7pm Congratulations to the 2014 World Pasty Champions! The winners are:
Cornish Pasty Amateur
- Winner: Terry O’Connor from Watford
- Second: Jon Lovejoy from Plymouth
- Third: Vanessa Far from Bristol
Cornish Pasty Professional
- Winner: David Timmins
- Second: Jason Robbins
- Third: Ryan Smedley
Cornish Pasty Company
- Winner: West Cornwall Pasty Co
- Second: Simply Cornish
- Third: Proper Cornish
Cornish Pasty Junior
- Winner: Simon Cornish, 12 from Launceston
- Second: Michael Webb, 14 from Helston
- Third: Alice Avery, 12
Open Savoury Amateur
- Winner: Don McKeever, chicken and chorizo pasty
- Second: Jon Lovejoy, cheese, chorizo and chilli pasty
- Third: Terry O’Connor, bacon, egg and tomato pasty
Open Savoury Professional
- Winner: Nik Brown, Cornish steak and Doom Bar ale
- Second: Andy Heath, Cornish yarg and onion in a vintage Davidstow cheese sauce
- Third: Gemma Hearn, Bahn Mi spicy meatball and sweet chilli sauce
Open Savoury Company
- Winner: The Shop @ The Shop Ltd, salmon, hake, pollock and monkfish pasty
- Second: Prima Bakeries Ltd, peppered steak pasty
- Third: Cornish Premier Pasties, red Thai chicken curry pasty
Open Savoury Junior
- Winner: Daniel Beddoes, 12 from Bristol, chicken fajita pasty
- Second: Rhys Heath, from Bodmin, savoury mixture
- Third: Robbie Mowbray, 10 from Padstow, haggis, neaps and tatties pasty
Well done to everyone who took part – see you all next year!
5.02pm Father and son Dick and James Strawbridge went head to head in the Great Cornish Crimp Off at Eden today. Who won? Er, we don’t really know, but it was great fun anyway!
3.30pm Representatives of the charities that will benefit from the Localgiving.com Charity Begins in Cornwall campaign. Donate to the campaign online here.
2.49pm Judging has now finished! The results will be announced at the Oggy Oscars Award Ceremony at 6.15pm on stage in the Mediterranean Biome.
1.56pm Check out the flavours of the new Eden Extra-ordinary Pasty, made in collaboration with the Posh Pasty Co. Which would you choose?
1.44pm Young Toby Hastings tries his hand at crimping in the Crantock Bakery workshop.
1.38pm Lyndsey Stephenson won our Facebook competition to name an ale specially brewed by St Austell Brewery for the World Pasty Championships. She named it ‘Crimper’s Pinch’! Well done Lyndsey!
1.08pm Today we’re launching the Charity Begins in Cornwall campaign to help raise money for the following Cornish charities :
- Battling On
- Community Greenspace
- Gwealan Tops
- Lizard Child Trust
- Pengarth Day Centre
- Penhaligons Friends
- St Petroc’s Society
- Wild Woods
They’ve all got stalls at Eden today, so come and say hello, and please give generously!
Thanks to a partnership between Eden Project, Localgiving.com and the Cornwall Community Foundation, for a limited time, donations made to these charities through Localgiving.com will be doubled pound for pound.
12.57pm Legendary Cornish rappers Hedluv and Passman have been dropping some ‘ot beats on stage in our Med Biome.
And here’s their video for The Pasty Song, recorded at last year’s World Pasty Championships
12.06pm Olympic rowing gold medalist James Cracknell is here today. We gave him one of our new Eden Extra-ordinary Pasties to sample.
11.49am: Crimping masterclass from Crantock Bakery
11.44am Father and son TV chefs Dick and James Strawbridge enjoy a quick pasty before their stage appearance this afternoon.
11.07am Judging has begun! This is Richard Shaw, who has travelled all the way from Hampshire to enter his pasties in today’s contest. One is known as the ‘Incendiary Bomb’ as it includes ghost chilli (aka Bhut Jolkia) – one of the hottest chillies in the world! Watch out judges!
10.28am Have you ever seen such an ‘ansom array of oggs?
10.09am Good morning pasty fans! Welcome to the Eden Project’s third annual World Pasty Championships! Entrants to the competition are already bringing their oggies into Eden to be judged by our expert panel. Good luck to everyone entering!
