trip very pleasurable and seemed much shorter than it was, a few days later we were called by the travel firm asking if we had any feedback for them, the wife pointed out that in spite of not being a natural gardener herself couldn’t remember when she had such a good time, the caller then told my wife the driver reported back his deep pleasure at the nice verse my wife had written in his card, we’ll be going with that company again, I think I’ll take her a cup of tea in bed

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Comments

 

Wow, that is a blog and a half. Lovely reading, that was a great trip. I also know a Perth, named after your city, but it is the capital of Western Australia, and probably lots bigger than yours. 4 pound 50 for tea and scones seems a rip off to me, but for you it was a bargain. Funny, that is. I know things are much cheaper here than in Europe and even having tea and scones in the country out in the gardens under a shady tree wouldn't cost half of that here.
I am going to let my hubby read those last few words of the last sentence!

30 Oct, 2008

 

Me & My Fella Phil visited Eden This Yr Johndman & we found it was a Fantastic Day 1 we`l never forget :) We also visited Cheese Gorge on way Home the Next day& that 2 was a Grand Day,What wonderful things there still are we all need/want2see of this Beautiful Planet that man has made & not DESTROYED! :D

3 Nov, 2008

 

Tim Smits idea of building Eden in a quarry was one of the most inspired ideas of of the industrial era, there will I believe be follow on projects all around Britain ,lets face it, there are dead quarries all over the place, and what better place to build something like that, dead land but by it's very nature sheltered, maybe local authorities will regenerate these places and draw people like Eden does

3 Nov, 2008

 

Funny u say this Johndman weve old Quarrys few miles out from My Town & their Super :) U get 2 see 3/4 lakes&lots of woodland where wonderful trees thrive :)

3 Nov, 2008

 

there you go, we should start a movement and get these places back to life

3 Nov, 2008

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