Don’t panic about Christmas shopping this year. We’ve picked 10 great gifts from our web shop that are all £10 or under. From pressies for kids to gifts for grown-ups, we’ve got something for anyone on a budget.
Allotment kit, £10
A useful Christmas present for anyone venturing into gardening, this beautifully packaged kit contains everything they need: floral gloves, giant wooden labels, tools, and even palm-oil-free soap for those who like to get their hands dirty.
Daisy & dragonfly t-shirt, £9.50
Made from 100% organic cotton – which is supersoft on the skin – and featuring pretty designs, these children’s t-shirts would make an ideal present for little ones this Christmas. They’re locally printed with environmentally friendly ink.
Teddy bear puppy, £6.50
We love this teddy bear puppy; he’s so cuddly. The silky soft bamboo fibres are good for the environment, too, and he’s filled with recycled materials. He’d make a lovely Christmas present for children.
Nepenthes bio-dome plant, £10
Amaze someone with this tropical plant that comes with its own bio-dome – and looks just like our Biomes. Easy to care for, this rainforest plant is a nice present for the family to grow together.
Cider & preserve gift set, £7.50
A hearty Christmas present for cider lovers, this Cornish Orchard’s Cider & preserve gift set includes a 50cl flagon of award-winning farmhouse cider and a jar of tasty country chutney.
Charm earrings, £9.00
These affordable earrings make a pretty present. The charms are produced from reclaimed acrylic here in Cornwall and come in a choice of four designs inspired by the plants and wildlife at Eden.
Bug safari, £10
Let the kids loose in your back garden to see what they can find hiding in the undergrowth. The kit has everything they need to learn about creepy crawlies, including a magnifying pot, tweezers and bug tongs.
Wildflower gift set, £9.50
Give someone a present they can enjoy well into the spring. This starter kit comes with seeds, compost and a brightly coloured planter. A great present for anyone short of space who wants to do a spot of gardening.
Seasonal food book, £8.99
A nice Christmas present for foodies or anyone that enjoys cooking, this book guides you through the seasons, suggesting recipes throughout the year when the ingredients taste best.
Paper pot press, £9.50
Definitely a Christmas present for garden lovers, this paper pot press turns strips of newspaper into biodegradable plant pots for seedlings and cuttings. It’s a brilliant way to cut down on plastic pots.
Although winter might be a relatively quiet time in the garden, Christmas is a great opportunity to inspire your green-fingered family members or friends for the year ahead with some great gifts. We’ve rounded up some lovely products from our Webshop, and also a couple of practical experiences that would make great Christmas gifts for gardeners.
To ensure you get your gifts delivered in time for Christmas, make sure you send us your order to our Webshop by 11am on Wednesday 18 December 2013 at the latest!
Our pick of gifts for gardeners
Learn gardening with our enthusiastic and experienced experts on this range of courses. You can choose from subjects such as soils and composting, pruning and training, and propagation. To book a place on one of the courses call 01726 811911.
Give your gardening loved-one the chance to spend the day working alongside Eden’s horticultural team in inside and outside our world famous Biomes. Read this great review of the experience in The Independent. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
3. Robin watering can, £14.50
A cute and Christmassy addition to the garden shed, this watering can is designed in the UK and handmade in India.
4. Allotment kit, £10
This wonderful little package kit includes a pair of cotton gardening gloves, giant wooden labels, tools for planting and growing seeds, as well as palm-oil-free hand scrubbing soap.
5. Natural broom, £12
These handmade acacia wood brooms are available in four brilliant colours. They’ll make for a fun, and practical, gift for a gardener this Christmas!
6. Wildflower gift set, £9.50
A lovely gift for a budding young gardener, who will be delighted by the result of planting the honey bee flower mix seeds in the twin metal design planter (available in red, purple, blue and pink) using the coir compost disc included.
7. Planting tool, £30
This handy tool helps gardeners to lift weeds, dig and divide perennials, and plant bulbs with precision. This Eden Project branded tool has a boron steel blade and a hardwood handle made of FSC European ash.
8. Recycled glass orchid pot, £8
Beautiful plants like orchids deserve beautiful pots to grow in! Available in four colours, this pot is the perfect way to present showy blooms.
