Garden Portrait: A Rocky Place

Porthcurno Beach

The Minack Theatre was planned, built and financed by one extraordinary woman, Rowena Cade. The first performance took place in 1932, but things have vastly improved since those days, The theatre is built into the cliffside with steep steps and terracing. I’d love to see a performance there, but what took me to the Minack Theatre on the first┬áMonday in June was the garden. Situated on the cliffs just south of one of Cornwall’s most loved beaches, Portcurno, the site also offers good views along the coastline.

Sempervivum flowering

Sempervivum flowering

While the cliff gardens you see today were planted since 1998 the actual planting reflects the choice Rowena made back in the ’20s and ’30s. The plants reflect the nature of the site, salt laden winds and many inches of rain in the winter followed by dry hot summers. The site is sheltered from the worst of the winds and enables the planting of Silver trees and Strelitzia from South Africa; Aeoniums from the Canaries; Geraniums from Madeira; Agaves from Mexico and Poppies from California.

Aeoniums

On the day of my visit it was very stormy, so much so I was concentrating mostly on keeping upright and not being blown over the edge and when the rain arrived I had to give up, but I hope you will enjoy seeing something of this incredible site.

And this plant below I believe is the Poor Knight’s Lily that I saw after flowering, in Auckland, New Zealand before Christmas. How wonderful to see it in flower!

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