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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!