Forest guardians and tree spirits: a world map

June 28, 2012
Author: Tom

Lorax characterWe're putting on a great play event for kids and families inspired by The Lorax – this summer’s blockbuster movie with a really cool environmental message. We're also offering loads of extra Lorax fun on our Blog to keep your kids happy over the holidays.
Our summer kids' event is inspired by The Lorax – the blockbuster movie with a really cool environmental message.  We're also offering extra Lorax fun on our Blog to keep your kids happy over the holidays.

The Lorax - the star of the movie - is the guardian of the forest: he 'speaks for the trees'! The belief in tree spirits who look after the forests they live in has been around for a very long time among people all over the world.

People have often tried to keep these spirits happy by not chopping down trees. Even if you don't believe in tree spirits, it's a really good idea for us humans to start treating our forests with more respect; after all, they help to keep us alive by producing the oxygen that we breathe!

Explore traditional tree spirits and forest guardians from cultures around the world by clicking on the trees on the map. If you think we're missing an interesting one, please let us know below and we'll add it to our map. Thanks!

View Forest guardians and spirits in a larger map

The movie Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax © Universal Studios. Based on The Lorax book and characters TM & © 1971 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All rights reserved.

The Lorax at Eden, 14 July – Sunday 2 September 2012, Follow the trail, paint a mural, build a den, plus much more...Click to find out more

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Apply for a horticulture apprenticeship at the Eden Project

June 22, 2012
Author: Hannah

If you’re searching for a practical horticulture training course, we’re currently on the lookout for apprentices to join us at our world famous gardens in September 2012.

The 12-month course, in association with Cornwall’s Duchy College, give budding gardeners the chance to learn while they earn, and to get under their belt a Level 2 Diploma in Work Based Horticulture.

The horticulture apprenticeship offers participants the opportunity to:

  • Gardener in front of the Eden Project's Biomeget paid while they learn, with a training allowance provided by Eden – thanks to the Finnis Scott Foundation
  • receive quality advice and support from Eden’s experienced horticultural team as well as one day a week’s formal training with Duchy College
  • gain a qualification widely recognised within the industry – a Level 2 Diploma in Work Based Horticulture (formerly known as NVQ), considered to be equivalent to five good GCSEs. One of our current apprentices, Katie McBride, has just scooped the coveted Institute of Horticulture Prize.
  • learn the craft on the job, with stints in different areas of our gardens, including the outer estate, the outdoor gardens, the Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes, the nursery and even our temporary displays.

The practical side of the course, based at Eden, will see apprentices doing everything from tending tropical plants such as coffee and bananas to harvesting vegetables in our Global Gardens allotments to getting their hands dirty on our wild outer estate.

How to apply
Visit our careers pages to download an application form, which must be completed and submitted by 6 July 2012.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the apprenticeship criteria?
The apprenticeship is open to EU citizens aged 16 or over. We encourage people to apply no matter what stage of their life they are in. If you are from outside the UK, remember to check necessary visa requirements, which can be found on the UK Border Agency website.

Do I need to have any previous qualifications or experience?
You do not need to have any previous qualifications. Horticultural/gardening experience would be an advantage, although this is not essential provided that there is a high level of motivation displayed.

What will I gain from doing a Horticulture Apprenticeship at the Eden Project?
You will learn skills from enthusiastic and experienced horticulturists. The skills really are the key ones to start you off in horticulture and gardening so that you can build on them yourself, with confidence. The course structure allows you to practice each skillset. It is predominantly a practical course, where students gain hands-on horticulture experience. You will receive a combination of both practical and theoretical learning, which will get you ready to progress further in your career.

What topics does the course cover? What range of on the job training can I expect?
You would have a group of mandatory units taught one day per week at Duchy College, for example: Establish decorative amenity areas; Identify the health and maintain the condition of general amenity turf; Monitor and maintain health and safety; Levelling and preparing sites for landscaping; Plant terminology and identification etc. These units may vary year to year. At Eden (and for the remaining four days out of the week) you would receive on the job training rotated through the various horticultural teams including the Rainforest Biome, Outdoor Biome, Mediterranean Biome, Outer Estate, Nursery, Temporary Display and Science team.

