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Know your place

"Life-changing decisions are often made on the spur of the moment"

The Lost Gardens of Heligan
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The Lost Gardens of Heligan by Hilary Robertson

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My favourite place? The Lost Gardens of Heligan in deepest Cornwall. Having travelled the world in my twenties and seen some of the most exotic and inspiring of locations, it was Heligan and its history that most moved me when I first saw it.

Small children were left with grandparents for what I thought would be an hour or two. After four hours I had to phone to extend the favour and was the last person to leave when the gardens closed. I had discovered a beautiful blue Agapanthus and something had stirred deep inside me.

Heligan has beauty created by the hand of God and tended by the hand of man. That it was first tended by man in a different century and that the house, only glimpsed through a hedge, saw the makings of history is another element of the appeal. I love the various areas of the garden - formal and informal, verdant and multi-coloured - and the different stories in each part. I especially love the back of a greenhouse that has bits of garden junk and weeds behind it - reminiscent of my own garden.

The story of Heligan, Tim Smith and the later work at the Eden project is truly inspiring for anyone who believes that life-changing decisions are often made on the spur of the moment when an event, a place or a person bursts into your life. Heligan has not yet inspired me to greatness, but who knows what I might decide after my next visit?

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