Incredible Seashore garden at Cornwall Spring Flower Show today

March 31, 2012
Author: Hannah

We can at last unveil our garden display at the Cornwall Garden Society’s 100th Spring Flower Show, which starts today.

Our gardening team have come up with an ‘Incredible Seashore’ plot, which combines the beauty of a spring coastal garden with the natural allure of a Cornish coastline.

Featuring a sun bleached boat house on a wild tide line complete with seaweed and driftwood, the garden not only reminds visitors of the powerful draw of the sea, but highlights the importance of our coastal flora and fauna for food, the environment and our own wellbeing.

Sketched illustration of Eden Project's Incredible Seashore garden

Special touches include beach combed flotsam and jetsam, such as driftwood, shells, sea glass and brightly coloured plastic. Visitors can also spot a sea wall stile, old fishing buoys and a railway sleeper.

The plants displayed are typical Cornish coastal varieties, such as bright green Alexanders, dense cushions of thrift and beautifully decorative Sea holly. Many of them are edible, chosen to highlight how the shorelines sustain us, including fennel, wild carrot, buckthorn and thyme.

This year we’ve created the garden exhibit mainly from recycled materials, building the boat house out of two old sheds and the landscaping out of used packaging.

Visit the Eden Project garden display at the Cornwall Garden Society’s 100th Spring Flower Show at Boconnoc House and Estate on Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April 2012.

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Cornwall, Horticulture

Sweet treats for Easter

March 30, 2012
Author: admin

Treat your loved one to something wonderful this Easter. For those with a sweet tooth, our chocolate ranges are both fairtrade and absolutely scrumptious.

Dinosaur Easter egg £9.95

Handmade with milk chocolate and brushed with melted dark and white chocolate, this Easter egg is utterly irresistible. As if it isn’t enough to have an award-winning chocolate egg, it’s also filled with solid dinosaur shaped chocolate. A pleasure for both children or adults.

Easter chocolate hen £7.50

These adorable award-winning hens are handmade with the finest melt-in-the-mouth chocolate and filled with mini speckled chocolate eggs. She’s tied up with a colourful ribbon and makes a cute gift for someone special this Easter.

Square chocolate bars £6.95

Say ‘happy Easter’ this year with our luxury handmade chocolate. Choose from white chocolate, crushed raspberry and yoghurt, dark and white chocolate with popping candy and the finest milk chocolate with flowers and butterflies – chocoholic’s paradise.

Chocolate indulgence hamper

From chunky chocolate brazil nuts to Divine drinking chocolate, this gorgeous hamper is bursting with everything you’ll need to satisfy a sweet tooth this Easter. This fairly traded chocolate comes in a sustainable wicker hamper, which is a beautiful gift in itself.

Hot chocolate gift

This sublime gift set is a great alternative to the Easter egg. One of our lovely jute bags contains Cornish shortbread with chocolate chips, a pretty bone China floral mug, and a bar of solid drinking chocolate – simply snap off a chunk and melt into milk for pure indulgence.

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Freaky plant facts: seeds

March 29, 2012
Author: Tom

As part of our Freaky Nature season, we introduce you to the weird and wonderful world of plants. Freak out with our strange facts: you’ll never look at plants in the same way again!

Seeds, which form in the fruits of plants, contain the blueprint for a whole new plant. When a meteor knocked out the dinosaurs the seeds of flowering plants hid underground and reappeared when the earth had sorted itself out!

  • Some seeds are poisonous to humans, such as the peach stone, which contains cyanide. Best not to eat that bit!
  • The biggest seed – Coco-de-mer or Lodoicea maldivica – is also known as the double coconut and grows only in the Seychelles. It’s the same size and shape as a large bottom and weighs up to 30kg. We have a Coco-de-mer growing in our Rainforest Biome.
  • The smallest seeds in the world are thought to be epiphytic orchid seeds. Roughly a billion of these seeds weigh just one gram.
  • The hardiest seeds could be those of the Arctic lupin, found in the frozen soil of northern Canada. Even though they were 10-15,000 years old, they sprouted and grew.