Will I need to pay any fees to do the course?
As a rule of thumb, as long as you have not gained a higher qualification than a Level 2 Diploma (previously NVQ Level 2) then there is no fee. Please contact Claire Bennetts, Generic Liaison Officer, Training Agency, Duchy College who can give you more up to date information on fees: 01209 722109 or

I don’t live locally. Would there be a possibility of getting accommodation or getting help to afford accommodation if I was to be accepted?
There is a salary for this apprenticeship, and many people have moved from other places to take up the position. In 2012, the salary was £2.68 per hour, rising to £3.75 an hour after 3 months (the salary rate is the same for all apprentices and is not age-dependant). The salary is there to cover accommodation and living costs and we are not aware of any additional bursaries. Occasionally, self-catering accommodation is available within our Nursery bungalow, which was £125 per month (including all utility costs) in 2012.

I’ve just missed the deadline to apply this year. Is there any chance you might accept a late application?
Due to high number of applications we receive each year, we can’t accept late applications.

I can’t see any information available for the apprenticeship this year. Will it be running? If so, where can I find out about it?
We tend to start advertising in June (September 2013 start) for the Apprentices, so please keep an eye on our website from May onwards. You can also sign up to our vacancy alerts.

What have previous apprentices gone on to do?
Most of our previous apprentices have gone on to gain employment or further training in a garden or botanic garden such as at Kew or RHS.

Where can I find detailed information on horticulture apprenticeships or careers in horticulture?
There is a really good page about horticultural apprenticeships on the Grow website which you might find helpful.

You can also click here for useful information and advice about careers in Horticulture, which will also list other apprenticeship opportunities around the country.

Do you offer any other horticultural courses?
We also offer a number of short-term leisure learning courses and the Eden Project/Royal Botanic Garden Certificate in Practical Horticulture. You can find more information here.

Education, Horticulture
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Small gardens and patio planting

June 18, 2012
Author: admin

Our webshop is packed with ideas to help you make the most of your outdoor space. Whether you have a roof terrace, a small patio, a balcony, some decking or even just a path by the back door to play with, you can still create a mini haven to be proud of.

1. Plant upwards

Think about planting vertically if you haven’t much space on the ground. The sky’s the limit! What about a climbing hydrangea Or a pea and bean patio planter up the wall which you can harvest?

2. Add fun and quirky elements

Gone are the days of prim, polite gardens that require hushed library voices and best behaviour. The best contemporary gardens make you smile and feel utterly comfortable. They start conversations and cheer you up. At the Eden Project, we think there's plenty to be said for injecting a little humour into your flower beds, which is why we've found some really quirky gardening  features for our online shop. How about bringing the great British seaside to your garden with these unusual sandcastle plant pots? Collect all three ice-cream coloured pots, and they’ll look great filled with bushy green herbs. And while you’re at the seaside, what about this beach hut bird box to set off the holiday vibe? In a small bijoux garden, every part of the garden should be enjoyed, so why not water your plants with a robin watering can? He looks great even when he’s off duty.

3. Brighten up your space with colourful flowers and vegetables

The secret to making the most of your outdoor space is to make the area as vibrant as possible. Add a splash of colour with bright perennials bursting out of planters. Or how about sweet red strawberries growing out of one of our patio planters? These are especially handy for a small garden, as the handles allow you to move the plants about to follow the sun. Or you could grow a flowering climbing plant and train it to disguise a drainpipe. Add a few bright delights like these, and you’ll create an impact with even the smallest space.

4. Attract birds, butterflies and bees

Even the smallest of gardens thrive when they are teeming with nature. Add some bees to create a hive of activity in your garden. You don’t need hours of time or a huge white costume to tend to these bees . ‘Solitary’ bees love little holes in wood, so are naturally attracted to these bee houses – just hang it up and wait for the bees to arrive. The best thing about having resident bees is that they make your vegetables more productive as they pollinate your plants. Or why not put a butterfly feeder in your garden? Butterflies are attracted to the UV paint on this feeder, and once you've added a sugar water solution your garden will be fluttering with these beautiful colourful insects.

5. Create a mini allotment

These seed boxes come complete with everything you need to grow a mini allotment so you can grow your own fruit and veg in the smallest of spaces. Each one comes with a range of easy to grow seeds, biodegradable rice pots, coir compost and information to help your garden flourish. They've thought of everything – from the poster telling you what to plant out when to the pencil to help you mark your progress. These seed boxes make a fun gift for both kids and adults.

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Gardening, Shop
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Grow a mini allotment on your doorstep with our new starter seed boxes

June 14, 2012
Author: admin

We love our new grow-your-own vegetable boxes! Here at Eden, we’re incredibly fussy about what we sell, and these starter seed kits tick all of our boxes as a fun, ethical, quirky product that has minimum impact on the earth.

So what are starter seed boxes?

