Lost in the Gardens this May

The days are longer and warmer and the risk of frost seems to be behind us! The gardeners are working away, tidying up spring plants that have gone over and planting out flowers and veg ready for the arrival of summer. The gardens are alive with new life, lush growth and new blooms popping up everywhere. 

In the Kitchen Garden the Apple Arch is in blossom and smells divine! The double arch of blossom creates a striking frame as you tunnel your way through, past the rhubarb bursting out of the ground. The rhubarb will be making regular appearances on the Heligan Kitchen menu as it is cropped for all to enjoy.

The Mushroom House has been in full flow and producing abundant crops of chestnut and oyster mushrooms. Sadly, this month will be your last chance to sneak a peak at them before the production winds down for the season.

The runner bean canes have been positioned and fixed together next to the Apple Arch ready for the runner beans to be planted out over the next couple of weeks.

Over in the Melon Yard, behind the Melon House the quince is in bloom and attracting the bees to dance and the espaliered pear tree flowers are transforming to fruit.

The team are excited to be planting out 1000 dahlia plants over the course of the month! The empty beds by the Peach House will now be home to over 100 different varieties and 15 different classifications of dahlias all thanks to The Cornish Dahlia Society. These dahlias are for the 38th annual dahlia show which we are hosting here at Heligan this August for The Cornish Dahlia Society. Pop it into your diary, it will be a spectacular floral display and one not to miss!

The wisteria draping the archway from the Flower Garden to the Sundial Garden is awakening from its inertia and its purple petals are beginning to make a happy appearance. 

Over on the Farm this month, it is all about our pigs! Our Berkshire pigs are in the spotlight and sows, Thelma and Louise are due to give birth to piglets next month. In other piglet news, one of our Lop sows is also due to farrow, she looks like she may burst, so we think her piglets may come very soon.

We said goodbye to the emus last week as they have come to the end of their time here at Heligan.  The emus were on loan to us as part of our centenary commemoration, to set a ‘living stage’ of what life on the Heligan estate would have looked like pre- WW1, as the Tremayne family kept emus prior to the war. They have gone to live on a private farm with some ostriches and rheas.

Courage will start his education this month. He will start training to be handled more regularly, in time to eventually learn the skills to work around our Home Farm alongside our experienced Shire mare, Issy.

The swallows are in the spotlight this month as this is the time they will be sitting on their first brood after building their first nest. They can have up to 3 broods a year and it takes a pair of swallows up to 1,200 journeys to build a nest! The Melon Yard is high in swallow activity and is a great place to sit and watch them and listen to their musical twittering.

Other wildlife highlights this month include the first of the dragonflies which were spotted behind the hide, there are tadpoles and newts in the Italian Garden pond and the first worker bumblebees are out and about.

The Jungle team made an exciting discovery down by 4th pond this week, in the form of a tree bumblebee nest. One of the 7 most common, widespread and abundant species, tree bumblebees like to nest in tree holes as well as other manmade environments, such as bird boxes. We look forward to watching them in their day to day activities and enjoying the Heligan jungle home. Keep an eye for them as they head out an about looking for a sweet tasty treat.