Our gardens are designed to be attractive to both visitors and wildlife. Sheltered and surrounded by Beech and Sycamore woodland, the gardens are situated on a south-facing slope overlooking Looe bay and have through the years been divided into different areas to attract various species of plants and animals.
The Spring and Summer Meadows are sloping grassy areas planted with many local wildflower species. They are mown at specific times of the year to especially encourage a large variety of flowers to seed and blossom. Meadows are disappearing from the landscape mostly as a result of more intensive modern farming methods. Despite this meadows can be easy to create and very easy to maintain even in the smallest garden.
The Woodland Edge
A haven for birds and insects because of its densely-packed native shrubs, small trees and weeds. In this part of the gardens you might see things that would make some gardeners scream: banks of nettles and thistles, and buttercups and daisies covering the lawns. Native weeds like these however, encourage native wildlife. Nettles for example can support over two hundred species of insects, such as Peacock butterflies which lay their eggs on them.
The Pond is a home for frogs, toads and newts and is visited by dazzling dragonflies in summer and provides an important feeding and breeding station for wildlife. Our pond is designed with wildlife in mind with fringes of native plants and shallow water. If you look carefully in the pond you might see Great water diving beetles hunting newtlets and although quite small the pond supports 10 different species of Dragonfly.
The Victorian Border
The original garden was created when the house was built, a time when the fashion was to plant exotic foreign species, such as Azalea and Rhododendron, as a symbol of the achievement of Britain and its far-flung empire. In this part of the gardens we are growing a few of the plants which were commonly grown when the Murrays still lived here, thus preserving a Victorian aspect to our garden.
The Forest Garden
The forest garden was established in 1995 as a permaculture plot, to provide a year round food supply for the monkeys and humans at the Sanctuary in a sustainable way. It has many layers of different heights such as Apples, Pears, Damsoms and Mulberry at the top and various herbs such as Cobnuts and Currants in the middle. Below these grow a variety of perennials and some annuals with the idea that some plants are beneficial to each other and the garden can be self-maintaining. Forest gardening is a way of growing food whilst providing a home for wildlife it is much more like a natural wood than a vegetable garden.
A Nature Reserve
Much of the monkey sanctuary grounds is broad-leaved woodland and most of this is inaccessible to visitors. The Sanctuary is committed to managing all the grounds for wildlife. In the grounds there are about 285 wildflower species, 23 Butterfly species, 54 Moth species, 15 Mammals, 6 Amphibians and reptiles and at least 60 Birds. This represents a rich wealth of sometimes hidden wildlife.
By special appointment (or if you see them wandering round with a spade) the garden team will be happy to show you some of the wildlife of the grounds. We also host events on British Wildlife where possible throughout the year.