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.


  1. What a splendid place and a splendid post, with all its poetry of names. The sweet pea trellis tickled my fancy too, and all that diversity of colour and flora. Looking forward to your next visit.

    1. Heyjude says:

      A lot of this is new since my last spring visit. And in winter it was pretty bleak outdoors. Looking forward to the end of the month and the new exhibition, and then July / August to see the lavender and red-hot pokers in flower.

      1. I’ll be waiting

  2. Lucid Gypsy says:

    The tropical biome has always be the draw for me. Having said that the magnolia is gorgeous and new to me as well.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I find the tropical biome to be a bit too warm for me, and especially at the weekend it would have been baking in there. Also it really doesn’t change much. I will have a look inside on the next visit to see if any of those interesting plants are in flower.

  3. Joanne Sisco says:

    At first I was super excited that you were travelling again and on your way to Australian via North Africa. This was the next best thing!

    Persian buttercups? WOW!! They make our tiny yellow things look absolutely pathetic in comparison.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Hopefully, soon, but maybe not via North Africa or even South Africa…

  4. The Eden project is such an interesting place to visit – I went a couple of times with my mum, and we enjoyed just sitting inside the biomes and enjoying their climate (and the plants of course). I remember the sweet peas that were planted outside were absolutely beautiful – and in so many gorgeous colours.

    1. Heyjude says:

      I shall return next month (after half term) to see the new exhibition in the Core and also to see how the sweet peas are doing. Having a local’s pass makes it so much more cost effective.

      1. Oh yes, avoid it at half term – imagine all those children…. A local’s pass is a great idea.

  5. susurrus says:

    How wonderful to see the Persian Buttercups! You’ve made it seem as if photographing them is easy but capturing colours like those never is. I’ve only been to the Eden Project once – I’d guess about 8 years ago and I don’t think I have a single picture from the visit.

  6. Amazing photos!!!!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you, it is an amazing (if somewhat expensive) place.

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