  • The seeds of proteas (pictured above) from South Africa germinate after they have been exposed to smoke: a survival tactic for plants that grow in fire-prone zones. See them in Eden’s Mediterranean Biome.
  • Three seeds feed most of the world – rice, wheat, maize. They dry, store, can be transported and were also responsible for the evolution of farming, settlements, cities and societies. See tem growing in the Crops that feed the World exhibit outside near the WEEEman made of waste.
  • Some seeds can fly – sycamore, dandelion – some say they gave people the idea for helicopters and parachutes.
  • Some seeds can stick – the idea for Velcro came from a burdock seed. There’s a huge model of a burdock seed in our Core building (Donut Gallery first floor).
  • Some seeds plant themselves – wild oats drill themselves into the ground once watered.
  • Sunflower seeds can be eaten as a snack or turned into cooking oil or lubricant oil. Our Core building is based on the structure of a sunflower because it’s not one flower but many that work together to do something greater than the sum of their parts – it’s all about community!
  • Cotton fabric is made from the hairs on the seeds. Each hair is 3,000 times as long as it is wide.

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Freaky Nature, Plants
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Freaky plant facts: flowers

March 27, 2012
Author: Tom

As part of our Freaky Nature season, we introduce you to the weird and wonderful world of plants. Freak out with our strange facts: you’ll never look at plants in the same way again!

Flowers are a plant’s sex organs,and also work like fancy party clothes and perfume, with bright colours and lovely scents to help them reproduce. Flowers contain pollen and tiny eggs called ovules. Pollinators, like bees, are attracted to the flowers. After pollination of the flower and fertilisation of the ovule, the ovule develops into a fruit.

Now you know the basics, here are some freaky flower facts:

  • The orphium flower from South Africa is pollinated by a certain bee. It only releases its pollen when it feels the vibration provided by the note ‘middle C’. The bee’s wings change frequency to vibrate at middle C when they get to the flower.
  • No species of wild plant produces a flower or blossom that is absolutely black, and so far, none has been developed artificially.
  • When you tickle the African hemp flower it opens out in front your eyes.
  • Some flowers have runway lines to guide pollinating insects in.
  • A catkin on a birch tree produces around five million pollen grains. It needs loads as it’s a bit of a hit or miss affair.
  • Pollinating insects are rewarded with pollen and/or nectar. Nectar contains more sugar than cola drinks and keeps those insects buzzing! Honey is a sort of regurgitated nectar.
  • Some plant insect relationships are very specific. When Darwin was shown the beautiful orchid Angraecum sesquipedale from Madagascar, he noted the foot-long tube at the back of the flower with nectar at the bottom and predicted that a moth with a tongue at least a foot long would be needed to pollinate it. Several years after Darwin’s death, a moth was discovered in Madagascar with a tongue exactly one foot long! There’s a model of this moth in the biodiversity greenhouse, in Eden’s Core building.
  • Some flowers are male and female (hermaphrodite), some have different sex flowers on the same plant, some have different sex flowers on different plants. It’s all to do with trying to get plants to cross-pollinate to produce variety so they can evolve.

  • One of the smelliest flowers is the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanium). They smell like a rotting animal, grow up to 3m tall and sometimes we are lucky enough to get one to flower in our Rainforest Biome: have a look at this video…

Freaky Nature, Plants
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Eden Project photographic competition for 2013 calendar

March 23, 2012
Author: admin

We’re always blown away by the outstanding quality of the photography that’s shared by our visitors on our Facebook wall and Flickr group. This year, for the first time, we want to celebrate the talent by producing an exclusive Eden Project calendar and postcard collection that contains only your images and stories.

