Cornwall lies alongside the warm Gulf Stream and its mild climate makes all manner of plants, including sub-tropical ones, flourish here. South East Cornwall is a veritable gardeners' paradise: dozens of wonderful gardens, large and small, public and private, are open to visitors through most of the year, and are easily accessible from here. These include the famous Lost Gardens of Heligan, gardens of The National Trust and many more properties open under the National Gardens Scheme. Not to be missed is the National Camellia Collection at Mount Edgcumbe House & Country Park Mount Edgcumbe, lies on the Cornish side of Plymouth Sound. In this favoured position, the delicate flowers of the Camellias appear from January onwards, making it a welcome start to the beginning of the year.

Spring comes early to Cornwall and, at this more peaceful time, the gardens are filled with delicate camellias and magnolias, for which the area is renowned. Azaleas and rhododendrons follow, competing with the beauty of cherry blossoms and primroses. The month of May sees the opening of the Cornwall Festival of Spring Gardens at venues throughout the county - an event not to be missed! In summer, the roses make the bees, and visitors, dizzy with their perfume and in streamside dells, huge gunneras and acanthus shelter dainty candelabra primulas and ferns. Finally, Autumn turns all to red and russet, gold and claret and bright berries and seed heads adorn the trees and borders. Whatever time you visit, you'll find sights to take your breath away and ideas to inspire.

Eden Project biomesOne experience not to be missed is the spectacular and unique Eden Project, which opened in spring 2001. The Project is easily accessible from your accommodation in South East Cornwall and is guaranteed to leave you enchanted, inspired and overawed! Built inside a crater 50 metres deep, the huge biomes constitute the biggest plant conservatory on earth! Within the largest of the three giant spheres, (which is tall enough to hold the Tower of London) you'll experience the sights, smells and sheer scale of the rainforest when walking around the lofty gantry suspended in the top of the dome. As well as introducing you to over 70,000 plants from all over the world, the project reminds us all of our dependence on plants for our own survival and how vital it is to conserve and value them. For an introduction to an unforgettable experience, visit the Eden Project Web site on