Being a gardener sounds like a pleasant, relaxing kind of job.
For the gardeners at St Michael’s Mount, off the coast of Cornwall however,
it’s more akin to an extreme sport.
As part of work to conserve the medieval castle, which is owned by the
National Trust, the 50ft granite stone walls need weeding three times each
As this picture of gardeners Jack Beesley and Darren Little shows, the only
way to do it is by abseiling.
Lottie Allen, the head gardener of the four-strong team, said: “Abseiling has
become an important skill to complete essential strimming and planting of
the many nooks and crannies within the cliff face where plants grow in spite
of the salty winter storms and the baking summer temperatures.
Horticultural heights: where the gardeners are expected to weed (STEVEN
“We weed these areas three times a year not only to ensure the stonework
remains intact and strong but also to allow the succulents planted within
the walls, such as aloes and aeoniums, to thrive and flourish.
“It is a thrilling and unique experience to tend these gardens which are
designed to be viewed from above.”
Don’t look down: the walls stretch for 50ft (STEVEN HAYWOOD)
St Michael’s Mount is a rocky island 300 metres off the mainland, with access
by foot possible at low tide. The oldest buildings date from the 12th