The photographic competition is open to all and the 12 talented winners will each receive lifetime membership to Eden worth £1,000 as well as seeing their work in the beautiful Eden Project calendar and postcard collection.

We’re looking for original images that showcase the changing seasons at Eden and capture what Eden means to you. We really want to see Eden through your eyes. Each image needs to be accompanied by a short caption sharing the story behind the photograph, which will also appear in the calendar.

The lifetime membership to Eden, worth £1,000, awarded to the winner also includes early visiting privileges, a quarterly magazine, 20% discount on Eden Project books plus invitations to special Eden Friends events in the UK and abroad.

The judging panel at Eden will be headed up by Tim Smit, Eden’s co-founder and chief executive.

To enter

Please send the following to by Monday 21 May 2012:

  1. Your name plus contact details, including a phone number so we can call you if your image is short-listed.
  2. Low-resolution image or link to your image on Flickr to
  3. Short caption (no more than 100 words) explaining the story behind the image.

Shortlisted photographs

If your image is short-listed, we will contact you to request a high-resolution image for judging in the final. Please note, to be considered, your final image will need to be no smaller than 200Lpi at 30cm on the shortest dimension. Your image should have no interpolation; ie, do not make the picture bigger in Photoshop.

A few guidelines

Subject to the terms and conditions and the rights of the Promoter in relation to use of your submitted image, if your image is selected, you will be giving permission to Eden to use your image, with attributions and credits, as outlined in the Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike licence.

Before you send us your photograph make sure anyone in the image is happy to be featured. If this includes children (under 18′s), you will need to provide proof that you have permission to share the image for publication from the child’s parent or legal guardian and we would request this in writing at the short-listing stage.

Terms and conditions

All entry instructions form part of these terms and conditions.

Promotion open to United Kingdom residents (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), excluding employees and their families of the Promoter, its agents and anyone professionally connected with the promotion.

Closing date for entries is 20 May 2012. Any entries not received by this date will not be considered.

There are 12 prizes of Lifetime Eden Friends membership to be won.

In the unlikely event of the prize (or one or more constituent elements) not being available, the Promoter reserves the right to provide a similar prize of equal or greater value. No cash alternative is available in whole or in part, and, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the promoter, the prizes will only be awarded directly to the winners.

Parental consent required for under 16’s to enter.

Only one entry per person.

The 12 prize winners will be selected by a panel of judges, including one independent judge, and the judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

The winners will be notified by telephone within 14 days of the closing date. In the event a winner cannot be contacted within 28 days of such notification, the Promoter reserves the right to withdraw prize entitlement but the winning image may still be used in accordance with these terms and conditions.

When you submit any materials via the promotion, you licence and grant the promoter, its affiliates and sub-licencees an exclusive, royalty free, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable and sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish and display such content for any purpose in any media, including, but not limited to the Eden calendar, without further compensation, restriction on use, attribution or liability. You agree not to assert any moral rights in relation to such use where the moral rights in respect of the content are yours to assert. You warrant that the materials are your original works, have not been copied, in whole or in part, from any third party and you have full authority to grant these rights.

The names and counties of the prize winners will be made available after 30 June 2012 to those sending a stamped self-addressed envelope to Eden Project Photographic Competition 2013, Marketing Department, Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, PL24 2SG. The winners may be asked to take part in publicity.

No responsibility can be taken for entries which are lost, delayed, corrupted, damages, misdirected or incomplete or which cannot be delivered for any technical, delivery or other reason. Proof of sending will not be accepted as proof of receipt.

By entering this promotion, all participants agree to be bound by these terms and conditions. Promoter: Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, PL24 2SG.

Entrants may not be employees of the Eden Project.


Art, Creativity, Inspiration, Shop

Freaky plant facts: stems and trunks

March 22, 2012
Author: Tom

As part of our Freaky Nature season, we introduce you to the weird and wonderful world of plants. Freak out with our strange facts: you’ll never look at plants in the same way again!

