Garden View | Recipe for Eden

On Sunday with the coastal fog being a little more than coastal, I decided to head to the Mediterranean and have a quick visit to South Africa and Western Australia too.  No I haven’t discovered Time Travel (oh, how I wish) but instead went to see what the Eden Project was up to in the outside gardens and the Mediterranean Biome. I was not planning on going inside the Tropical Biome as I reckoned that heat would probably finish me off!

From the view from the visitor’s centre above the quarry the outside planting didn’t look very inspiring. But to my right, near the Core, which is closed at the moment for refurbishment and a new exhibition at the end of May, I spotted some colour, so decided to head down that route, pop into the biome and then slowly wind my way around the opposite side of the quarry back to the exit. By now the temperature was probably around 22°C. It wasn’t even 10 am.

Slowly making my way down to the bottom of the former quarry I was serenaded by a blackbird (usually a robin). Ferns were unfolding and magnolias, although almost over, still popped with colour. I was fascinated by one I hadn’t seen before, Magnolia compressa, with small tulip-shaped ivory flowers streaked with pink. There were tulips in pots, sweet-peas planted along a beautiful metal framework I longed to take home (and which means I must return in  a couple of months time to see them in flower), Anemone blanda in blue and white (or Grecian windflower if you prefer) under a pleached lime avenue and cool shady spots with benches.

A sensory avenue leads to ‘The Sense of Memory Garden’ which is designed by award-winning landscape architect Thomas Hoblyn, who first created the garden at the 2011 Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show. Its cool blue channels lead to a small dark reflective pool edged with some of Cornwall’s favourite plants. Further on is a ‘Bog Garden‘ surrounded by candelabra primula,  Globeflower (Trollius sp), marsh marigolds  (Caltha palustris), hostas, ferns, irises, grasses, astilbes and many, many other plants. Swathes of blue camassias were everywhere. And a Japanese Maple ‘Bloodgood‘ was splendid with bright orange tulips clashing madly beneath, seen beyond the butterfly sculpture below.

After a quick wander around the ‘Spiral round the Core’, with an area mainly geared for school parties (and yes there was one even on Sunday with very noisy children running around), I retraced my steps to the entrance to the biomes, stopping to admire the beautiful rows of vegetables planted in the ‘Sense of Taste’ garden beneath the Link (entrance). I wonder how they stop the slugs and snails demolishing them?

First to see inside is the Mediterranean zone with its Sicilian olive trees, citrus grove, Portuguese shepherd’s shelter and olive storage jars and Mediterranean herbs of course.

There is an impressive ‘vineyard’ which has always looked a little underwhelming to me on previous visits, with an art installation by Tim Shaw ‘Rites of Dionysus’. I shall give this a post of its own but here is a taster.

Next zone is South Africa. Fynbos ( is a small belt of natural shrubland or heathland vegetation located in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa) which includes species from several key families: Restionaceae, Proteaceae, Ericaceae, Rutaceae and Iridaceae. As well as aloes and succulents.

Crossing over a wooden bridge takes you into the new Western Australia zone which is mainly full of Kangaroo Paw in various bright colours along with iconic grass trees (Xanthorrhoea johnsonii).

And I am sure fellow Australian bloggers will recognise the Fan Flower (Scaevola ‘Mauve Carpet’), Everlasting Daisies (Bracteantha bracteata) also known as straw flowers, Swan River Daisies (Brachyscome iberidifolia) and the Bottle brush (Callistemon) in the photos.

The final wow though has to go to the marvellous colourful display of Persian buttercups (Ranunculus asiaticus) voluptuous flowers in all the colours of the rainbow (well except green). And these have got to have a post of their own too.

I took far too many photos on this occasion and I have to confess that after my previous visits, which didn’t impress me much, this time I was very happy to spend three hours there. I shall be back at the end of the month and hopefully in July to see the lavender flowering.

42 Comments

  1. pommepal says:

    I just drool over all these lovely photos Jude. What an outstanding display. I loved seeing all the aussies I have had rather a sad show with my paper daisies I grew from seed, they just refused to flower, went all long and lanky then keeled over. I think too much rain and not a sunny enough position. Oh well they have gone to the compost bin now….autumn leaves still glorious where I am in Tenterfield, but grey overcast skies so no good for photos. Maybe tomorrow will be better…

    1. Heyjude says:

      I grew the paper daisies in Doncaster once, just chucked the seeds into the border! Very light sandy soil with good drainage and not much else. Perhaps that’s what they like. Also grew the Swan River daisies there too, had tons of them everywhere. It was a good year for planting seeds. I don’t think they’ll like the soil here though so I am growing some in a pot. Fingers crossed xx

      1. pommepal says:

        I have to admit I’ve given up on seeds now!

