Time to sail away.

To sail away to the Isles of Scilly, just 30 miles off the SW corner of England, for a weeks break. My doctor has told me to try walking more to build up my muscles after the last 2 yrs illness so we decided that the Scillies were almost flat and not too far away! Even though the islands are so close to the mainland, they have a much warmer climate than we do here, due to the Gulf  Stream which comes across the Atlantic from the Caribbean. We spent the first day travelling through Cornwall, stopping at a few gardens on the way. The first garden was at  Bosvigo House in Truro which was on Gardeners World a few weeks ago with Carol Klein.

Bosvigo House

Bosvigo House

When we first started looking round the garden we wondered where the plants were that we had come to see, all we found were beds with lots of spaces, a few bulbs and perennials just starting to grow. Suddenly we found the woodland garden and as you can imagine, I was so happy. Can you see the fritillaries here, I could also hear a pheasant, why wasn’t it eating their flowers?!

Bosvigo House

The further we went, the more treasures we found, this Trillium is definitely on my wish list now and the tight balls of flowers hanging over it are from the shrub Stachyurus, they make a nice pairing.

Bosvigo House

There were drifts of Erythronium wherever we looked, such a pretty dainty flower. I always say, don’t go on holiday when these are due to flower as they don’t last very long, what was I doing going away now, would mine still be out when I got home, they were, but only just!

Barbara Hepworth Garden

We then crossed from the south coast of Cornwall to the north coast, to St. Ives, to visit the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden and museum.

Barbara Hepworth

Dame Barbara Hepworth (1903 – 1975 ) was a famous sculptor who helped to develop modern art in Britain  and now a museum has been made where she had her studio.

Barbara Hepworth

The garden is only small and there are rather a lot of her sculptures here dotted amongst the plants. This one was really huge.

Barbara Hepworth

Her sculptures were commissioned by world leaders of her time and are found in many countries.

Barbara Hepworth

The old looking through the new appealed to me.

St. Ives

Part of the town of St. Ives where the museum is. The light here is unique and has attracted artists for centuries, there is now a Tate Art Gallery on the front showing works by modern and traditional artists.

Cornish garden

Moving on towards Penzance near to where we were staying the night, is a National Trust property – Trengwainton Garden. The first part of the garden that we found was the woodland garden, ( what a surprise!) which had a stream running through it where the skunk cabbages, Lysichiton,  were very happy in the damp soil.

 magnolia tree

This Magnolia veitchii is huge, apparently it was planted in 1925 on top of a much loved horse called Barum, who was buried here.


Over the trees roots are masses of woodland anemones and I spy some fritillaries, again with a pheasant calling in the background!


There were lots of Rhododendrons in flower, I thought this one had lovely spotted flowers.

Camellia Walk

The Camellia walk was in full flower. Because of its mild climate, Cornwall gardens are famous for their rhodos, magnolias and camellias.


Another magnolia in the car park which we passed on the way out, very pretty.

St. Michael's Mount

Onwards to our hotel for the night, this was the view from our balcony next morning, a lovely view of St. Michaels Mount.  After the Norman invasion in 1066, St. Michael’s Mount was granted to the Benedictine Abbey of Mont St. Michael in France. It is now a family home and has a tropical garden. The island can be reached at low tide by a causeway, when it is possible to walk across. In 2009, bronze age artifacts were found on the island, so it has been inhabited for a very long time.

Lands End

We went on board our ship in Penzance just a short way round the bay and before we knew it, we were waving goodbye to Land’s End, England. It was a beautiful, sunny day but there was a strong wind which made the crossing rather rough, especially here at Land’s End where lots of currents meet, rather like riding a horse with a very slow canter!

St. Martins

It took about 3hrs to reach the Scillies and the first island you come to is St. Martins which has the most wonderful silver sand.


Next to it is Tresco, home of the famous garden, you can see the shelter belt of trees on the north and east sides to protect the plants. They did have snow this winter, but just a sprinkling like we did in Devon, but no damage was done this time. Once before in the 1980’s, they had frost and snow that lasted for some time and did so much damage, they lost a lot of their plants, but more of that later when we visit the garden.

St. Mary's

Now approaching St. Mary’s, the main Island in the group. St. Mary’s is the only island with a harbour deep enough for our large ship. Travelling between the islands is by little boat with very knowledgeable captains who know where every rock is, no matter what the state of the tide is.