Come down to Eden today to enjoy a programme packed with pasty-themed fun, including live music, chef demos and workshops – see the full programme.
TV chef James Strawbridge, who’ll be on stage with his dad Dick this afternoon, gives a few pasty making tips in this video:
We’re proud of having just achieved the Planet Mark, a new sustainability stamp of approval.
We thought it only fitting that we worked hard to make the grade for the scheme which we’ve helped create with sustainability consultancy Planet First!
Last summer we undertook an environmental performance audit across all of our operations to measure carbon, energy, water and waste use.
Over the last two years our teams have worked hard to improve the accuracy of our environmental data reporting and to improve our carbon footprint. A programme of efficiencies began in 2010 with the installation of condensing boilers, domestic hot water services and an LED retrofit, all run and monitored by a Building Management System and Energy Management System. The use of gas oil has been greatly reduced and the use of heating oil was stopped 3 years ago.
Now, through the Planet Mark programme, we have committed to a further 5% annual reduction in its GHG emissions.
Eden is one of almost 100 companies signed up to the scheme. Each organisation that signs up automatically supports the work of the Eden Project with 10% of fees going to the Eden Trust for sustainability education projects. In return, businesses receive the Eden Project branded Planet Mark to add to their marketing communications.
Planet First delivers the Planet Mark certification with ongoing support for each client, to help measure and monitor their performance and encourage employees, customers and stakeholders into sustainable action.
This origami sycamore seed model mimics the way a sycamore seed twists and turns as it falls through the air!
Now you can make your own origami version when sycamore seeds are out of season.
How sycamore seeds fly
The sycamore seed has evolved over time to become the perfect shape for dispersal by the wind: its insect-like wing structure aids its ability to fly, while the heavy nut at its base makes it rotate as it falls.
This means that the sycamore seed falls more gradually than other wind-dispersed seeds, and therefore can disperse itself across a much wider range.
Take a 10x10cm sized square piece of paper (it’s best if the paper you use is quite thin and easy to fold).
Start by folding it in half diagonally and then unfolding it.
Fold it in half diagonally again, this time starting with the opposite side of the paper, then unfold.
Fold one corner of the paper to the centre line and then unfold it again.
Repeat this with the opposite corner and unfold again.
Fold one corner over to the top line on the paper (figure 8).
Unfold and then repeat this with the other corner.
With the second corner still folded over, fold up the bottom edge of the paper (figure 11).
Now fold the left corner over (figure 12).
Then fold over the rectangular strip that’s still sticking out (figure 13).
Now fold this edge over again. This is called a ‘valley fold’ (figure 14).
Fold the edge in two again to create the stem of your seed. Make sure to press down firmly along the crease (figure 15).
Now press along the sides of the stem in order to make it slightly tube-shaped. This is called a ‘mountain fold’ (figure 16).
Your maple seed is now ready to fly. Throw it as high as you can into the air (or drop it from somewhere high up) and watch it spin!
Come and design your own flying seeds at our Freaky Nature event, which takes place at the Eden Project, 15-28 February 2014.
This YouTube video from Jo Nakashima shows how to make this origami seed, which was originally designed by Davor Vinko.
Like oxygen, nitrogen is essential for living things to survive on Earth. Animals and plants need nitrogen to build amino acids in proteins, which are the building blocks of life. Unlike oxygen, nitrogen cannot be absorbed directly from the air by animals and plants.
The nitrogen cycle, illustrated on this page, shows how nitrogen gets from the air into the soil then plants then animals, and back into the soil. Plants are a crucial part of the nitrogen cycle.
Nitrogen cycle diagram
1. About 78% of the air around us is nitrogen but this gas is unreactive and needs to be processed into nitrates before it can be used by plants:
- a) Nitrogen gas in the air is converted into nitrates by lightning. Rain and other precipitation then bring the nitrates down into the soil. Although not shown on the diagram, the man-made Haber process also uses nitrogen in the air to produce plant fertiliser on an industrial scale.
- b) Nitrogen gas in the soil is converted into nitrates by bacteria in the soil and in nodules in plant roots.
2. Plants absorb nitrates through their roots and then use them to build proteins and grow.
3. Animals (including humans) eat the plants and absorb the nitrates by converting them into animal proteins that enable them to grow and function healthily.
