Saturday 13 March 2010

Island Paradise

"Get Drunk on the flowers of Cornwall"
Said Basil (For Basil read lovely friend of the family ~ ex Cornish hotelier and Bon Viveur!)
Well we did!
In fact we went one better.
For my Birthday surprise Mr.Lane presented me with two helicopter tickets to fly from Penzance to Tresco. ( so yes Kate, we did go to your neck of the woods!!!)
I have long hankered for this trip to the Isles of Scilly ~ off the southern tip of Cornwall ~ as I have been captivated by the work of Joanne Short and her husband John Dyer. Particularly their paintings of Tresco Abbey Gardens.

Secret Garden, Joanne Short

And oh my goodness it did not disappoint.

Someone once described it as "Kew Gardens with the roof off!"

It is a truly magnificent sub tropical garden. Where else in the British Isles can you see red hot pokers flowering on March 1st?

The island is small and there are no cars we dropped off our bags and headed straight for the gardens.

The ruined abbey buildings are an ideal spot for a garden, which has developed from a small formal area into a seventeen acre site of terraces, walkways and fish ponds.
Augustus Smith was responsible for importing and planting many of the exotic species seen in the gardens today. Over a period of forty years, he developed the gardens to include various species of palm trees and succulents alongside various other exotic plants. The Dorrien-Smith family have continued to develop the gardens since the latter part of the 19th century.

Many of the walls and ruins are festooned in succulents and exotics tumbling out from all the crevices.

And once you begin to explore there are thrilling new vistas, walkways and focal points throughout.
I had just had to go and poke my nose inside this little summer house

What I discovered took my breath away....

The most wonderful shell mosaics

The shell house interior was designed by Lucy Dorrien Smith, isn't it breathtaking?

And so we wind on through these magical gardens.

The Sculpture at the top of these steps in Neptune from a shipwrecked Figurehead.

Gaia, The Earth Mother

Fell in love with this stone bench spotted with age and weather

I love the vista at the very top of the gardens as over the tropical trees you look across the turquoise waters to the other islands.

I must now say that throughout all my gushing and wowing Mr.Lane was also soaking in the atmosphere of the place~ he wrestled the camera from me as I was taking this picture and here is his
" Red Hot Robin"

It is brilliant!

Lovely Abbey ruins with green adornments

Ok, I am a bit breathless after all that!
Joyous day, thank you Mr.Lane, you're the best xXx


  1. Wow it looks amazing, great photos. Especially the robin.

  2. I've always wanted to go there.Thanks for showing it's beauty in your amazing photos!

    Bellaboo :o)

  3. What a wonderful present, surely a birthday to remember.

  4. Here we have red hot pokers flowering in December that's why they are called Christmas rockets.

  5. Stunning! As in, I am stunned! How beautiful (which Is redundant to say I know but say it we must!) I've heard of the Scilly Isles but had no idea where they were or what was on them. I feel wonderful expanded. Thank you for sharing!

    Love, Katy Noelle

  6. what stunning photos! Thank you for sharing.
    Sounds like you have had a wonderful time.

  7. Absolutely wonderful! I have always had a hankering to spend a week on an island, just walking round and soaking up the atmosphere, and with the gardens, the archaeology, the ethical stance etc, the Isles of Scilly have always appealed! So far I've had an almost-island experience staying on a peninsula in Brittany, and it was wonderful. I'll aim for Scilly one of these days - thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Dear Sarah-Jane,

    People in Vermont think that I'm an alien, either from outer space or Bulgaria. (I can't tell which they're thinking when they look suspiciously out of the corner of their eyes at me.) I'm waaaay too friendly and this is, after all, a small town! (Think Ms Marple-without the murders, that is!) I think that I've found a niche, however, and we've learned how to be a perfect foil for each other!

    AND, YES! The boys had porridge - the three bunnies were vARy inspirational!

    Love, Kate

  9. How amazingly lovely...your images are beautiful...I do want to go! Thank you so much for sharing. xoxo

  10. Oh dear, Thank you for reminding me why I really want to visit the Scilly Isles, one day it will happen I am sure of that, Not this year though! Beautiful photo's and don't you so wish you had spotted the robin!
    Angela x

  11. Wow...loved it all...the shell mosaic is awesome..the little bird shot-wow...gardens..reminds me of the garden of Eden or something. looks like a wonderful time! Come say hi :D

  12. What a wonderful birthday gift, such a beautiful place.

  13. Your photos are making me add a visit there higher and higher on my travelling to-do list! That robin is absolutely adorable - what a picture

  14. Amazing photos - what a beautiful place! I love the shell house - and the robin is so cute. We've been watching the BBC2 series "An Island Parish" about the Scilly Isles recently. I must say - it really looks like a lovely place to visit!
    Love Kathy xxx

  15. grrreat snaps sarah! looks like an amzing place to visit with the colourful plants & gigantic trees! :0) i bet you took a gazillion pics of the gardens! i know i would have done!!
    love the red hot robin pic too! han x

  16. What a wonderful place!
    And Mr Lane's photo of the robin is a beauty!
    Lisa x

  17. what a lovely set of photos - you have obviously had a great time

  18. Beautiful photos :) Love, love, love the shells and the robin!

  19. What lovely pics! THat shell collage/mosaic is so pretty! Looks like one for the visiting list!

  20. Perfect, it's such a treat going to the Scillies isn't it, like going to a totally different country. So pleased you had the weather to go with, there isn't too much shelter when it rains!! I've not been out there for some years but seeing your photos makes me want to take the children over again very soon. Looking forward to seeing where else you've been xx

  21. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous...and I'm still smiling to myself as I misread details of your helicopter trip as "Penzance to Tesco"! Rebecca x

  22. Loved these photos of this beautiful garden. Thank you so much for sharing. The beautiful photo of the robin reminds me of "The Secret Garden", one of my favorite books. (Not just Children's books either.) Like you, I LOVED the shells arranged so beautifully. Kay Guest

  23. Well how perfect, i'll leave an Atonement comment here - Dunkirk was amazing, tears of course, being a soldier's wife & all, but the gardens in that movie, stunning!! Love Posie

  24. Tresco Abbey Gardens is now top of my list of gardens to visit. Looks absolutely enchanting, thank you for the wonderful photos.

  25. Re. Lovefim, yes they are v. good. I was a bit concerned about just popping DVD's back in the post box without proof of postage but haven't had any problem at all. They do free trials, we had one that lasted 3 months so go ahead and give them a go.

  26. The scilies are on my list of places to visit - nearly went camping a couple of years ago, but chickened out for "logistical" reasons - glad we did as they had horrendous storms when we would have been there!!! One day. xxx

  27. Oh, I so want to go there after visiting a la your magical photographic tour. The beauty and creativity really can not be described, except by photographs. Thank you!


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