Scillonian 111

Back on dry land once more with our ship, Scillonian 111 at the quayside. Now its time to explore and start walking! I think I will have to write a post for each island and maybe another for the wild flowers which were everywhere!



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32 Responses to Time to sail away.

  1. I am really enjoying your trip. Your ocean photos look a little like Maine in the US except most of the islands there are wooded with spruce and fir. Can’t wait to see more shots of your trip.

    • Pauline says:

      I managed to find woodland gardens on the way down Carolyn, but once we got to the Scillies the planting was so very different as you will see. Plants from Australia, S.Africa, S. America and the Mediterranean were everywhere, thanks to the milder climate just 30 miles away.

  2. Cathy says:

    What an indulgent holiday for a plant lover like yourself, Pauline – all those Cornwall gardens too! You have been very quiet about the state of your health since your various procedures, so do we assume that your recovery has been a slow process? As long as you are better than you were and still improving – but perhaps you have worn yourself out with walking round all those gardens?! I loved seeing these pictures today and reading about the gardens, and look forward to your next posts. I would love to go the Scilly Isles sometime….

    • Pauline says:

      The undergardener is good to me isn’t he Cathy! My health is fine as long as I don’t do anything, but that isn’t me I’m afraid, the medics still don’t seem to know what the problem is with my muscles, but I must try to get back to how I used to be. I am a lot better than I was 2 yrs ago, thank you for enquiring, but would like to have less pain when I move. We only started going to the Scillies when we moved down here with the undergardeners job, the first time we went by helicopter, which has now stopped flying unfortunately, this time we went by boat as Alan Titchmarsh says he always goes by boat so that he can see the dolphins, we weren’t disappointed!!

  3. Anna says:

    Oh Bosvigo/other Cornish gardens and the Scilly Islands – what more could you wish for 🙂 I had not realised that it was such a long crossing to St.Marys. Hope that you were able to fit in some gentle walking and that the return journey was smoother. Look forward to reading more about your adventures Pauline.

    • Pauline says:

      It was a wonderful trip Anna, we really enjoyed it. 3hrs was quite a long time for the crossing but there is a lot to see before you get to Land’s End and then there is all the shipping there which keeps the men happy! The crossing back was very smooth and we had the added pleasure of seeing 4 pods of dolphins!

  4. pbmgarden says:

    Enjoyed a chance to follow you in your travels Pauline. Best wishes as you return to good health. For the first year I have discovered a public garden with lots of Trilliums and enjoyed them. I like the dark red one you pictured.

    • Pauline says:

      It was a good holiday Susie, thank you for your good wishes.The Trillium is gorgeous isn’t it, I’m sure it would love my woodland!

  5. Wendy says:

    This is a lovely time of year to see wild flowers and gardens in Cornwall. This is the first time for about twenty years I haven’t been to Cornwall in April/May, so I loved seeing your photos. I’ve taken the helicopter to the Isles of Scilly in the past, which has been quick, but I’ve missed any chance of seeing dolphins. How wonderful that you’ve seen them. Hope you’re feeling so much better after your holiday.

    • Pauline says:

      Last time we went to the Scillies Wendy, we went by helicopter, but that unfortunately stopped running last year, hopefully another company will take it over soon. Returning was a much smoother ride and seeing the dolphins was a wonderful end to a super holiday. Thank you for your concern, I’m sure the break did me good.

  6. Christina says:

    Ah! I was correct, although I only thought of Tresco and not the other islands. I would love to visit Tresco, so I’m looking forward to sharing the rest of your holiday. Christina

    • Pauline says:

      Tresco was wonderful Christina, I’ve been busy working on that post, it will be the next one. The Scillies are so close and yet their plants are so very different from ours due to their milder climate.

  7. The garden was magnificent and the photos were so enjoyable. I hope you will have the opportunity to see it again later in the season.

    • Pauline says:

      We enjoyed all three gardens Charlie, on our trip down to Penzance, I’m not quite sure which one you’re referring to, but Cornish gardens are famous for their Spring displays. Lots more plants to enjoy in the next few posts!

  8. wellywoman says:

    Oh I’m so jealous. 😉 I love the Isles of Scilly. We went there about 10 years ago now and it’s such a gorgeous place. Not so keen on the ferry crossing which was done in a force 9 gale. The crossing took 4 and a half hours, much longer than normal. Even the crew were sea-sick. It’s such a pity they no longer have the helicopters. Hope you had an amazing time and the sun shone. Can’t wait to see your photos.