Each funky looking box contains everything you need to grow your own vegetables from scratch. From the vegetable seeds themselves, to a range of biodegradable pots to germinate the seeds, these boxes have thought of everything.

The pots are even made out of rice husks, which can be put on the compost heap and will biodegrade in under a year, therefore not adding to landfill.

The sets contain coir compost, a concentrated compost derived from coconuts – which your plants will love, but the slugs won't. You'll even receive a handy growing guide to make the process fool-proof, and a pencil to mark your observations. These sets are a great way to introduce someone to the world of gardening because they guide you through every step of the way.

You don't need a garden to grow your own food. These boxes have been designed for small spaces, allowing you to have your own vegetable plot on a patio, windowsill or right next to the back door.




How do I use the starter seed boxes?

1. Plan out your veg patch. Consider how much space you have to play about with. It doesn’t have to be much; a few pots on a roof terrace, or even an office windowsill will do just fine.

2. Choose your favourite veg selection pack. We have a range of seasonal, complementary seed kits to suit everyone. From the herb seed boxes which look great on the kitchen window sill, to the summer veg starter pack that will brighten up your meals, pick the seed kit that tickles your taste buds.

3. Get sowing and growing! Using the instructions, carefully plant your vegetable seeds in the propagators included and measure their progress on the growing poster. Don’t forget to keep them well watered.

4. Harvest your crop. Enjoy your vegetables fresh from the ground and be smug in the knowledge that you’ve grown them yourself with 'zero food miles'.

So what are you waiting for? Start growing your own veg this month, and you'll be harvesting your very own crops in no time...

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Fun, Gardening, Gift guides, Horticulture, Shop
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Outdoor learning celebration at Cornish school

June 11, 2012
Author: Hannah

Our Schools Team was honoured to be invited to Lostwithiel Primary School’s Outdoor Celebration day the other week.

The story started last on a dark November evening when we met with the staff and devised a partnership to encourage outdoor learning in their wonderful grounds.

Over a course of six outdoor sessions, our Schools Team set out to develop the students’ literacy.  All sorts of activities were specially created to encourage them to use nature as inspiration for language.

For example, a blindfolded session invited the class to draw on other senses apart from sight, adding depth and texture to the familiar world of their own playground and inspiring them to use vocabulary in new ways. Another activity focussed on making puppets from found natural materials.

We also worked with the school’s mealtime assistants and staff to find ways to transform their grounds into a place where pupils can let their hair down during their free time and really play.

Children playing on tyres in the grounds of Lostwithiel Primary School

Transforming schools through outdoor learning

So it was a great pleasure to return to the school at the end of May and see how the character of the school grounds has completely changed; there are slides worn in the grass bank, dens hidden behind buses and evidence of all sorts of outdoor science experiments having taken place.

On an individual level staff have revealed all sorts of hidden talents and passion in taking classes outside to enjoy some creative, humorous – and downright clever – lessons.

Headteacher Carolyn Huxley says that their ‘attitudes to teaching outside have metamorphosed over the year. They are now committed to delivering the curriculum outside wherever possible, working outside with their class for maths, science, art, literacy and topic work and design technology. In fact, no area of the curriculum is out of bounds.'

Not only have the pupils and the staff enjoyed their learning experiences, but the school says it has made a noticeable difference to the depth and progression of learning – showing, once again, that this outdoor learning business really does work.

If you’d like to get your school involved in outdoor learning, check out what the Eden Project Schools Team can offer – from staff development packages in your own school through to a one-day training course at the Eden Project in September.

1 comment
Cornwall, Education, Festival of Play
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Fascinating food facts – and how to feed the world

June 8, 2012
Author: Hannah

Find out where your food comes from, which crops feed most of the world – plus what you can do to help make sure there’s enough food to go around.

It’s all part of our work with Oxfam, whose new Grow campaign is designed to change the way we produce, consume and share our food – to put enough on the table for everyone.

