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The Eden Project, Cornwall's
that Land's End has been permitted to deteriorate into a squalid
churning, gurning mass of lower life forms - Cornwall's primary sight is the spectacularly
ambitious and successful Eden Project
close to St Austell that features exotic plant species from all over
the world inside and outside bio-domes.
in 2001, the Eden Project's central
theme is the global environment with the two large
domes (Rainforest and Mediterranean) offering natural arrangements of typical plants (over 250,000 of them) in, respectively, an authentically steamy tropical
setting and a temperate, Mediterranean environment.
The Eden rainforest biodome, giving a good feel of the plants, temperature and humidity but missing something... no, not the critters, but the noise of a squillion insects looking for a mate.
The complex includes colourful outdoor planted areas and bizarre
sculptures as well as entertaining educational facilities that
encourage visitors to understand the essential relationship
between people and plants around the world - all structured
in an imaginative, environmentally aware way.
The Eden Mediterranean biodome, which totally failed to impress the bugcrew. We preferred the colourful and interesting external displays to either of the domes.
Eden Project's geodesic domes, otherwise known as biomes,
consist of inflated UV-transparent sheets of thermoplastic (ETFE
film) supported by tubular steel frames, all set in a disused
Cornish clay pit. The entire operation is environmentally friendly,
not only with regard to recycling all waste products and paperless
ticketing but also almost all water used comes courtesy of the
sky while power is generated by Cornish wind turbines.
Apart from a couple of large eco-oriented restaurants Eden offers snacks from this imaginatively decorated living kiosk.
primary instigator of the Eden Project is an Anglo-Dutch ex-archeology
student, ex-millionaire record producer (Barry Manilow among
others) called Tim Smit.
On moving to Cornwall in 1987 he discovered
the remains of magnificent ancient gardens next door and spent
two years restoring them with the help of local enthusiasts.
These Lost Gardens of Heligan have now become one of
the country's top botanical attractions, so Smit has a history
of green-fingered success.
There's plenty of colour outside the domes, but we thought this all-white patch worked well.
Kids are catered for too, with a series of little nookish gardens sporting funny sculptures, living tunnels and climbing frames.
The cannabis garden, framed with hemp rope (i.e. processed cannabis plant) and backed appropriately by the concert stage that features leading rock acts in the summertime.
Poppies plants too, with educational information alongside, as usual. Next, Cornwall Pictures.
Chaumont-sur-Loire Garden Festival, France
Getting to Eden/St Austell:
Arriving by air, the nearest airport is Newquay. In the summer the T10 bus goes directly to Eden from the airport.
By car, take the M5 motorway to Exeter then the A30 to Innis Downs. Eden is well signposted from Exeter and Plymouth.
By train tourists can travel to St Austell from London's Paddington to Penzance, with additional services from Aberdeen, via Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and many other stops in between. For further information see Getting to Eden..
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