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Click on the illustrations to discover some of the Abbey Garden's remarkable collection of botanical treasures.Close
The Eucalyptus Collection can be found above the Kitchen Garden but there are also many specimens planted throughout the gardens.
Locally known as Scilly Cabbages, succulent Canary Island aeoniums have made themselves at home in the gardens.
The Monterey cypress is a vital part of the gardens’ shelterbelt as well as being a beautiful tree.
The Shell House was designed and decorated by Lucy Dorrien Smith in 1997.
The Agave Fountain was created by Cornish artist Tom Leaper in 1996.
The Kitchen Garden supplies the Dorrien Smith family with fruit, vegetables and cut-flowers – there’s bees and chickens too!
Visit the shop, cafe and The History Room including Colossus exhibition.
No other garden in Britain can boast such a variety of beautiful South African proteas on display.
Aloes are not only useful for their healing properties – they are beautiful too!
The exotic puyas may be spikey leaved but they have extraordinary flowers in the spring.
The Canary Island echiums put up tall spires of purple blue flowers and seed themselves throughout the gardens.
Agathis australis from New Zealand.
One of the most iconic trees in the garden with its regular foliage.
The Silver Tree from South Africa gets its shimmer from the hundreds of tiny hairs that cover its leaves.
The Canary Island palms on the Middle Terrace are the tallest in the British Isles.
Some agaves produce a flowering stem nearly 10m high – if you’re lucky you might see one here!
Watsonias flower in drifts through the gardens in the summer.
Tresco’s Earth Mother - Gaia was sculpted from South African marble by David Wynne.
The tall hedges of evergreen oak protect the garden from salt-laden gales but they are a challenge to trim!
Tresco Children made by the sculptor David Wynne is one of the gardens’ highlights.
A collection of trachycarpus palms.
In the lower parts of the gardens tree ferns from New Zealand and Australia flourish.
St Nicholas Priory was founded in the early 12th century by Benedictine monks and it was where the first plants of the Abbey Garden were planted in the mid-nineteenth century.
With its large barrel-like trunk full of sweet sap, the Chilean wine palm is one of the most important specimens in the garden.
Colourful in the summer with seasonal bedding.
Aloes, aeoniums and an array of scrambling Lampranthus, it is difficult to believe that the Succulent Cliff is in England!
This champion specimen of Banksia from Australia was once reduced to a stump by snow but now it’s back – better than ever!
This figurehead was taken from SS Thames, wrecked on Scilly in 1841; made of wood, it was painted white and covered in sand to make it appear to be stone!
The King Protea is the national flower of South Africa and one of the most striking blooms on Tresco!
The sub-tropical Abbey Garden is a glorious exception - a perennial Kew without the glass - shrugging off salt spray and Atlantic gales to host thousands of exotic plants.
Many of these tender floral gems would stand no chance on the Cornish mainland, less than 30 miles away. Yet even at the winter solstice more than 300 plants will be in flower. All in all, the tropical garden is home to species from 80 countries, ranging from Brazil to New Zealand and Burma to South Africa.
By building tall wind-breaks, Augustus Smith channelled the weather up and over the network of walled enclosures that he built around the Priory ruins and the three terraces he carved from the rocky, south facing slope looking towards St Mary's. You can learn more about the history of the garden here. The hotter, drier terraces at the top of the garden suit South African and Australian plants; those lower down provide the humidity that favours flora from New Zealand and South America.
The diversity of plant life to be found within the Abbey Garden is extraordinary. Fringing the lush grid of paths which criss-cross the gardens are a host of succulents, towering palm trees and giant, lipstick-red flame trees. Here you can find flowers of the King Protea and the handsome Lobster Claw. Walk amongst the great blue spires of Echium, brilliant Furcraea, Strelitzia and shocking-pink drifts of Pelargonium.
The treasures to be found within the Abbey Garden are not limited to the floral kind. The garden is also home to a collection of shipwrecked figureheads, which are displayed at the Valhalla Museum.
At the entrance to the garden is the Garden Visitor Centre with a well-stocked gift shop, a large cafeteria and a history room.