Stems are like:

  • coat hangers – they hold leaves and flowers on
  • bones – they stop the plant flopping over
  • plumbing systems – they move water up and sugar solution down (mainly).

Now you know the basic functions of stems, here are some freaky facts:

  • William Harvey, the great 17th-century plant physiologist, thought that  plants must have a circulatory system like ours. He abandoned the idea after plant dissection failed to reveal a heart.
  • The largest stem in the world – the trunk of the giant sequoia tree – is up to 115m tall and 8m wide. You can drive a car through some!
  • Sunflowers bend towards the sun because the sun destroys a growth hormone so the shady side grows faster.
  • Bamboo stems are extremely fast growing: giant bamboos can grow 91cm a day! They are also very strong, and can even withstand earthquakes. In Japan they produce square bamboo poles by placing a square wooden mould over the shoots as they grow.

  • Although rhubarb stems are sweet to eat, the leaves are poisonous.
  • Sugar comes from sugar cane stems. Children in the tropics chew the stems like we chew sticks of rock.
  • The sensitive plant, Mimosa pudica, collapses its leaves when it’s touched. How? It’s stem behaves like a nerve and is sensitive to touch. You can see these in Eden’s Rainforest Biome and in this video:

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Freaky Nature, Plants
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The Island President film screening premiere at Eden 30 March

March 22, 2012
Author: Hannah

Join us for the UK premiere of The Island President film screening here at Eden. The new film focuses on recently ousted Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, who has become one of the leading international voices for urgent action on climate change.

Poster of The Island President film

The deposed president is famous for his efforts to fight climate change, but his lifelong struggle has been for democracy. After bringing democracy to the Maldives after thirty years of despotic rule, Nasheed is now faced with an even greater challenge: as one of the most low-lying countries in the world, a rise of three feet in sea level would submerge the 1,200 islands of the Maldives.

On 7 February 2012, Mohammed Nasheed resigned the Presidency under the threat of violence in a coup d’etat perpetrated by security forces loyal to the former dictator. The film is the story of his first year in office.

Watch a trailer of the film.

Practical information
The screening takes place at 7.30pm on Friday 30 March 2012 in the Gallery (inside the Visitors’ Centre) at the Eden Project. For further information or to book a £5 seat, email Carli Summer on

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Bust some moves at a free street dance masterclass

March 21, 2012
Author: Tom

If you’re aged 16 -25 and want to learn how to throw down some moves with the best of them, come to a masterclass at Eden on  Saturday 31 March  from 10.30am to 3pm.

Organised by somewhereto_, a Legacy Trust UK funded project, the class will be led by street dance elite, The A Team, finalists on Sky 1′s ‘Got To Dance’. Cornwall’s young street dancers are invited to join them in bringing the hard-edged, street style of dance to the backdrop of our Mediterranean Biome.

How to take part

If you would like to receive free training from one of the most innovative and exciting street dance crews in the country then get in touch. Places are very limited and offered on a first come first served basis. You must be aged 16 -25 to take part and under 18s will need parental consent. You will also be granted complimentary entrance to the Eden Project for the day and allowed to explore after the masterclass and performance has ended at approx 3pm. Please note, water will be supplied during the masterclass, but please bring snacks or money for food during the lunch break (approx 1-2pm).

For more information please contact: Sharon Adams, somewhereto_  coordinator South West, by calling 01823 365444 or 07974 747179.


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How to manage and reduce your business waste

March 21, 2012
Author: Hannah

Here at Eden we welcome around a million visitors a year – all eating and drinking in our cafes, and buying products in our shop. As a business we’ve had to think quite carefully about which materials we buy, and how we can reduce and recycle waste.

Aerial view of the Eden Project

That means thinking about everything from how the products we source are packaged to what we do with food waste. We like to approach waste as nothing but a misused resource! Reducing business waste makes good business sense as well as environmental sense. Waste costs money to dispose of and can typically average about 4% of a business’s turnover.

