Tresco Abbey Garden - Tresco
The sub-tropical Abbey Garden is a perennial Kew without the glass - shrugging off salt spray and Atlantic gales to host thousands of exotic plants.
Many of these would stand no chance on the Cornish mainland, less than 30 miles away. Yet even at the winter equinox more than 300 plants will be in flower. All in all, the 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. 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 there is a well-stocked gift shop and a large cafeteria.
The Garden is open daily from 10am to 4pm