9. Gardening gloves, £4.75
These soft cotton gardening gloves are both pretty and practical: a floral design on one side, plus a grip pattern on the fingers and palms to help prevent awkward slips.
10. Boot jack, £16.50
Fashioned from oak, this tough boot jack is especially useful for gardeners with muddy boots over the winter months!
Eden horticulturist Shirley Walker shares her top tips for growing garlic and her favourite varieties of this wonderful plant.
This week in the garden I’m planting one of my favourite culinary ingredients – garlic. I had never tried growing it before I came to Eden but now I’m completely hooked! Growing garlic is becoming increasingly popular, not just for its essential use in the kitchen but also for its health properties. Garlic is relatively simple to grow providing your garden isn’t prone to water-logging in winter and if you choose a sunny spot, you will be able to harvest plenty of fat, juicy garlic bulbs next summer.
October to December is the best time to plant if you want to achieve the fullest flavour and the most succulent bulbs. Don’t be tempted to use bulbs from the supermarket – buy from a garden centre or mail order supplier.
Photo courtesy of Francesco Perito
For best results when growing garlic
- Before planting, add a general purpose fertiliser to the soil as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Carefully break up the bulbs and plant individual cloves just below the soil surface, 15cm (6in) apart, in rows about 30cm (12in) apart. I find that each bulb usually gives between 12 and 20 cloves.
- Plant all the cloves, irrespective of size – they should all produce decent bulbs.
- You can draw a narrow drill or plant individually with a trowel.
- If your garden suffers from wet soil conditions in winter, plant individual cloves into 5cm (2in) pots in multi-purpose compost. Place in the greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill and plant out when conditions have improved.
- To prevent birds from pulling up the cloves, cover the rows with horticultural fleece.
- Water if necessary during prolonged periods of dry weather but ease off watering at the end of June to allow the bulbs to ripen and cure during the final month.
- Weed by hand or very carefully using a hoe. Garlic doesn’t compete very well with weeds and stains can develop on the bulbs.
Towards the end of July, when the leaves are beginning to turn yellow, carefully lift the bulbs with a fork or hand fork. Let them dry on the ground for a couple of weeks if the weather is settled, then gather them up and hang to dry in the garden shed, greenhouse or conservatory. When the leaves make a rustling sound you can store them in a well-ventilated container until you are ready to use them.
Garlic has its origins in Central Asia and spread to other parts of the world in ancient times. It was known in ancient Egypt for its culinary properties and therapeutic benefits as early as 3,000BC and has also been mentioned in ancient texts of Greece, India and China. From Egypt garlic found its way around the Mediterranean and was eventually introduced into the New World from Spain, Portugal and France. The plant we know and love today is a domesticated crop that is grown throughout the temperate and tropical world.
Shirley’s choice of garlic varieties
- Bianco Veneto is my all-time favourite variety. It’s a tasty, white garlic from the coldest region of Italy that will prosper in the coldest garden and store well when lifted. I use it in my Mediterranean pork stew along with Italian bull’s horn peppers, baby plum tomatoes, shallots and lemon juice,
- I also love Rossa di Sulmona, a wonderful, red garlic from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Red garlic tends to be a little sweeter than white and I like to use this in starters and appetisers.
- My other recommendations are Solent White, an attractive, flavourful bulb, well adapted to the British climate and Spanish Roja, an old, traditional cultivar with a strong flavour – great for paella. This one also stores well and the cloves are easy to peel.
- Elephant garlic is not true garlic but a variant of the species to which the garden leek belongs. It has broad, flat leaves much like a leek but forms a garlic-like bulb made up of very large cloves. The flavour is not exactly like garlic but closer to garlic than leeks. Elephant garlic has a milder flavour than true garlic and I prefer it for eating raw in salads. I find it’s also kinder on the breath!
Did you know?
The sticky juice within garlic cloves is used in adhesive for mending glass and porcelain. It is also used as a pesticide for controlling cabbage root fly, round worm in turf and red mite in poultry.
By Bran Howell
Nearly 100 teachers from Devon and Cornwall came to the Eden Project for a special evening for schools last month.
