Summer in the Gardens

The height of summer is upon us and what a summer we are having! This beautiful sunshine is delighting the gardens with blooms left, right and centre as well as giving a natural boost to Heligan's wildlife. The gardens are truly alive.

In The Kitchen Garden

The team are working tirelessly to combat the daily onslaught of weeds that pop their heads back above the soil overnight. The Apple Arch is full, brimming with miniature apples and either side the vibrant Antirrhinums and Zinnias are creating a corridor of colour, humming with the sounds of busy bees.

Preparations are now well underway for our muchly anticipated Heligan Harvest event later in the year.  Currently growing are leeks, artichokes, potatoes, onions, squash, courgettes, strawberries, tomatoes, broad beans, chard, pumpkins and the last of the peaches and apricots from the Peach House.

Over in the Flower Garden, in anticipation of the Dahlia Show this August, the 1000 Dahlia plants supplied by The Cornish Dahlia Society are now of decent size and are expected to begin flowering very soon.  

Things to look out for in the Flower Garden this month:

  • The Vinery is adorned with Grape growing vines & heritage Tomatoes.
  • The Lavender bed is a hive of activity for busy bees and butterflies.
  • The Canna Lilies are budding up, building for a bloom.
  • Dahlia blooms are immanent.
  • The Roses are at their peak and are fragrantly delighting the air.

In the Jungle

The Jungle saw its first covering of snow in many, many years over the winter. This was unfortunate for some of the Bananas planted at 3rd pond and has meant a fresh planting of over 50 new Banana plants was needed. This new planting is now complete, and the Banana bed is glowing a vibrant green colour once again.  Watch them rocket with growth over the summer and autumn as they can get to a great size before the winter sets in once again.

On the Heligan Home Farm

After a month away completing some education and training, Courage is home. Upon his return it was apparent to see that both Izzy and Courage had missed each other, as they ran towards each other across the field. Now that Courage is back he will continue to learn and develop his skills to work alongside Izzy.

Our Berkshire piglets have been registered and we are looking forward to finding some of them new homes as breeding pigs. Being part of this conservation breeding programme for vulnerable pig breeds has been an exciting time for the team. We will all miss our piglets when they are weaned and move to their new homes but feel proud in the fact that we are doing our bit to promote and preserve the breed.

Highlights to watch out for on the Home Farm this month:

  • We welcome three new registered coloured Ryeland lambs to join Xooty and Snowdrop. They look like teddy bears and can now be seen in the Poultry Orchard.
  • Izzy will be out and about working the land… She will be busy moving timber to assist with the build of summer play areas. You may just catch a glimpse of this magnificent site on your next visit.
  • In this wonderful weather the Wider Estate is a real joy to explore and many of our animals can be seen in those areas grazing the pasture and clearing the brambles.


The sunshine and heatwave of the past few weeks has helped this season’s butterflies as these cold-blooded species rely on heat from the sun to thrive. A lot of different species can be seen around the Gardens and Estate, including the stunning peacock butterfly.

Now is the main season for Dragonfly emergence. Keep an eye out for Golden Ringed Dragonflies in the meadows and Southern Hawkers around the ponds in the Italian Garden, Flower Garden and Jungle.

Wildlife Highlights for your visit this month:

  • Woodpeckers feeding at the back of the Wildlife Hide, look out for the juveniles being fed by the adults.
  • Swifts and Swallows putting on amazing flight displays over head in the gardens. Listen out for the screams of the swifts and watch them circle as they catch the thermals pockets of air. 
  • The Roseland Bee Group join us every Wednesday throughout the summer with their event tent. Visitors will get to see an observation hive, learn about bee keeping and roll candles.