Beautiful climber with clusters of orange flowers. (Latin: Bomarea Caldasii)
Exotic, narcotic shrub with large trumpet-like flowers. (Latin: Brugmansia)
Large evergreen tree - a vital part of Tresco's windbreak. (Latin: Cupressus Macrocarpa)
The Bell Tree Dahlia with pink-lilac flowers. Latin: Dahlia Imperialis)
Mound-forming bromeliad with spiny leaves, red bracts and blue flowers.
Large, barrel-trunked palm tree, full of sweet sap. (Latin: Jubaea Chilensis)
The ultimate architectural plant - species can produce a flower spike 10 metres high. (Latin: Agave sp.)
The furcraea flowers once in its life - often synchronised with other furcraeas in the garden. (Latin: Furcraea longaeava)
A mountain bromeliad with extraordinary blue flowers. (Latin: Puya Alpestris)
Australian member of the Protea family, named after Sir Joseph Banks. (Latin: Banksia - Genus)
The brilliant sprays of yellow flowers used to be cut and shipped to florists. (Latin: Acacia Longifolia)
Tough shrub with delightful tubular bell flowers. (Latin: Correa sp.)
Lush green foliage with a large, red flower spike. (Latin: Doryanthes Palmeri)
Golden-flowered shrub with a scent like musty pineapple. (Latin: Dryandra Formosa)
The great tree species of Australia with vibrantly -coloured flowers. (Latin: Eucalyptus ficifolia)
Low shrub with rosemary-like leaves and small red flowers. (Latin: Grevillea Rosmariniifolia)
Small tree with creamy white flowers. (Latin: Hakea sp.)
Shrub with deep red bottlebrush flowers. (Latin: Kunzea Baxteri)
The flower of New South Wales - crimson and gorgeous. (Latin: Telopea - Genus)
Succulent with rosettes of dark purple/red leaves and yellow flowers. (Latin: Aeonium Arboreum Atropurpureum)
Succulent with rosettes of green leaves and yellow flowers. (Latin: Aeonium)
Tall biennial with splendid head of small blue flowers. (Latin: Echium Pininana)
White flowered mediterranean evergreen shrub. (Latin: Cistus Ladanifera)
Medium shrub with orange/ yellow racemes of flowers. (Latin: Isoplexus)
Large leafy umbelliferous plant - a sort of Madeiran cow parsley! (Latin: Melanoselinum decipiens)
Shrub with fantastic blue flowers in late-spring. (Latin: Echium sp.)
Large palm trees which dominate the Middle Terrace. (Latin: Phoenix Canariensis)
Mediterranean bulb with deep violet - blue flowers. (Latin: Scilla Peruviana)
Shrub with bright pink or white flowers.
Succulent shrub with fiery red-orange flowers. (Latin: Aloe arborescens)
South Africa bulb with rose-pink flowers in late-summer and autumn. (Latin: Amaryllis Belladonna)
Endemic South African genus with round white flower heads. (Latin: Brunia albiflora)
Brilliant red heather - often the first flower after a bush fire. (Latin: Erica Cerinthoides)
Smallish tree with attractive red flowers. (Latin: Greyia sutherlandii)
Corm with pale golden yellow to peach or pink flowers in the summer. (Latin: Homeria sp.)
National flower of South Africa. (Latin: Protea Cynaroides)
Orange, furry flowered shrub with aromatic leaves. (Latin: Leonotis Leonorus)
Found naturally only on the slopes of Table Mountain above Cape Town. (Latin: Leucadendron Argenteum)
Wonderful "weed" with purple daisy flowers. (Latin: Senecio glastifolius)
Striking member of the Protea family - flowers loved by the Cape sunbirds. (Latin: Leucospermum Cordifolium)
Photographer James Darling writes about working on Tresco.Read More
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It never really occurred to me, or rather, I never spent any time pondering the existence of emergency services, on the Isles of Scilly in general, and on Tresco in particular, until recently, that is, when I had reason to avail of them.Read More
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