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Any regular blog readers will know I have a soft spot for Heligan.  It is our local garden and we work closely supporting them.  But today it reminded me while I love it so much.  My reluctant colleague (Bethany, 3) and Anna (6 months headed) there this morning.  To say Bethany didn’t want to be there was an understatement but for one day this week I was hopeful of returning to a vaguely clean house at the end of the day and obviously I needed to research what their Lost Summer was like for the blog.

Well, it was one of those days where we just smiled from start to finish.  As soon as we walked in Bethany remembered why we LOVE Heligan.  Off she went on the short trail following the ribbons to their meadow where The Lost Summer is again.  With a large play area, a fire to toast marshmallows on and dens to build you can spend all day there.  And where did we spend two hours of our morning?  In the hammocks, in fact we set up camp there moving to the various activities but always returning to Bethany’s favourite place to read stories whilst swinging in the trees.

My highlight was the breathtakingly good music and stories performed by Emma Mansfield and Roger Luxton from The Really Lovely People Project.  Many moons ago, when Jess was a baby we used to go to music group with Roger.  He has a rare quality that captures children’s spirits.  They are mesmersied by his guitar and drums – I can’t put into words what it is he does to children but even Anna at 6 months was sat their staring at his performance.  Coupled with Emma’s amazing singing and tunes made up all around The Giant’s story it truly was fantastic.  I will be returning over and over again throughout the summer just to join in their magical music and stories.

That’s Heligan, so worth a visit for at least a day if not more, but what other gardens should you add to your list:

  1. Heligan.  Obviously.  See above!
  2. The Eden Project.  I feel any garden list of the local area must have it on, however it is not our all time favourite.  Don’t get me wrong, it is good but it is also pricey.  Things to think about are – it will be heaving.  Go early to appreciate it as it’s quietest.  Do not go on a rainy day thinking it is a rainy day activity because a) every other visitor has had the same idea b) only about 1/3 is undercover the rest is outdoors.  It claims to be dog friendly, but you cannot take dogs into the Biomes.
  3. Trebah – boasting the same magically qualities of Heligan with a fantastic maze and great cafe.  The gardens also host an ampitheatre over the summer which is worth checking out.
  4. Pinetum Park – in the heart of St Austell this is a bit of a hidden gem.  Although smaller than some gardens their detail and thought that has gone into the gardens is worthy of a visit.
  5. The Hidden Valley Garden – this is a real hidden gem.  A real plantsman garden.  Go and see planting in a lived in garden at it’s best.  Be inspired and then buy some of their wonderful and very reasonably priced plants they have tended themselves.  This is a morning visit – you couldn’t spend a day here.  But why not follow up with a lunch at The Duchy Nursery?

This weekend sees the busiest weekend of the year hit us.  We have a massive changeover on Saturday.  It is an interesting time as a family as we juggle that work life balance.  It is becoming more and more apparent Jessica just wants to be here the whole time meeting new friends and running around in the meadow, which is lovely.  I have to become super organised, more organised than normal in a vague attempt to keep clothes clean and food in the cupboards…all good fun and made all worth while when we checked in a guest this week he looked at us with a great big smile and said “it feels like I am home when I drive in through your gates”.  Welcome home, one and all. x