A picture of contentment, for all!
Monthly Archives: July 2013
My love of pattern, especially natural/abstract pattern, will be apparent to anyone familiar with my posts. One of the richest sources is the seashore, particularly at low tide. The ebbing tide frequently leaves behind interesting seaweed formations – interesting for their shapes and for the strands of varying thickness and texture.
To maximise the impact, I often choose to isolate the pattern and set it against a white background. It is a painstaking process but one I enjoy.
Although I sometimes suggest a narrative title (as in this case) it is almost invariably an afterthought and is probably unnecessary. Certainly my enjoyment derives from the pattern itself.
A walk along the main path in Tresco Abbey gardens takes us through an archway between trees and eventually up gentle steps, past the fountain, to a small garden house on the upper terrace. This is the Shell House. It takes its name from the interior murals which comprise imaginative pictures and patterns constructed with care and skill using shells found on the Isles of Scilly. (See also my previous post, Tresco Abbey Gardens)
Tresco Abbey Gardens enjoy an international reputation and are particularly noted for the collection of subtropical plants and trees. There are 20000 plants and it is claimed that more than 300 will be in flower on any day in the year. There are plants from South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and S E Asia. Many of the plants could not survive in Cornwall, just 30 miles away.
The garden was initially created by Augustus Smith. In 1834 Smith was granted a long term lease for the Isles of Scilly by the Duchy of Cornwall and became Lord Proprietor. He built his home amid the ruins of a priory – hence Tresco Abbey.
Smith was an enthusiastic gardener and recognised the possibilities offered by the mild climate of the Scilly Isles. He maximised this potential by constructing walls and terraces and by planting trees to protect his plants from the excesses of any Atlantic gales.
Augustus was a bachelor and when he died his estate was inherited by his nephew, Thomas Algernon Dorrien-Smith. Successive generations of Dorrien-Smiths have, to this day, each made a significant contribution to the development of the Gardens.
With so much to choose from, I hope the following selection will suffice as an appetizer!
Tresco is the second largest island in the Isles of Scilly archipelago. It measures approximately 2½ x 1 miles and has a resident population of 180. This figure increases dramatically during the tourist season. The island is primarily a holiday resort with many timeshare properties. Cruise liners bring large numbers of visitors to visit the famous Gardens. It is a car-free island. Essential transport is provided by farm tractors and passenger trailers plus a few golf buggies for the disabled and elderly.
The attractions of Tresco are its natural beauty and its mild climate. The southern half of the island is fringed by idyllic beaches of white sand. The northern half comprises heathland and a rugged coast.
Isolated landmarks, such as Cromwell’s Castle (pictured below), Charles’ Castle and the Block House are reminders of the Island’s strategic importance in British history.