Isles of Scilly lie about 30 miles from Lands End off the south
western tip of the United Kingdom. There are five inhabited islands
and dozens more uninhabited islands and clusters of rocky outcrops.
All of the islands enjoy a year-round mild climate thanks to the
influence of the Gulf Stream; frost and snow are virtually unknown.
growing alongside a Tresco beach
is a private island which was leased in 1834 by the Duchy of Cornwall
to a Hertfordshire Squire, Augustus Smith. He began to build the
community on the island building Tresco Abbey as a home alongside
the ruins of an old priory. He quickly realised that if shelter
from the wind was provided that tender plants would thrive here
and began to create the garden which now draws millions of people
from all over the globe.
ruins of Tresco Abbey
of about 150 permanently live on the island; some families have
lived here for many generations. Farming and fishing as well as
tourism are still important parts of the island's economy. The Estate
runs The Island Hotel and The New Inn as accommodation for visitors
and there are several time-share and holday-let cottages.
famous Neptune Steps
Abbey Garden itself contains well over 20,000 exotic plants many
of which wouldn't even grow on the Cornish mainland. Over 80 countries
are represented including Brazil, Burma, South Africa and New Zealand.
The hot dry terraces at the top of the garden suit South African
and Australian plants and South American plants thrive lower down
the slope all cared for by Curator Mike Nelhams, Head Gardener Andrew
Lawson and a team of gardeners. Within the garden is the famous
Valhalla figurehead museum where memories of the island's seafaring
past are brought to life.
of Tresco's white shell beaches
of the main sections of the garden is the terraced Mediterranean
garden with a shell house at its centre with an interior designed
by Lucy Dorrien Smith. From the heliport visitors come into the
garden's new visitor centre which includes an interpretation centre,
cafe, shop and plant sales area built around a central courtyard.
From the courtyard you see the shell house across a startling blue
bridge with spars pointing skywards. Gothic arches, designed by
Cornish-based sculptor Tom Leaper, are a reminder of the garden's
a look at Tresco's own website; see the link on the left!