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Lost Gardens of Heligan to commemorate First World War

By CG_Oscar  |  Posted: December 27, 2013


Heligan garden staff pictured in about 1900

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Preparations are due to begin to mark the centenary of the First World War at The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Before the Great War, the estate employed 22 gardeners to maintain it, but 16 died in the conflict.

For the anniversary commemorations, Heligan is collaborating with theatre company Wildworks to transform the Heligan Estate back to the summer of 1914, introducing heavy horses, vintage cultivation equipment and craftsmen who still practice traditional rural skills onto the estate and recreating the day with a piece of living theatre.

In preparation for the event, West Lawn will be ploughed up to plant three acres of poppies and barley. Cultivation is due to start next weekend, using horses rather than machinery and focusing on the traditional methods the estate workers at Heligan would have used 100 years ago. The poppy seed will be sown by hand late in the April, flowering in time for the summer.

Managing director George Elworthy, said: “The First World War was a major changing point in the history of Heligan. Many of the young men working here left for the war, leaving the gardens to fall into slow decline.

“Although there were not the staff to keep the gardens tended, they did leave behind many poignant stories that we continue to unearth and discover today.”

“Last summer we planted several acres of wild flowers in the West Lawn and Higher Beef meadows, which resulted in a magnificent display and thriving wildlife. The poppies this year, will be a fitting tribute to those that gave their lives during the First World War and provide a stunning backdrop to the events taking place in commemoration.”

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