Normally when I go to visit a garden I have some idea of what to expect and what types of plants I will see. I knew Tresco was different but had no real concept of just how different. The clue may have lain in the copious quantities of bright blue Agapanthus growing wild beside the tracks.
Tresco is different - the small Island which forms part of the Scillies is home to a rare phenomenon that means they are able to grow plants not normally seen in the UK. The Gulf Stream provides an unusually temperate climate and with protection from strong Atlantic breezes provided by substantial trees and hedges a mystical world tour unravels before your eyes.
A warm welcome
The gardens are very sheltered and maximise the benefit of being on an Island with little or no pollution. The warm, high humidity airs allow a range of plants normally associated with the Mediterranean areas of the world such as Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
Add to the warm climate, careful use of protective trees and hedges to block out any harsh Atlantic winds and you have a haven for exotic plants - most of which I have to admit I didn't recognise!
Protea bud and flower
Hardly surprising really when you know how many different plant species there are and how few we are able to grow successfully in the UK.
The gardens and famous palms
So that makes this garden unique and although this garden won't be to everyones taste - my Mother -in-law declared that she didn't like it because there weren't vast swathes of lawns! - it does act as a sort of plant Zoo where we can view strange exotics at close quarters without travelling the world.
Auricaria heterophylla - topiary without the effort!
The blend of plants and statuary is interesting and their are some great touches as you amble leisurely round the 17 or so acres.
The children of Tresco
What appealed was that although there were a good many visitors when I was there it didn't feel the least bit crowded as there were so many alleys to loose yourself in - often arriving at a fascinating focal point.
Agave americana plant and water feature
Like many gardens they are an ongoing development - well worth taking the time to visit even if it is quite an effort to get there!
Photos: Tim Matcham