4. Nitrogen returns to the soil as ammonia through:
- a) animal droppings and urea being broken down by decomposers, such as bacteria and fungi
- b) decomposers, such as bacteria and fungi, breaking down the dead bodies of animals.
Learning about the nitrogen cycle
We hope that adults will find our diagrams useful for teaching children the crucial role of plants in the nitrogen cycle. Teachers of GCSE Science (Biology and Chemistry) pupils (aged 14-16 years) should find it useful.
Processes in the nitrogen cycle
The diagram below is another interpretation of the nitrogen cycle, showing each part of the process in more detail. You can download a larger PDF of this nitrogen cycle diagram here.
Eden horticulturalist Shirley Walker takes a detailed look at the olive tree and shares her tips on how to grow your own at home.
The history of the olive tree
My love affair with the olive began many years ago on the Ionian island of Paxos. I was captivated by this ancient and beautiful tree, brought to the island by the Venetians in the 15th century. The history of the olive, however, stretches back much further and it has become one of the most powerful symbols of the Ancient World.
The olive has been a part of everyday life in the eastern Mediterranean since the beginnings of civilisation more than 6,000 years ago, but began life as a sprawling, spiny shrub in the Levant (present day Syria and Lebanon). Thousands of years of selection and breeding have turned it into the productive tree we know today. The olive is now an integral part of the Mediterranean landscape and the most important economic plant in the region with 800 million trees in cultivation.
Botanical details of the olive tree
In spring the silvery canopy is covered in tiny flowers, like scattered stars, and the swaying branches protect a wealth of spring bulbs and wildflowers beneath, like cyclamen, poppies, field marigolds, purple viper’s bugloss and tassel hyacinths. During the long, hot Mediterranean summer the trees become heavy with fruit, ripening from green to black as the winter approaches.
Olive trees are extremely tough and can withstand searing heat, drought, fire and temperatures as low as -7oC for short periods. I really admire Mediterranean plants because they have adapted over thousands of years to cope with extreme climatic conditions, poor soils and the effects of fire. Many plants, including the olive have the capacity to regenerate from the base when damaged by fire – that’s how the olive came by its name ‘tree of eternity’.
Our olive grove in the Mediterranean Biome at Eden contains some old, gnarled specimens but these are mere juveniles compared with some you find in the Mediterranean region – many are more than 1,000 years old. Carbon dating of old specimens in Lebanon has revealed trees several thousand years old. I find it amazing that these trees have been producing fruit and giving oil since Biblical times!
Growing your own olive tree at home
This wonderful, evergreen tree will add a touch of the Mediterranean to any garden and when I’m working in the Biome I am frequently asked how to care for them. Here are some questions and answers:
Can I grow an olive tree successfully in a container?
Certainly, olives do well in containers. When you buy your tree, pot it on into a larger pot, preferably terracotta rather than plastic and use a loam- based compost like a John Innes no. 3. Add 20% horticultural grit to improve the drainage. Place in a sunny position, keep the soil moist during the growing season and feed with a balanced liquid fertiliser once a month. In winter you can reduce watering but don’t allow the compost to dry out completely.
Can I plant my olive tree outdoors?
Olive trees are tougher than you think but try and choose a sunny, sheltered, well-drained position and plant in spring, after the risk of frost has passed, but before the end of June to give the tree plenty of time to establish before the following winter.
Will my olive tree need pruning?
Olives grow very slowly so don’t require much pruning when young. Container-grown plants tend to grow quicker, so if the canopy becomes dense, remove some of the branches to let more light into the centre. Keep an eye on the shape of the tree and remove any dead or diseased wood.
Will my olive tree produce fruit?
Trees should begin producing fruit at about three to five years old. Most olive varieties are self-fertile but they are wind pollinated so will need to be outdoors when in flower. (We use a leaf-blower to pollinate our olive trees in the Biome!) Olives need a two-month cold spell in winter and fluctuating day/night temperatures to initiate flowering and fruiting, so keep container-grown trees in an unheated conservatory or greenhouse, with plenty of light. Olive trees flower and fruit on one-year-old wood.
What are the best cultivars for growing outdoors in the UK?
- Arbequina is a small tree from Catalonia in northern Spain, with a weeping habit, ideal for small gardens.
