Can you imagine how it would feel to shrug off the mantle of a bitter British winter and step into a blooming tropical paradise?
This utopian vision was the spark for the creation of the Eden Project in Cornwall. Once a disused quarry, this lovely valley is now home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest. On first glance, it looks like the landing site of two massive, alien-like biomes, but, inside these bubbled globes, gardeners use environmentally friendly, organic methods to nurture rare and exotic plants.
To step into the tropical Rainforest Biome is to enter
a dream world where plants and animals from Southeast Asia, West Africa and South America live happily side by side. Lizards crawl among the rubber plants and cocoa pods, and little birds hop around under banana trees and investigate vegetable plots.
Natural wonders rub shoulders with man-made elements – there’s a huge waterfall cascading into the pocket-sized South American rainforest and totem sculptures watch over their kingdom. Those with a head for heights can look down on all the green splendour from a winding canopy walkway and spot rare trees.
The Eden Project is teeming with life. It’s also rather warm. So hot in fact, that there’s a cool room on hand for any visitors who might be feeling a little faint.
Escape the humid tropics in the Mediterranean gardens of Biome Two, full of flora from Europe and California. The air is heavily scented with herbs and more Alice in Wonderland plants grow around you, from thick, snakelike vines and gnarled cork trees to enormous ‘lemons’ called citrons. In spring come for the dazzling array of tall, colourful tulips that rival the displays in Amsterdam’s markets.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
The outdoor gardens may be more recognisable to English gardeners, as elegant terraces exhibit medicinal crops and trends in British farming.
Ever-present is the reminder of the threat of climate change to the world’s ecosystem, with sobering displays showing how global warming affects modern agriculture. But here are solutions as well as warnings – inside The Core you’ll find sustainable living initiatives to help you create your own slice of Eden.
Visit The Eden Project this spring and discover the tropical world for yourself.
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