The Gardens of Eden

Exploring England #12

Everything about the Eden Project in north west Cornwall is large, including the statistics.

Every year 850,000 people visit the 13 hectare sustainable gardens. More than two million plants grow in the outdoor gardens and bubble-like biomes, which now fill what was once a disused clay china pit.

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It’s typically warm and humid in the 16,000m²  Rainforest Biome. Lush, tropical plants overflow into every space. Slender palm trees almost touch the roof, 50 metres above the floor, and beautiful flowers bloom in profusion. Delicately formed or bright and brash, they all compete for attention.

A walkway leads from the forest floor high into the canopy and then to a lookout suspended from the roof. When the temperature and humidity rise, the lookout is closed for safety reasons.

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Covering an area of 6,540m² and rising to 30 metres, the Mediterranean Biome is smaller but the garden is just as spectacular. It seems appropriate that red, orange and yellow are the dominant colours, from the potted pelargoniums at the entrance to the large variety of exotic tomato plants in the edible garden.

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More than 3,000 plants from the temperate zones of the world fill the 8 hectares of outdoor gardens surrounding the biomes. Many are native to the region and encourage local fauna to make their home in the open sunlit spaces.

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Twenty large artworks reflecting the Eden Project’s philosophy of community and sustainability are placed across the site. Driftwood horses greet visitors at the entrance to the gardens. A biodiversity chandelier decorates the roof of the Rainforest Biome. In the Outdoor Garden, a giant bee is a reminder of the importance of pollinators.

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If you’re one of the 850,000 visitors to the Eden Project, be prepared. Whether you spend a couple of hours or stay the whole day, you’ll see and learn plenty. Just don’t try counting anything!

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55 thoughts on “The Gardens of Eden

  1. I love this great project though I never had the opportunity to visit. I sometimes wonder if smaller, simpler venues have been built anywhere in the world to encourage the spreading of permaculture and the general philosophy of the Project. Thanks for sharing your visit.

  2. What a wonderful, colourful post, Carol. 🙂 Another of those places I’ve wanted to visit for ages and you came all the way from Australia and accomplished it easily 🙂

  3. The Tropical Biome must have felt like home to you Carol! I have been here twice, but wasn’t impressed the second time as it felt a little shabby and nothing much was happening in the Mediterranean biome. Now though I have discovered I can buy a locals pass and visit all year round quite cheaply so I may well go again even though it is a fair distance from me.

  4. An amazing project. There has been some talk of an Eden type project for the earthquake damaged land in Christchurch. Most likely won’t happen but it’s good that Eden makes people all over the world think about the project.

  5. I’ve been there twice, and enjoyed it (more so the first time, because everything was wonderfully unexpected). I think it is all very clever and it is amazing to think that it was once a clay pit. The second time I went I climbed to the lookout in the rainforest biome – it really gave an interesting view point.
    Your photos are all lovely, but the robin is my favourite (I’m a sucker for a robin!).

  6. Pingback: A Secret Place | The Eternal Traveller

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