Cipressino originated in Puglia, Italy, and is a vigorous tree with an upright habit. Its name comes from its similarity to the Italian cypress.
- Leccino comes from Tuscany, Italy, and is a popular, widely planted variety with an open, pendulous habit. It is easy to grow and will tolerate a wide range of temperatures.
- Picual is an extremely hardy and vigorous tree requiring regular pruning. It originates in Andalusia, Spain.
- Pendolino is a small, compact, weeping form with architectural appeal from Tuscany, Italy. It will need a pollinator to provide fruit as unlike most olives, this one is self-sterile.
My favourite culinary tip
Try pot-roasting a chicken with plenty of black olives, sliced leeks and peppers, rosemary, lemon juice and olive oil.
Making and throwing seed bombs is a fun gardening activity for families and communities. When they sprout into beautiful flowers, the guerrilla-style seed bombs can bring colour to a patch of bare land, and the act of making and throwing the bombs adds a sense of excitement to gardening.
You will need:
The ratios below for clay, compost and seeds should be multiplied to make more seed bombs.
- A bowl: each person taking part needs their own bowl to mix in.
- Newspaper: to dry the bombs on.
- Clay: three parts (eg three handfuls)
- Peat-free compost: five parts (eg five handfuls)
- Seeds: 1one part (eg one handful).
Tip: Native wildflowers are a nice idea. If combing different species, check that they can all be sown at the time of year you’re planning to throw the ‘bombs’ (different seeds can be sown in spring or autumn – look on the packet for advice). Also think about the type of area you’re planning to plant. For shady spots, choose a woodland mix, for example including foxgloves or honesty. For sunny places, go for meadow flowers such as cornflowers, marigolds or hollyhocks.
- A patch of land: seed bombing should not be done without permission on land you don’t own. But it’s a great activity for your own garden or a piece of community-owned land that you’re working to transform.
- Mix the compost and the seeds together in a bowl, then mix in the clay.
- Add water, so it’s wet enough to stick together, but not too wet so it’s a sludgy mess. It should have the consistency of biscuit dough.
- Make sure the seeds are surrounded by the clay and compost, so the bombs can be slowly broken down by the sun and rain to release the seeds.
- Shape the mixture into truffle-sized balls.
- Arrange the seed bombs on sheets of newspaper and leave to dry slowly for at least three hours (or even overnight) in a warm, dry place.
- Throw your seed bombs – ideally, timed to coincide with rain, so the seeds have a good start. (It’s best to use them straight away, as they could start to sprout. But if you do need to save them, keep the seed bombs in a cool, dark, dry place – and not for more than a few weeks.)
- Watch for growth. Seedlings should be visible within two to three weeks – and flowers within 12 weeks.
If you haven’t got time to make your own seed bombs, but fancy a go at throwing some, take a look at these Wildflower seed bombs for sale in the Eden Project online shop.
Thank you to Cedim News and Sarah Kanouse for the photos.
Eden horticulturist Shirley Walker describes how small winter flowers can produce incredible aromas at this otherwise quiet time of year in your garden.
A winter garden can be a magical tapestry of dramatic, evergreen foliage; bright, shiny berries; golden grasses and colourful stems, but for me, on a crisp, clear winter day, it is the heady fragrance of winter flowers that surprises and intoxicates the senses.
Winter flowering plants are among the most highly scented of all garden plants and although they originate in many different parts of the world, they seem to be trying to outdo one another in the perfume stakes in order to attract pollinators. Winter fragrant flowers can sometimes appear small and insignificant but they have evolved in this way to lure the few pollinating insects around in winter with scent. What they lack in size they more than make up for in fragrance!
Aromatherapists believe essential oils lift our spirits and retrieve long forgotten memories and who am I to disagree? Whatever kind of scent appeals to you there will be many plants to choose from for your winter garden and no matter how small your patch, make room somewhere for at least one of these fragrant winter gems – you will not be disappointed.
Tips on growing fragrant winter flowers
You will derive most pleasure from your winter fragrant plants when you plant them by paths and walkways or by entrances and doorways in regular winter use. What could be more pleasurable than to be welcomed by a waft of sweetly scented cool air every time you open the door?
