The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall were created over a period from the mid-18th century up to the beginning of the 20th century. The gardens were neglected after the First World War and buried for almost a century. Overgrown with plants, broken trees, and hidden under blackberry brambles, it was only recently restored in the 1990s.

The botanical gardens have since turned into one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. To add to the mystery and allure, local artists Sue Hill, and her brother Pete, were brought in to create giant Chia Pet-like sculptures. They also completed simliar works at the Eden Project in Cornwall.


The Mud Maid was built as a hollow framework of timber and windbreak netting, then completely covered with sticky mud. Her hands and face are a mixture of mud, sand, and cement which were first coated with yogurt so lichens would grow. On her head, Woodsedge and Montbretia were planted while Ivy was trained to grow as her clothing. She changes with the seasons.




The Giant's Head can be found on the Woodland Walk. A tree had fallen, leaving a huge root ball at its base. This root ball became the Giant's Head. The tree root was plastered with mud to make the face. Sycamore twigs were scattered through and stuck into the top of the head.

His nose was supported by metal stakes before also being formed and caked with mud. The Giant's skin was coated in Cornish plants like Baby's Tears, while his hair started as Montbretia. Although the ears were cemented to give them stability, a colony of bees moved into holes behind them.


Eve has a galvanized steel frame but is filled out with clay from the local pit.


The Dreaming Girl is made of mud and grass.

Lost Gardens of Heligan website
via [Design You Trust], [Environmental Graffiti]

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Tags: Chia, Giant, Human, Pets

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Comment by Alyssa Anda on April 5, 2011 at 12:48pm
These are really interesting. I would love to see this in person. I can imagine its impact would be so much more profound. Oh to be outdoors! :)
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