Many people would have loved to have spent the pandemic on a tropical island, but for those who work at Tresco Abbey Garden in The Isles of Scilly, that became a reality.
Mike Nelhams, Abbey Garden Curator, explained, “Often dubbed the Cornish Caribbean, Tresco is the second largest Scilly Isle and boasts an incredible array of scenery from soft, white sand beaches, to rugged, rocky coastal outcrops, to peaceful woodlands.”
“We’re the only garden in Britain that can comfortably grow plants from every Mediterranean climate zone in the world. Our unique microclimates within the garden confines mean we can grow tree ferns from New Zealand that require very wet conditions, side-by-side with plants from Australia and South Africa that exist on very low levels of rainfall and dry soil conditions.”
“You don’t have to be a gardener to appreciate the rich tapestry of shapes, colours, textures, and the other-worldly feel that a stroll amongst our terraces brings.”
“The past 18 months have been a period full of contrasts and fluctuation. During lockdown, it was quite a privilege to have the garden to ourselves; to have more time and space to be able to appreciate it and the fullness of the plants within. We don’t often get time to stand still and admire it all.”
Mike continued to explain that when the world reopened in July 2020 and guests could return to Tresco, they received a new influx of students who “accepted the challenge of putting the garden back together again.”
“We had a short, bustling season before embracing the usual lull of winter’s pace, and again resuming our tidying up after an unusual year,” Mike said. “As this year’s season has progressed and some small semblances of normality have resumed, mid to late summer has brought a huge enthusiasm for our offering, with both island and cruise ship visitors alike making the Abbey Garden pilgrimage in impressive numbers. We’ve had great reaction across the board, which suggests that despite disruptions, the garden is in very good shape!”