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August 12, 2017

The Lost Gardens Of Heligan – S01e01.

A six part series for C4, "The Lost Gardens of Heligan" follows the restoration of a country estate's derelict gardens which fell into disrepair after its gardeners were killed in action during WW1. Tim Smit and his partner John Nelson take on the mammoth task of bringing the gardens back to life.

The mammoth task of restoring Heligan held many surprises. One of the biggest was the discovery of the Ravine - the ultimate in Victorian artifice. Fallen trees, overgrown brambles, ivy and nearly 70 years worth of fallen leaves had formed a roof, covering an underground complex water system. This magnificent feat of Victorian engineering, still in perfect working order today, pumped thousands of gallons of water uphill from the reservoir. The dilemma of how to restore the Ravine was a difficult one. Should they follow the archive photographs and recreate the same Alpine garden or should they take advantage of the way giant Ash trees had, by accident, created the perfect environment for English ferns and spring flowers. Their decision was to enhance what it had become. Their aim was to create an efficient working garden whilst maintaining the mystery and romance of decay.

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