Monday, 10 August 2009

Lost gardens, juicy fruits and three black cats - a full moon in Cornwall

Falmouth full moon

If it's possible to leave your heart somewhere, I think I've left mine in Cornwall. With my sunglasses.

Last Wednesday, when the sun began creeping over the horizon, I hopped in my dad's car (my trusty Fiesta isn't so trusty with big distances) and set off for Falmouth, Cornwall. August's full moon was calling. The Lost Gardens of Heligan were calling. And lovely John Harris, the lunar-gardening man-of-the-earth I was delighted to speak to on the phone, was waiting.

From early in 2009, I knew I wanted a biodynamics/lunar gardening adventure during my year of moonwalks. Through Susy, my friend and editor, I found Mr Harris. Three phonecalls later and this unassuming horticultural celebrity - his gardening techniques are followed around the world - met me at the gates to Tresillian House, a beautiful home (to a man who must remain anonymous) a few miles inland from Newquay, near Kestle Mill, along the A3058 from Gummows Shop (got to love Cornish place names).

Tresillian House walled garden

With a meeting booked for 3pm, Mr Harris entertained me until five-to-three with tales of lunar tutors, tradition, wisdom, and a stroll around the wonderful walled garden he's nurtured for 25 years. We picked beans and broccoli and lettuce and looked through his pristine toolshed and ate his tomatoes. He showed me the orchard with over 80 varieties of eating and cooking apples, apples shaped like pears, apples good for cider. And he explained why harvesting by full moon produces juicy fruit and veg, and when to plant root veg, and how to plant seeds the non-TV way (don't crush them!), and why watering the walled-garden crops is pointless.

He spoke, smiled, laughed and made two hours pass in a blink. Thank you, Mr Harris. The veg we picked tasted delicious, as you promised.

But no time to ponder. Next stop Heligan by full moon. And what a skin-prickling experience that turned into.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan, nr The Italian Garden

In four days I managed to meet a lunar gardener, a part-time homegrown veg lunar experimenter, lovely Candy Smit (wife of Tim, who wrote The Lost Gardens of Heligan about the rediscovery and rejuvenation of these fine gardens), a local photographer who owns a beautiful house just on the edge of Heligan; to see Tresillian House and its stunning surrounds, Heligan by day and by full moon; to lose myself by the trickling streams of pitch-black Falmouth; lose a couple of black cats; and hear a screaming lamb-like sacrifice.

And do the other things too.

Which I'll save for another time.

Oh and will post a video of Mr Harris that I managed to film (as soon as I've edited it). The man is a fine storyteller.


Sam said...

Sounds great my friend. I look forward to the video.

Shameless self promotion:
New track uploaded: "Eternal Sadness of the Immortal Soul"
A little attempt at a classical piece.

Now I think I should go to sleep, it's almost 3am.

Sam said...

I've now got another song up on my myspace site, this time it does tie in with the moon so mentioning it here is more valid :-P

New song: Sleepless Nights.