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The Maze at Glendurgan


The planets were in alignment again this week.

Firstly there was the completion of the study to celebrate. Then I was informed, by He Who Keeps Track Of These Things, that we haven’t made particularly good use of our National Trust membership this year. And last but not least there was a wedding anniversary to throw into the mix. We got into the car and pointed it south.


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Begun by the Fox family in the 1820s to be a ‘small piece of heaven on earth’, Glendurgan is a wild and wonderful valley garden.* It has much in common with its close neighbour Trebah, which we visited this time last year (here). Both gardens link a house at the top of a hill to a beach on the Helford river estuary at the bottom. Both require stamina and a stout pair of shoes.

*from the visitor guide.


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At the entrance to the garden we meander gently through borders lusciously filled with tender perennials, trees and shrubs


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Hesperantha? Watsonia (thank you Kris)


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This one is totally new to me, Baptisia?


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Agave americana


But nothing quite prepares you, as you round the next corner, for this:


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Cornus kousa var. chinensis

It is huge..


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..and absolutely smothered in blooms


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Another view of the maze


Designed to mimic the appearance of a serpent curled lazily in the grass, Fox planted the maze in 1833 using cherry laurel. He intended it to be a challenge: the hedge stretches three quarters of a mile from entrance to exit, endlessly spiraling around itself in tight, manicured circles. It’s somewhere between three and four feet high, but being able to see over the top of it doesn’t seem to confer much advantage. We sat on that bench opposite and watched a chap in a straw hat repeatedly retrace his steps. Mike was keen that Yours Truly should have a go, muttering something about a series of time lapse photographs that could feature on the blog and reminding me that it’s high time I changed the password.


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A closer look at that superb South African restio


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From the maze the path wends its way down to the beach and the quaint village of Durgan. It consists of holiday cottages now and we didn’t linger, preferring to see more of the garden.

Including this peaceful spot:


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The School Room


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On the site of the original Fox family schoolroom, a recently constructed thatch shelter looks over a glade of tree ferns


By which time, after much climbing up hill and down dale there was need for refreshment. It being the National Trust there is, naturally, a tea shop on site. Mike enjoyed a salted caramel ice-cream and me an orange and date crumble slice.

And then, who’d of thought it, right next door to the tea room too..


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Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’, Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ and Imperata ‘Red Baron’. (That last one from Trebah.)


And how was I supposed to leave this behind.. ?


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Meet Ptolemy Too

Lifesize. Already making himself at home on the lawn. Could there be trouble ahead?