        1. Heyjude says:

          I have resorted to buying young seedlings this year, except for a few packets of seeds – I can raise sweetpeas from seed usually, but failed on the first sowing this year: they got too wet. I am hoping that bigger plants might stand a chance against the S&S, potting them on at the moment and just put them all outside – and typically the temperatures have cooled down 😦

        2. pommepal says:

          I go hot and cold with seedlings, at the moment I am cold as I’ve started doing a few very short, about a week, trips. But even a week it is hard to leave young plants

  2. Tish Farrell says:

    Wonderful photos, Jude. So much colour. Our last visit was at Christmas time, so it’s excellent to see Eden’s spring face. The field of ranunculus is an absolute stunner. So far I have only loved them in bunches at the florists, now you have initiated fieldful lust. Never mind oil seed rape!

    1. Heyjude says:

      It was an email reminder which showed the Persian Buttercups that made me go. They are stunning en masse. I need to persuade the farmer to sell me the field opposite.

      1. Tish Farrell says:

        Oh yes. That would be wonderful.

  3. beetleypete says:

    Nice to live so close to that place. I must try to see it one of these days.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      Well I certainly recommend spring. So far that has been the best time to visit, but I will keep going back during the summer and see how the planting progresses. I believe they are building a hotel close by too.

  4. I’m so envious of your proximity to Eden but delighted to see your photos. We loved Eden years ago when we saw it and its such treat to see your current photos!

    1. Heyjude says:

      I have been several times and a couple have been disappointing. Not this one though. I shall try and go monthly until November and then I’ll have a good idea of what’s on each season. Lots to bloom in the outside gardens.

      1. I look forward very much to your posts!

        1. Heyjude says:

          Thank you 🙂

  5. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Wonderful photos, Jude, with such colourful plantings. It would be interesting to know what kind of soil is used in the WA area. I’ve been spectacularly unsuccessful in growing plants from the other side of Australia! I had scaevola looking beautiful for a while and then it just keeled over for no good reason, and I guess it was the soil to blame.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Had a look but it doesn’t mention the soil mixture specifically, but you need very poor soil with good drainage so I guess light and sandy with poor nutrients. Try in pots maybe? It is created in collaboration with Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth so maybe you can contact someone their for advice?

  6. Su Leslie says:

    What an absolute feast of luscious plants. The Persian buttercups are absolutely stunning.

    1. Heyjude says:

      They were/are quite a spectacle.

      1. Su Leslie says:

        I think I’m overdue a nice long walk in a botanic garden. We tried in Dunedin, but by the time the sun came out, it was time to hit the road. 🙂

        1. Heyjude says:

          Gardens are always so relaxing. I can spend hours in one checking out the flowers and the planting combinations, and fantasising about my own wee plot.

  7. restlessjo says:

    You were right! Fabulous, Jude 🙂 🙂 Hmmph, I won’t sulk that you didn’t invite me. Funny how some plants keep turning up- I didn’t really know Camassia but I saw some just opening up at Thorp Perrow the other day, and Mick insists he’s pointed them out in the Algarve. They look good in those swathes. And the ranunculus- I’m echoing Tish! And who better to echo?

    1. Heyjude says:

      A shame we didn’t think of it earlier, never mind there are flight from Newquay to Faro during the summer months so there is still time for us to share a cream tea together once things calm down. Speaking of which…

      1. restlessjo says:

        Ooh, that’s an excellent idea. I might hold you to that. 🙂 🙂 Enjoy!

  8. Looks like a place worthy of a visit when we are over there in June. Love those South African Vykies. We had lots of them in our garden in Johannesburg. 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      It’s rather expensive, but should be delightful in June.

  9. Pete Hillman says:

    Wow! You took some gorgeous photos here, Jude!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Pete. The weather and the light were really good.

  10. I have always wanted to visit The Eden Project and your post with all the wonderful photos​​, has made me want to go even more. I shall add it to my list of things to do when I get back to the UK!

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is very expensive, but if you time it right then very worthwhile. Be interesting to see the differences later on in the year.

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