If you’re looking to save money and improve your organisation’s environmental credentials, read our five simple steps.

  1. Measure
    Carry out an audit to identify what, where and how you generate waste. We sifted through every one of our bins for two weeks to find out! Following your own rubbish trails should also give you an idea of the cost associated with waste, and highlight opportunities to cut down.
  2. Reduce
    Think about whether you could change purchasing procedures to buy less. Could you talk to your suppliers about reducing packaging? If you supply someone else, can you reduce packaging or switch to a better alternative? Might you be able to substitute new ways of communicating for written marketing materials and leaflets?
  3. Reuse
    Look at your operational processes – is there anything that could be reused? If you can’t find another use for it, can you find another business that can? Your waste might be someone else’s raw materials. Check out the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme website to see how you could link up with others.
  4. Recycle
    Set up recycling containers and procedures for the materials you use, then find a recycling contractor who can offer you a suitable collection service. You may be able to save money on your general waste collection fees. Visit the Waste & Resources Action Programme website for more help on this.
  5. Reinvest
    Wherever possible buy recycled goods, from office supplies to reclaimed building materials. This helps close the recycling loops, making sure there is a market for waste and that office recycling schemes continue to flourish. We’ve tried to do this at Eden, for example by buying insulation made of old newspapers and timber frames made of reconstituted wood waste.

Get more advice on Eden’s Green Foundation programme

Eden’s Green Foundation programme has helped hundreds of business make real tangible changes in the workplace, save money, grasp new opportunities and even go on to win their own awards.

Participants on the short business courses get to go behind the scenes for exclusive access to staff and operations, such as our waste compound – and take away ideas to implement in their own workplace.

For example, Green Foundation participant Fifteen Restaurant installed a biodigester to convert food waste into biofuel that heats their water, reducing landfill and the company’s energy bill.

Visit the Green Foundation website to find out more about what’s on offer.

For more on Eden’s approach to waste, watch this video below.

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Business, Environment, Green Foundation, Recycling and waste, Sustainability
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Freaky plant facts: leaves

March 20, 2012
Author: Tom

As part of our Freaky Nature season, we introduce you to the weird and wonderful world of plants. Freak out with our strange facts: you’ll never look at plants in the same way again!

Plants make food and breathe through their leaves. Leaves are designed to catch sunlight, which the plant uses to make glucose through a process called photosynthesis.

Leaves also have tiny holes all over their underside called stomata, which act like little breathing mouths. In the day, carbon dioxide goes in and oxygen out.

  • Leaves are a plant’s solar panels: they make life from light. In fact, solar panels are humans’ crude attempt at making leaves.
  • Why do trees make good umbrellas? If you lie under a leafy tree and look up, you’ll see that the leaves are arranged to get as much light as possible. There aren’t  many gaps, so they make a great place to shelter.
  • The leaves of the giant rhubarb plant, Gunnera manicata, can reach up to three metres across. Here’s a photo of some growing at Eden:

  • The climbing fern Lygodium has leaves up to 30m long.
  • The Fenestraria plant lives in the desert buried in the sand to protect itself from animals and the searing heat. Only the tips of the leaves show – these are transparent and act like magnifying glasses to catch the sun. It gets its name from the Latin word for window – fenestra.
  • Ocotillo plants (Fouquieria splendens) survive drought by dropping all their leaves and growing a new set only when it rains.
  • Leaves in rainforests are big to absorb as much light as possible. They also have drip tips to let them lose excess water.
  • The leaves of plants in hot, dry areas tend to be small, grey and hairy.  Some contain scented oils that deter predators and retain water.
  • Some plants that live on the rainforest floor have a purple backing to their leaves – the light that filters down that far through the canopy of larger trees goes through the leaf then gets reflected back up, so the plant gets as much as it possibly can.

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Freaky Nature, Plants
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