What’s up with the geese?

Canada Geese summer around here. In the past they’ve shown up in the spring, made a mess on the field near the farm shop, and gone somewhere – I have no clue where that might be – but good riddance to bad rubbish. Then, late August/early September, they start flying south. In the past their departure has always made me sad only because it means autumn is coming. I am not partial to Canada Geese. Do.Not.Like.Geese.

But for the past few evenings, they’ve been doing some weird fly-overs. Around dusk, really noisy groups of them, sometimes around a hundred, go over the house east to west. What’s that about? It’s not proper and they should stop it.

(The Mud Maid)

Anyway, a while ago I mentioned having long wanted to go to a place in Cornwall, west of here, called the Lost Gardens of Heligan. They really were lost, overgrown gardens, re-discovered around four decades ago and sorted out. So, we managed to go on Saturday.

This place is truly a wonder for a number of reasons and I’m so so pleased I finally managed to get there.

It’s a great set of gardens, with loads of paths, a kitchen garden, a walled flower garden, ancient trees, weird sculptures dotted around. Also places to buy very decent food and a nice plant and chuchka shop.

Bestest of all, dogs are welcome. In fact, they’ve got this great go pro video of a pooch going along the paths (ie, go pro attached to dog so you get a dog’s-eye view).

So, we took Joe the Lab.

Two hours there, two hours back. Mostly on decent road, but this is staycation time and territory in the UK so in some places it was a bit stop-start, and closer to the gardens, into and out of St Austell, the roads got a bit hairy (all these people from up-country who don’t know how to drive on lanes). We got there two minutes after our allotted entry time.

The dog has anxiety issues. I think he absorbed this from me. In any case, he cried some of the way in the car (“Where are we going? When are we going to stop? Am I going to the dogter – didn’t I go last week? I need to poo”) and then pulled on his leash for the first 20 minutes of walking around until perhaps he clocked that maybe this would be quite nice. Plus, there were other dogs around and best of all a number of people admired him and made a fuss about how beautiful he is, which he always enjoys.

So, we climbed steep paths, commented on different types of hydrangea and huge beds of dahlias (much jealousy – two of my dahlias haven’t bothered to flower at this point), espalier fruit trees (pear and plum), huge pumpkins and squashes, lots of sweet peas in bloom, had woodfired pizza for lunch with the wasps, wandered through the shop (even the dog – they welcome dogs through the shop as long as they are “well behaved”).

I wish I’d taken more pictures. This last picture is the Giant’s Head.

So, any opinion on Canada Geese? And if you choose some day to visit the UK I highly recommend a visit to Heligan – but suggest you take the train.

  • Patty says:

    Geese scare me. We had a pair when I was a kid, and the last thing I remember of them is my sister and I grabbing our much younger cousing by each arm, and his little legs running in the air as we ran for our life. Scary and MEAN. That Park and the Giant’s Head is amazing!!

    • cinnamon says:

      Yes, mean. And that honking makes it worse. The gardens have a long history — ie, back hundreds of years — but they were only rediscovered and fixed up 40 or 50 years ago.

    • Maya says:

      I think geese are cool, but they are territorial. I think of it as live and let live and sometimes run like hell. LOL.
      “Guard geese have been used throughout history, and in modern times. In ancient Rome, geese are credited by the historian Livy for giving the alarm when Gauls invaded.”

  • Dina C. says:

    Heligan looks really nice, what a good day trip! We have a couple of arboretums within a couple hours driving distance of us: Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, and Louis Ginter Gardens in Richmond, Virginia, which is a favorite of ours. That’s neat that they allow dogs. Thanks for sharing your photos with us. I’m in total agreement about the Canadian geese. They’re messy creatures. The best ones I like are the ones in the Mary Oliver poem “Wild Geese”! 🙂

    • Cinnamon says:

      I’ve actually never been to an arboretum, though they do exist here. my next destination is an RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) garden reasonably near her famous for its roses. Will look for the goose poem. I really can’t abide the creatures themselves.

  • Musette says:

    I nearly got my leg broken by a Canada goose, the assholes. Not my favorites AT ALL!!!


  • Portia says:

    OMG Cinnamon, the train would make it even MORE of a fab adventure.
    This looks totally fab.
    Can I ask what perfume you wore for the day?
    Portia xx

    • Cinnamon says:

      the train from London to Cornwall takes an age but once in Devon goes mostly via the coast, which is stunning.

      Perfume … actually, no. In the fumble to get ready on the day I didn’t manage it and that wasn’t a bad thing. I had planned to look around the shop for something perfume from there but that didn’t happen either. And I was very aware during the visit of how much people’s detergent/dry sheet smell stood out and didn’t fit with the smells at the gardens. interesting.

      • Portia says:

        That’s the joy of train travel for me. It’s a slower, closer look at the scenery. Also, I LOVE seeing peoples back yards.
        So interesting Cinnamon. Fortunately I’m almost anosmic to most of those laundry scents, only ever really notice them in very close quarters.

        • cinnamon says:

          It’s a beautiful and interesting journey. I’ve only done it in chunks though — London-Exeter, Exeter to some place in Cornwall.

  • March says:

    This is AMAZING and I want to visit, like, yesterday. I love gardens and wild sculpture (and gardens with wild sculpture) and it looks … perfect. Canada Geese on the other hand are terrible, ours in D.C. were year-round and all they do is muck up the playing fields and parks.

    • Cinnamon says:

      it was so worth it. don’t know why it took me so long. years ago, we lived near a park in London in which some artist had carved all the fallen tree trunks into things. it was amazing.

  • Maya says:

    I love Canadian Honkers. I especially enjoy watching them fly in formation! You can often hear them before you see them. It’s always a bit sad to see them leave in fall but wonderful when they come back in spring.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I find the formation fascinating but just am not able to like the birds. In the past, towards this time of year they’ve flown south. This year, they are doing the weird east to west and I wonder if their flight path has been mucked up by something.

  • MizChris says:

    No idea about the geese.

    I love the Mud Maid! The fact that she changes with the seasons is absolutely magical. Thanks for writing about Heligan. Prior to your post, I had no idea it existed and now I’ve spent part of this afternoon enjoying it through the magic of the internet.

    Did you wear perfume when you visited?

    • Cinnamon says:

      It is a magical place. I could see revisiting it in late winter/early spring, when I guess it would be fairly bare but also quieter (it was quite busy). I love the Mud Maid and the Giant’s Head. They are remarkable.

  • Tara C says:

    Being in Canada, we have a fair number of Canadian Geese. Yes, they can be noisy, dirty and aggressive. But as long as you keep to a safe distance, they won’t bother you. I enjoy seeing and hearing them, especially in the fall which signals time for them and me to go south for the winter. :-). Love the park photos!

    • Cinnamon says:

      Alas, I can’t see my way to liking Canada Geese. It may also be an association: when they go south (and start once again causing mayhem here) it means we’re moving towards rainy season and towards shorter, darker days.