One of my all-time favourites is wintersweet, Chimomanthus praecox, with its delicious yet sophisticated spicy smell, stronger in the species than in cultivars. Cut a few twigs and bring them indoors – the tiny yellow flowers with inner maroon streaks are waxy with essential oils and the fragrance will fill the whole room!
Nepalese paper plant
The increasing power of the sun in the New Year triggers many winter shrubs into bloom. One of my favourites is the Nepalese paper plant, Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, a medium- sized, ever-green shrub bearing clusters of highly fragrant, purplish-pink and white flowers in late winter. These are followed by attractive black berries.
A favourite with the outdoor gardening team here is Lonicera fragrantissima, the winter-flowering honeysuckle or ‘sweetest honeysuckle’. Pairs of sweet honey-scented, creamy flowers bloom from winter into spring, often followed by red berries.
Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’
This plant has a perfume reminiscent of cloves, jonquils and heliotrope. If you bring this one indoors it can smell a little sickly, but in the garden on a calm, sunny day it smells heavenly. Look closely and you will see tight clusters of rosy-pink flowers that fade to white as they age.
Here in the outdoor gardens of the Eden Project, the leafless branches of witch hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ are adorned with spidery, coppery-orange flowers that fill the air with a delicate perfume. This is considered to be one of the best cultivars around today and has the added bonus of spectacular red and gold autumn colour.
The only drawback to some of these wonderful plants is that they can look drab during the rest of year. The answer could be to plant them in containers so you can move them in and out of the limelight. However, one of the most dramatic exceptions to this is Mahonia, which looks great all year round. As autumn turns to winter, Mahonia x media ‘Charity’, throws up clusters of bright yellow flowers with a delicious, old-fashioned scent. The large, spiky, glossy leaves look good all year round and in summer the plant is covered in deep purple berries that you can make into juices and jellies, providing the birds don’t get to them first!
Eden horticulturist Shirley Walker reflects on the recent mass planting of tulips at Eden, which will ensure a colourful floral extravaganza here in the spring.
The annual tulip ‘plantathon’ came to Eden last month and the whole horticulture team along with our hard-working volunteers got together to spend a few hours on our hands and knees, carefully planting the tulip bulbs that will wow our visitors in the spring. You may be forgiven for thinking it’s a little late for planting tulips, and you would be right; however, these have been planted in our Mediterranean Biome where warmer conditions enable us to delay planting and still have a wonderful display in early spring. I often plant mine at home as late as December to reduce the risk of tulip fire.
Shirley’s choice of tulip varieties
Spring 2014 at Eden promises to be the most vibrant and spectacular yet. We have planted 24,000 tulip bulbs in the Mediterranean Biome, in a myriad of rainbow colours that will cheer us all after a long winter. We have planted nearly 100 different varieties of tulip this year and these are just a few of my favourites:
- Angelique is an exquisite double tulip with many petals of the palest pink, changing to apple-blossom pink at the edges
- The world’s first blue fringed variety, Blue Heron, is a real charmer! The violet-purple petals lighten to pale lilac at the crystalline, fringed edges.
- Queen of Night is the classic, luscious black tulip with petals the texture of silk. Try pairing this with an orange variety, like Orange Princess for a stunning display.
- I like to send off the season with this stunning, late-flowering variety, Red Georgette. The blood-red goblets, set against grey-green foliage, gradually open to reveal bowls of saturated colour.
My top culinary tip: The petals of fragrant tulips can be used in salads. Try Ballerina for the colour, flavour and aroma of oranges!
Say it with flowers!
I love to see a vase overflowing with tulips and nothing comes close to the incredible range of colours available. Choose the popular single, late-flowering varieties with long, sturdy stems, large, oval flower heads and surprisingly long vase life. My particular favourite is Blue Aimable, one of the best shades of blue I’ve seen in a tulip.
Little gems: smaller tulips
I love the little species of tulips – they look like sparkling jewels in the garden. These tiny, brightly coloured flowers have their origins in far-away places like Uzbekistan, Iran and the Caucasus, where it is hot and dry in summer and cold in winter and they thrive on dry, stony hillsides. Some are so small their little heads are only three or four inches above the ground!
