October Garden Update

Autumn is now in full swing, with the end of the harvest and the thought of Winter fast approaching, there is a wealth of things happening here at Heligan we would like to share with you. Here is a little sneak peek into what we will be doing behind the scenes at The Lost Gardens for you to look out for next time you visit. 

On the farm…

This month on the farm there is a good stock of things to get excited about. We have two new arrivals! The first is a pure White Park calf and the second is a crossbred Devonshire Ruby Red and White Park calf. We think we will aptly name him the ‘the ginger park’. He is a handsome chap, easily spotted due to his white body, Ruby Red socks and ears… Both the White Park and the Ruby Red are rare breeds of UK Heritage beef cattle.

We have a new rare breed of sheep joining the Farm family, a Balwen welsh mountain sheep, originating from the Tywi Valley. This breed of sheep was nearly wiped out in the winter of 1947, with only one ram surviving. They are distinctive to look at, with a dark body, long tail and a white striped face. In other Woolly news, our Ram is about to join the ewes for an Autumn/Winter snuggle, to hopefully bring us some more of our rare and traditional varieties of Easter Lambs.

Our two resident wood turners, Jon Arnold and John Fells (aka the two Johns) can be seen wood turning in the sawmill workshop on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout this month. They are busy working on special little festive treats that are being turned as we write.

In other Wildlife news…

This month is the perfect time to get out into the woods and see all the eclectic varieties of Fungi that have made their home here at Heligan. They thrive on the moist conditions of late and are everywhere; in the leaves, on the ground, on tree roots, on the ferns and in the Lost Valley. Remember not to get too close as some can be poisonous.

For those of you that are keen bird watchers, our resident Kingfisher has returned home for the winter. For ease of her fishing and your viewing, some new perches are being made for her this month around the Lost Valley lakes. Keep your eyes peeled for the flash of blue and orange. Also, over the next few weeks we would expect to see the start of the winter migrants return. So, keep a look out for redwings and fieldfare over the estate. The Wildlife team think they may have spotted a Little Grebe recently in the Lost Valley and we need your help, if you see it, please let us know.

This time of year, we get to enjoy the last of the seasons dragonflies. The Dragonfly of the month is the Southern Hawker, most likely to be sighted on a warm and sunny day. This beauty is drawn to gardens, even those without a pond…so keep your eyes peeled.

In the Gardens….

As the Heligan harvest draws to a close, there are still a variety of lettuces’ that will be making their way to the kitchens, to be spotted in the tea room soon; not forgetting a final crop lift of brassicas and root vegetables. Once harvest is over, storage of that harvest is key, especially for a working garden providing produce to the kitchens, or 100 years ago, to the main house. Clamping was a technique used in the 1900s and this technique is now can currently be viewed in the kitchen garden. Clamping sees crops being buried into straw filled pits and covered in dry soil, this is so they can keep for a longer period and still be eaten in a few months’ time.

October marks the start of the best three-month period to prepare your beds, so there is plenty of double and single digging to be enjoyed happening in the productive gardens. The reason for this, is the soil is still frost free, this means that the soil can be refreshed without damaging its structure.

Take a peep through the glass of the Pineapple Pit and you will be treated to flowering and fruiting pineapple plants.

This month we have a variety of new plantings…

October to December is the ideal time to plant your Daffodils bulbs for a spring flower. We are excited to have just planted on West Lawn, a rather large batch of 20,000 daffodil bulbs, consisting of 152 highly revered Cornish varieties, a historic collection from Fentongollan Farm. Fentongollan Farm is based on the Fal estuary and with over 50 years of experience, they are the experts in Cornish cut flowers and grow over 400 different varieties of daffodil. If you wish to join us and practice with your green fingers, a variety of Fentongollan Farm bulbs are currently on sale in the Heligan Shop. 

Also making home in the ground this month, along Beacon Path in the Gardens, is a new variety of Rhododendron called ‘Rhododendron Polar Bear’. This is a beautiful pure white flowering Rhododendron with a Lily-like fragrance. It is a 1920s species and will bloom in late July/August of next year!

The Melon Yard has had a new planting of wallflowers to flower through the early spring. Interestingly these wall flowers have been transplanted from our saved seeds, that were sown in June, to then be thinned and have now been planted.

Another perfect flower to plant now in anticipation for a new season bloom, is a Sweet William. Our Sweet Williams have been planted in the flower garden this month, ready to put on their pink petal show come the late spring.

Finally, In the Jungle…

This Month the Jungle you will see a lot of cutting back and tidying. The Bamboo has had a brave haircut and the Rhododendrons have been taken back. In preparation for a 2018 late summer flower, the Jungle is seeing some new plantings of specimen species such as Crinums and Alliums.