The Isles of Scilly are a sub-tropical haven for plants and wildlife. Augustus Smith created the stunning Tresco Abbey Gardens nearly 170 years ago, around the remains of the 12th Century St Nicholas Priory. Succeeding generations of the Dorrien-Smith family and their gardeners have collected one of the most fascinating and varied botanical collection of plants from all around the world. On top of the garden you find hotter, drier terraces to suit Australian and South African plants, while the bottom terraces provide the humidity that favours flora from New Zealand and South America. The diversity of plant life to be found within the Abbey Garden is extraordinary. Fringing the lush grid of paths which criss-cross the gardens are a host of succulents, towering palm trees and giant, lipstick-red flame trees. Here you can find flowers of the King Protea and the handsome Lobster Claw. Walk amongst the great blue spires of Echium, brilliant Furcraea, Strelitzia and shocking-pink drifts of Pelargonium.
Art and shipwrecks
In addition to the extraordinary plant life, the Abbey Garden is also adorned with wonderful sculptures and mosaics. Over the years many ships and lives have been lost on the rocky coasts of the Scillies. Valhalla is a unique collection of figureheads, as well as name-boards and other decorative ships' carvings from these wrecks.