Whenever I buy species bulbs, I always look for the label, ‘Bulbs grown from cultivated stock’. This means that they have come from a sustainable source and not taken from the wild. Apparently, more than 50 million bulbs are wild-sourced illegally every year and this is having a devastating effect on wild populations. Conservation organisations are working with local people and Dutch bulb growers to provide alternative incomes and promote artificial propagation on a local basis.
Shirley’s top tips for a stunning tulip display
- Remember, tulips look great in formal and informal bedding schemes and in pots.
- Always buy good quality bulbs.
- Plant growing point upper-most, to a depth of two and a half times the height of the bulb.
- Bulbs can be planted close together so long as they are not touching.
- Plant a mixture of early, mid and late season varieties for a long-lasting display.
- Dwarf species tulips look great in containers and rock gardens but make sure they come from a sustainable source.
Tulip Fire disease
This is a fungal disease that causes foliage to become distorted and covered in a fuzzy, grey fungal growth. The flowers either fail to open or are marked with bleached spots. I grow my tulips at home in a different bed each year to help keep this disease at bay. Destroy any infected tulip bulbs.
Eden horticulturist Shirley Walker describes the beautiful January colour of these plants, and gives a few tips on growing similar plants at home.
The vibrant candelabra-like flower-heads of the bitter aloe (Aloe ferox) are once again reaching skywards in the Eden Project’s Mediterranean Biome, bringing drama and colour to the South African Cape exhibit.
This magnificent plant is most famous for its medicinal properties and in many parts of South Africa the bitter, yellow juice found just beneath the skin of the large, succulent leaves has been harvested as a renewable resource for more than 200 years. The hard, black, resinous product known as Cape Aloes has laxative properties and the gel-like flesh from inside the leaves is used in cosmetic products. The bitter aloe is also reputed to have wound-healing properties similar to its well-known relative Aloe vera.
Growing your own aloes at home
Our aloes grow up to 3m high but if you would like to grow an aloe at home in your conservatory or greenhouse or even on a windowsill then Aloe vera is the plant for you. It is slow-growing and will measure less than a metre when fully grown at around ten years old. I have one at home and it makes an attractive feature on a plant stand in front of the hall window.
This evergreen perennial produces long spikes of tubular, greenish-yellow flowers in summer. It likes to be in full sun in a south or west facing, sheltered position. Grow your aloe in loam-based compost with added horticultural grit to improve the drainage and water moderately during the growing season, but sparingly in winter when the plant is dormant. Your aloe will benefit from being placed outdoors on a sunny patio in summer. Feed two or three times during the season with a balanced liquid fertiliser.
Aloes come in a variety of growth forms from small miniatures to tall, single-stemmed or branched trees and we have several different species on show in Eden’s Biome, flowering spectacularly at different times of year.
More information on the Aloe ferox
Read more on our Aloe ferox plant profile page.
Visitors have been able to enjoy a day out at the Eden Project with their dog since June, when we became a dog-friendly attraction. This month we’re laying on a special event; Dogs’ Day Out, on Sunday 26 January 2014 – featuring Monty Halls.
The dog-focussed day will include a visit from TV adventurer Monty Halls with his four-legged friend Reuben, a fun dog show, plus a free treat for each dog.
If you and your trusty companion can’t make it this time, don’t forget that we welcome well-behaved dogs year-round. Or why not treat your dog to one of these toys and accessories from our shop in the mean time? Here are our favourite:
Cornish pasty dog treats, £3.50
Treat your pooch to a yummy Cornish pasty treat made with local ingredients. They’re pasty-shaped and flavoured! Guaranteed to set tails wagging.
Dog bone, £8
Every dog needs a bone; and these ones are made from natural materials. Ideal for chewing puppies and older dogs, they’re non-toxic and vanilla-scented.
Dog friendly walks in Cornwall book, £3.99
Explore Cornwall in the company of your dog. This book features 14 dog-friendly walks in the county, with directions and maps.
Dog lovers’ gift bag, £21.50
Treat your furry companion to this gift bag full of eco-friendly accessories and tasty treats. A perfect present for anyone with a new puppy.
Ball with rope, £9.00
This toy is great for playing in the back garden or on walks. The rope means you can throw it even further than a conventional ball, making sure your dog gets lots of exercise.
Entry to the Dogs’ Day Out event is included within entry admission to Eden. Get more information on the event and on visiting our dog-friendly attraction in Cornwall.
By Lucy Dearn