    • Pauline says:

      Poor you WW having such an awful crossing I’m afraid that’s why the locals there call the Scillonian ” the great white stomach pump” !! Coming back was very smooth and only took 2hrs 20 minutes with dolphins jumping about everywhere, that was the reason we went by boat and we weren’t disappointed. They are hoping that someone else will take on the helicopter run, but the old terminal in Penzance is now fast becoming yet another Sainsburys, so sad to see it as we drove past. We did have a wonderful time and the sun shone part of the time, we have come back very brown but we are wind burnt rather than sun burnt!!

  9. Alberto says:

    What a beautiful trip it must have been! I’m really looking forward to reading the next post!
    I can see some kind of affinity between your sculptures (I have in my mind the one you have in the half moon bed in your garden) and the Hepworth’s ones although you use different material. I loved the sphere.

    • Pauline says:

      The sculptures were really inspiring for me, as you can imagine Alberto, who knows what will appear in the garden after next winter?! I’m almost ready for my next post which I think you may enjoy, I certainly enjoyed seeing all the plants that wouldn’t survive with us at home.

  10. Helen says:

    We are spending a week near St Ives in early june and the Barbara Hepworth gallery is on the list.

    I would love to visit the Scilly isles but keep being put off with the journey and not really knowing whether there is enough to keep me entertained!!!!!

    • Pauline says:

      Wonderful Helen, that you’re planning to visit the Barbara Hepworth museum. Even though the helicopter has stopped flying, there are still the little planes that fly over to the Scillies each day from Lands End and Newquay, don’t know what the cost is though. It depends what you want in the way of entertainment, there are masses of wild flowers everywhere, the scenery is wonderful, I think its the sort of place you go to get away from it all!!

  11. Caro says:

    I know Cornwall quite well, Pauline but have never been to the Scilly Isles. Reading your post has made me want to go – what a super holiday you’ve had! Really looking forward to reading part two of your adventures … and I agree that Trillium is rather fetching!

    • Pauline says:

      We only started going to the Scillies Caro, when we moved down here from the north west. They are lovely islands to visit if you want to walk, do a bit of bird watching, look at the wild flowers at any time of year and of course visit Tresco!
      There is a nursery that I have dealt with for years now, who just sells woodland and boggy plants – Long Acre Plants -I’m sure he will have the trillium I’m after, will wait till the autumn to buy it, I’m sure it would like to live in the woodland here.

  12. I’m so glad you had a relaxing holiday and what a great opportunity it was to visit those lovely gardens. Those spotted Rhododendron blooms are just lovely.

    • Pauline says:

      It was a good break, thank you Paula and visiting the gardens made the journey pass quickly. I quite often think Rhododendron colours are a bit bright and garish, I thought the pink one was nicely restrained!

  13. Angie says:

    I have never been to this part of the UK, it has always been on a list of places I would like to visit. After reading this blog (and the next instalments) – it will have moved way up the list!!
    The sculptures are beautiful – hardly surprising she was commissioned by so many!
    Of all the pictures you have show above – the Magnolias are hard to beat. Thank you for taking us with you Pauline!

    • Pauline says:

      It is a lovely place to visit Angie, if you ever get the chance, I don’t think you would be disappointed. Cornwall is famous for all its gardens that are open to the public, you would be spoilt for choice. So glad you agree about the sculptures, I feel one or two pieces add to a garden and am always looking for inspiration. I like Magnolias too, I really must find the space to put one here!

  14. Helen says:

    Oh dolphins, how lovely, definitely worth taking the ferry for. Sounds fantastic with those gardens – and your pheasant must be a gourmet, that’s why she eats your fritillarias!! 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Helen, the dolphins did make the long ferry journey worth while, the perfect end to our holiday! The pheasant seems to be behaving itself now, thank goodness, maybe they have lots of other tasty things to eat.

  15. This brought back so many memories, particularly St. Michael’s Mount and the ferry. I do love the Cornish gardens, but have only ever visited them in summer, lovely to see the rhododendrons in full flow.

    • Pauline says:

      Glad to have brought back happy memories Janet, Cornish gardens really are something special aren’t they! The view of St. Michael’s Mount from our room was magical, couldn’t have been better.

  16. Annie_H says:

    I’m really enjoying following you on your trip away. I love Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures and they seem to fit so well in that garden. Look at that blue sky, you’ve chosen a good time to go. Have a lovely relaxing time.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Annie, so glad you’re enjoying our journey to the Scillies. I too love the Barbara Hepworth sculptures, very inspirational I think.

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