It was Eden’s way of saying thank you to all the schools that have supported us over the last 12 and a half years and a great way for us to get to know each other – without all those pesky kids charging around!
The group heard Tim Smit talk about education, where Eden was heading next and… err… spacemen.
They met the education team, running mini workshops and forcing them to do silly things. Dr Jo Elworthy captivated everyone with stories from our Rainforest Aerial Walkway and teams of teachers took part in chocolate tasting, fruit tasting, blow dart competitions and eating bugs in our tropical rainforest.
‘We wanted teachers to have a fun and relaxing night whilst letting them know that we cover a huge range of subjects,’ explains Sam Kendall, School Programme Manager.
Once teachers realised we weren’t going to make them do lots of work or try any heavy selling they relaxed and had a great time. In fact the only thing that was taken seriously was the blow dart competition and the free raffle!
Tracey, a teacher from Redruth said: ‘I was buzzing after the session last night! Thanks to you and all the staff for making it a wonderful experience.’
Eden Project’s schools team welcome 45 000 young people each year and we couldn’t do it without the hard work and dedication of teachers who make the trips happen.
If you want to see why they keep coming back visit the schools section on our website or book a workshop by calling Susanne on 01726 811913.
Until recently the thought of running outside for pleasure or any other reason was a complete anathema to me. I preferred a prohibitively expensive exercise routine, where I’d fork out a great deal of money to join a fitness club, guilt-trip myself into going twice a month (thus wasting a great deal of money) and slog away on a treadmill in an hermetically sealed huge room trying to watch Come Dine With Me on the screen at the same time etc. You know the drill.
In fact truth be told, as a former fitness instructor I felt quite at home in gyms but then three things happened. 1. I moved a couple of times and fell foul of those invidious cancellation agreements in the small print of the gyms. 2. I got a dog, then another dog and started going OUTSIDE and realised I liked the trees, and the birds and even the rain and the snow. I actually enjoyed the variable. And 3. I tried running outside and it wasn’t that bad. Nobody laughed (overtly) at my running or my trainers or my tendency to sing to my music.
But this being the weekend of the Eden Project marathon and half marathon, it’s point 2 I’d like to major on: Being outside.
The great biologist Edward O Wilson hypothesised that humans are hard-wired to crave the natural world. From a green point of view this is good: an innate need to spend time in the woods means we’re less likely to destroy them.
But how does biophilia (as that instinctive bond between human and nature is properly called) work at speed? Not, you understand, that I’m suggesting I’m a fast runner but I mean that if travelling slightly quicker than a walk is it still possible to properly appreciate and benefit from the Great Outdoors at pace? I think it is.
This year I’ve done baby runs everywhere I’ve gone from alongside the Tyne to the Avon (I love a river run). I’ve spent proportionally more of my life outdoors and therefore it’s no coincidence I’ve seen my first kingfisher and a dozen other birds I can’t identify. Plus, in common with many walkers and custodians of different landscapes I’d fight tooth and nail to keep my favourite runs accessible and in pristine condition. Running’s made a conservationist out of me.
All of this is of course common knowledge: The Conservation Volunteers has been running Green Gyms for ever. Meanwhile running and outdoor exercise in general is booming in the UK. Inevitably The Man wants to take control. Some local authorities, particularly around London, are threatening to charge fitness instructors and group fitness leaders to use green spaces. They can jog on frankly. Sometimes local users of parks support this sort of licensing of commercial users. Don’t. While I know it can be disconcerting when you’re communing with nature in a local part and a swarm of British Military Fitness participants appear over the crest of the hill and start doing press-ups around you, remember it could be the first time those exercisers have connected with that green space. If it’s ever under threat (TVC reminds us that a third of green spaces are under threat in the UK), they’ll be powerful allies with good core strength.
Anyways, please remind me of all of this and my passion for the Great Outdoors when I’m slogging away this coming Sunday around Eden’s Half Marathon (incidentally my first!).
When Celine Holman, Eden’s senior exhibit designer maker, was given the brief to ‘tell the story of biodiversity and create a wow’, the possibilities were endless. With the brief fulfilled and the biodiversity chandelier hanging magnificently above heads over our Rainforest Aerial Walkway, Celine reveals the story behind it in this blog.
