Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Gulval

In July, a very small group assembled at Tremenheere Sculpture garden near Penzance. Some had arrived early and had lunch at the excellent restaurant near the entrance.

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We had not booked a guided tour, but this was not a problem as we followed a sketch map which ensured we missed none of the sculptures, but still gave us the feeling that we were discovering the garden and its features for ourselves. We even stumbled into a pitch dark tank, which was not featured on the map. I later discovered it was an Aqua Obscura and we should have seen reflections on the watery wall. The garden was created relatively recently out of farmland and woodland, by Neil Armstrong. The planting is rich and textural, particularly alongside the stream where you can look down on a tapestry of exotic and native ferns, including various Cyathea tree ferns, Bamboo, Schefflera, unusual Mahonias, and the exotic large leaves of Colcasia esculenta known as Elephant’s Ear or Taro. Higher up in the garden, the views down to St Michael’s Mount are framed by Restios, bamboos, Palms, Agave and Aloe. Despite the misty weather, the waving grasses created a beautiful effect inside the Camera Obscura. We paused for rest and contemplation at the elliptical domed chamber, known as Tewlwolow Kernow, by James Turrell.  The cloud view was literally ‘moving’. All the sculptures generated discussion, and we particularly liked the Black Mound in the woods, by David Nash.

The only disappointment was the untitled row of Restios by Richard Long, which seemed to fall flat in comparison with the really excellent planting throughout. And I did not think I liked tropical planting in Britain! It is definitely a garden that remains in the memory, and one to return to.

Joan Farmer