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Twenty-five years ago, Heligan’s historic gardens were unknown and unseen; lost under a tangle of weeds. It was only the chance discovery of a door in the ruins that led to the restoration of this once great estate.

Today, The Lost Gardens have been put back where they belong: in pride of place among the finest gardens in Cornwall.

Typical of the 19th century Gardenesque style with areas of different character and in different design styles, the gardens were created by members of the Cornish Tremayne family from the mid-18th century to the beginning of the 20th century, and still form part of the family's Heligan estate.

The gardens were neglected after the First World War and restored only in the 1990s, a restoration that was the subject of several popular television programs and books.

The gardens include aged and colossal rhododendrons and camellias, a series of lakes, a highly productive flower and vegetable gardens, an Italian garden, and a wild area filled with subtropical tree ferns called "The Jungle". The gardens also have Europe's only remaining pineapple pit, warmed by rotting manure, and two figures made from rocks and plants known as the Mud Maid and the Giant's Head.

The Heligan estate was originally bought by the Tremaynes in the 16th century, and earlier members of the family were responsible for Heligan House and the (still private) gardens that immediately surround it.

After the death of Jack Tremayne, the Heligan estate came under the ownership of several members of the extended Tremayne family. One of these, was responsible for introducing record producer Tim Smit to the gardens. A group of fellow enthusiasts and he decided to restore the garden to its former glory, and eventually leased them from the Tremayne family.

The restoration, which was the subject of a six-part Channel 4 television series produced by Bamboo Productions and Cicada Films in 1996, proved to be an outstanding success. The gardens are now leased by a company owned by their restorers, who continue to cultivate them and operate them as a visitor attraction.

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A large team of workers keeps the garden as a living and working example of the best of past practice, offering public access into the heart of what they do. The focus is on working with nature, accepting and respecting it and protecting and enhancing the variety of habitats within the property.

Discover more: https://www.heligan.com/

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