A spectacular focal point for our new Walkway, the chandelier is a collection of individual shapes that interlink to form clusters that explore six different areas of biodiversity by alluding to stories:
- how plants eat
- how plants drink
- how plants produce energy
- how plants protect themselves
- how plants reproduce
- the interdependency between plants, animals and microbes.
Responding to the brief
Celine reveals, ‘Throughout my many years here at Eden there has always been a murmur and excitement surrounding the possibility of having a chandelier somewhere on site. The Rainforest Aerial Walkway provided the perfect opportunity. It means we can tell the story of biodiversity without interrupting the flow of the Walkway and encourage people to look above their heads and really become a part of the canopy.
‘Although the freedom of such an open brief fills an artist with great anticipation and excitement, I was faced with the challenge of creating lots of different shapes in a relatively short period of time. The whole process only took around 12 weeks.’
‘It was combination of our own Rainforest Biome and ancient artefacts that provided the inspiration for the chandelier. During a visit to the British Museum I became fascinated with pre-Columbian artefacts and the way they used naive stylistic shapes to create metal figures. I wanted to create amulets in the sky by combining a fast modern design technique with ancient references.
A tour in our Rainforest Biome with Jo Elworthy, Eden’s Director of Interpretation, made me look beyond the beauty of plants and explore their purpose. I don’t think I will ever look at a plant in the same way. This made me realise I needed to tell the story of biodiversity in a subtle and abstract way alluding to stories rather than telling them, to allow each individual a personal interpretation.’
Celine’s stand-out moment
Celine decided to use aluminum because it’s a light material and able to survive the challenging rainforest environment. It also lent itself to fast computer assisted design technologies which enabled Celine to design the chandelier on a computer as a 2D graphic design before sending it away to be lasered onto metal sheets.
She says: ‘Receiving the metal sheets was incredible. It went from being an on-screen project that I’d been working on for quite a while to something physical, it was ethereal.’
Celine and two others designers then had to hand-shape the metal sheets into the chandelier that now hangs above people’s heads. If you want to immerse yourself in the treetops and discover the stories in our chandelier then come and visit our Rainforest Aerial Walkway as part of your trip to Eden.
If you haven’t come across baobab yet, you will soon. The superfruit is cropping up in all sorts of specialist foods and cosmetics, now that its health benefits – long-known in Africa – are being recognised by health-conscious Westerners.
The velvety green fruits contain a powder which has six times more vitamin C than an orange, and more calcium than a glass of milk – so it’s no wonder that people are starting to use it in everything from smoothies to curries.
Add to all this the fact that baobab already grows on trees in the African bush, and that its production encourages locals to look after them, and it sounds like a pretty sustainable crop.
We spoke to Rosby, a Malawian who travels on her motorbike from village to village, helping smallholders get this profitable new crop to market through local company TreeCrops…
The favourite part of my job is training suppliers
I know that knowledge is power, so if a lot of people know about what they can do with natural products, they can use them wisely and benefit.
Baobab is making a real difference to lives
I’ve seen many changes. Some people had poor houses and now they have much better ones. Some had no bicycles or domestic animals, but today they do. They can now educate their kids and feed their families.
Baobab is a wonderfully sustainable crop
The fruit powder is something that was just wasted before this market was introduced. But now people have something to do; they can go into the bush, harvest and sell. People had nothing before.
The fruit has helped with my calcium deficiency
I’d been advised by the doctor to buy a calcium supplement, but it’s very expensive. I started using baobab powder and everything bad I was feeling has gone away.
My tip is to drink it as juice
I drink the powder as a juice, adding water and a little sugar. If I have time, I add it to my porridge too.
Thank you to the Eden Florilegium for the illustration.
This recipe for piri piri chicken has been going down really well with visitors to the Eden Project’s Bakery, so we thought we’d share it with you here on our blog. Let us know how it goes down in your home!
