At the end of August Aardvark Clothing took a trip into Cornwall to visit the marvellous Eden Project. Never having been there before, we were overawed by the size of the project as we stood at the visitor’s centre looking across at the two enormous biodomes. We couldn’t decide where to start.
For those of you who have not yet managed a visit – the Eden Project is a biological experiment/showcase/research centre built within a reclaimed china clay pit. Its rationale is to preserve and curate plant species and to educate the world about the importance of plants and our personal, ecological and economic interaction with them.
The main path took us down to The Core which had two great sculptures inside. The first pumped out ‘smoke rings’ of steam that fascinated both adults and children but had a deeper meaning about one of the world's smallest but most important organisms: cyanobacteria.
Next we visited the immense and calming ‘Seed’ sculpture by Peter Randall- Page – a giant granite block that sat beautifully and alone in a quiet room.
We then headed into the Mediterranean biodome that was full of lush plants; lemons, aubergines of all colours, the fattest tomatoes and the most exquisite smells. For a while we forgot that we were in Cornwall and pretended that we’d arrived in Italy for an overdue visit.
But our favourite place was the Rainforest biodome; it got hotter and more humid the longer we stayed and the higher we climbed its circling paths. Luckily there were water fountains at regular intervals and even a cool room to enter if you felt overwhelmed by the heat.
We saw a waterfall, banana plants, long trails of ants, the tiny Roul-Roul partridge with their chicks (various birds have been introduced to control the plants’ natural pests and parasites), and drank a delicious baobab smoothie.
The dome was full of plants we had never seen or heard of before. The rainforest canopy walkway took us across rope bridges and into a hissing steam cloud, and gave us (despite the steam!) great views across the canopy. We were surrounded by ferns, enormous trees, exotic flowers and weird and strange shapes everywhere - it was amazing!
Back outside, we were really impressed by the outdoor gardens which were full of more familiar plants. Many were in full bloom, providing a mass of colour, pattern and clever sculptures that gave us inspiration for our own patch of garden back home.