- 4 free range chicken breasts
- 40g red chilli chopped
- 5g fresh garlic chopped
- 20g fresh coriander
- 15g fresh parsley
- 5g dried oregano
- 10g paprika
- 1 lemon
- 200g chopped tomatoes
- 1 small celeriac, peeled
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 50g mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- In a small pan gently fry off the chilli, garlic and paprika then add the chopped tomatoes.
- Add the juice of half of a lemon, coriander, parsley and oregano. Cook on a low heat for ten minutes so the sauce has reduced; take off the heat and in a food processor or with a hand blender blitz the sauce until smooth.
- Place the chicken breasts in a tray then cover with the sauce. Bake in an oven at 220°c for approx 25-30 minutes.
- Whilst the chicken is cooking you can now make the remoulade. Grate the celeriac and the carrot and place in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and the remaining juice from the other half of the lemon. Mix well and season.
- Divide the remoulade mixture between four plates. Once the chicken is cooked place each chicken breast on top of the remoulade and spoon any sauce left from the pan over the chicken.
Eden’s foraging expert Emma Gunn shares an easy blackberry brandy recipe for the autumn – part of our Harvest Festival season.
This blackberry brandy is delicious drunk neat, made into a long drink with soda water or lemonade – or poured over a dessert like ice cream or sponge pudding. Mmm…
Ingredients and equipment
- 1 x 750ml bottle of brandy
- 4 cups blackberries
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 large, sterilised Kilner jar or sweet jar
- Put all of the ingredients in the jar and shake well.
- Put in a cool dark place for at least two months, shaking occasionally. The longer you leave it the better it gets!
Tips on blackberry picking
When to pick: You can usually pick blackberries from August to November, with the best picking in September and October.
Where to pick: It’s best to pick from hedgerows away from roads, where fruit can be polluted. Don’t pick from too low down, where dogs may have been. Make sure you simply take the ripe fruit and don’t actually cut the plants. Take care not to rip your clothes or scratch yourself on the thorns!
What to take: Take a handful of containers so that each person can have their own pot. Old margarine tubs work better than plastic bags, which might squash the blackberries.
How to prepare the blackberries: Blackberries don’t last more than a day or so in the fridge. Then, on the day you want to use them, give them a good clean by submerging them in a bowl of water for 10 minutes or so, so that any bugs float to the surface. Then drain them through a colander or a sieve.
How to sterilise jars
Choose from several different ways to sterilise jars (don’t forget to remove the rubber seal first):
In a dishwasher: Run the jars through a short cycle in a dishwasher
In a microwave: Clean the jars, then microwave them (while still wet) for 1 minute.
On a hob: Place the jars in a large pan of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don’t touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes.
In an oven: Rinse the jars, dry them, and place them on racks, without lids and without them touching each other, in an oven (350°F/180°C/Gas 4) for 20 minutes.
To celebrate our Chilli Festival 21-24 September, as part of Eden’s Harvest Festival we thought we’d share a selection of our favourite chilli products from the web shop – so you can feel the heat too.
With autumn evenings on the way we’re looking forward to snuggling up with a mug of chilli hot chocolate. This delicious blend of chilli and chocolate is sure to give extra warmth with a kick – bringing a whole new meaning to hot chocolate.
If you can handle the heat of the kitchen, our Cornish chilli sauce is perfect for those who like it hot. Made from cayenne chillies, local apples and Cornish vinegar, it’s an infusion of traditional and exotic flavours.
We’ve taken the nation’s favourite pub snack and spiced it up. From rosemary and sweet chilli to smoky chilli nuts you are sure to find something to tantalise your taste buds in this range. They’re perfect as a snack if you’re feeling peckish, and their handy pouches make them great for taking on picnics.
There’s nothing like growing your own fruit and veg. So why not try your hand at being a chilli grower? This kit provides you with everything you need to grow a fruitful crop of exotic chillies right in your own back garden.
Indulge in all things spicy with this luxury hamper full of heat. It’s way up there on the ‘Scoville scale’, which measures the amount of heat in chilli fruits in terms of capsaicin, the natural chemical compound that stimulates nerve endings in the skin. This hamper is sure to get your tongue tingling…
If you want to feel the heat with us here at Eden why not book a chocolate and chilli tour or take home a chilli plant from the Plant Deck section of our shop by the Visitor Centre?