Ears of wheat growingFascinating food facts

  1. Potatoes, wheat, rice, maize, beans, and bananas and plantains are the key crops that feed the world. Out of the tens of thousands of edible plant species on the planet, just a chosen few have been bred, spread and cropped.
  2. Rice is the world’s number-one food crop, feeding around half the global population.
  3. One of the first cereals to have been domesticated, cultivated and stored on a large scale, wheat has helped shape civilisation as we know it – enabling city-based societies to grow.
  4. Today, in the 21st century, there is enough food to go round but nearly one billion people worldwide go to bed hungry. The world population is set to hit nine billion by 2050.
  5. Half of all maize and wheat in the world is used for animal feed. You can help reduce this figure by eating less meat during your week.
  6. Around 50% of food grown is wasted: between soil and shelf, between shelf and plate, on the plate, in the bin. There’s masses you can do: use leftovers, share grow-your-own gluts, make compost from peelings, pickle and freeze, buy misshapen veg (they taste just as good!).
  7. Hand holding a pod of beansOne in three African smallholder farmers are women. Providing women farmers with the same access to resources as men could increase crop yields by 20-30%.
  8. Only a dozen countries produce the ‘big three’ (wheat, rice and maize) on a large scale for export, meaning many people across the world are reliant on them and that their food prices are affected by spikes in financial markets. International food prices of some basic foods – such as rice, wheat and maize – are set to more than double by 2030. Investing in small-scale agriculture helps these small farms grow food.
  9. Trade can support livelihoods. Trade can be fair. Your wallet is your weapon. Make buying choices that make good things happen worldwide.

If you’re visiting Eden between now and 10 June 2012, come and find our Seeds of Change stall where – in return for your ideas on how we can ensure that everyone on the planet has enough to eat – you can take home a seed to plant. It may not turn into a magic beanstalk but you will help grow the number of people campaigning for change.

Find out more about the Oxfam Grow campaign.

What else can you do to help?
The Sahel region of West and Central Africa is currently facing a major food crisis that is threatening the lives and livelihoods of 18.4 million people. Oxfam is asking people to urge the UK Government to pay its fair share towards the aid effort – by signing this petition.

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Environment, Food

Be part of our testing team

June 5, 2012
Author: admin

The Eden Project Digital team is conducting some user-testing so we can make the website as easy as possible to use. We're looking for a small number of people to take part in a simple online, card-sorting exercise that should take less than 15 minutes to complete.


If you can spare 10 to 15 minutes and fancy taking part, let us know. In return, you'll receive free tickets to visit the Eden Project at a date to suit you.


Thanks to all those who've got in touch with us. We now have enough people for the first round of testing and we'll email each of you back shortly with more information and a link to the online tool.

Business, Design, Inspiration

Business leadership programme at the Eden Project

June 5, 2012
Author: Hannah

We’ve just released some new summer dates for places on our award winning Green Foundation business development programme at a special introductory rate.

The two-day leadership programme enables participants to get underneath Eden as a business and focus on how to engage employees, gain traction in sustainable leadership and inspire innovation and change with tools and techniques to take back to your own business.

Participants on the Green Foundation programme

We make the most of the Eden Project’s fantastic site as a ‘living classroom’ and draw on over 10 years’ experience of tackling sustainability issues as a social enterprise.

Activities include interactive workshops within our Rainforest Biome, learning sessions behind-the-scenes at Eden with expert members of staff, and inspirational speakers such as Eden co-founder Tim Smit.

So far we’ve worked with over 300 businesses, including Cornwall’s Fifteen restaurant and nationwide food wholesale group Country Range Group. They told us that they’ve not only saved money, but have come away with the inspiration and the tools to make changes to their business.

Anna Roberts, Head of Customer Experience for leading sustainable energy provider, Good Energy, said 'The service was exceptional and selfless – a really memorable experience. It was great for networking, a great environment for thinking out of the box and I was really inspired with the examples of how to engage employees and customers.'

If you need any more persuading, here are five reasons we think you should join us on Green Foundation:

1. Helps you capitalise on opportunities for services, products and resource management that could give your business a competitive edge.

2. Gives you the tools to develop an action plan for change in your own workplace, using your learning and inspiration as well as our special Toolkit.

3. Uses the Eden Project site as a living classroom for a motivational, hands-on learning experience with interactive workshops and trips behind the scenes.

4. Provides valuable networking opportunities with those who are dealing with the same day-to-day business and sustainability issues as you. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to reinvigorate existing teams.

5. Entitles your business to become part of Eden’s Green Foundation network, ideal for mentioning in PR, marketing and award entries – as well as counting towards an individual’s Continuing Professional Development.

Programme dates and prices

Our leadership events are suitable for business influencers at all levels – those tasked with supporting and delivering on sustainability objectives, defining strategy and direction and also work for groups and cross-functional teams looking for traction. We’re now taking bookings for the following dates:

  • Wednesday 13 – Thursday 14 June 2012
  • Wednesday 4 – Thursday 5 July 2012

The cost is £695 + VAT per person, which is a special introductory rate (usual price is £995 + VAT).

We are also running taster sessions at our business networking event on Friday 22 June 2012.

You can find out more and book your place on the Green Foundation website.

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Business, Green Foundation, Sustainability

Biggest ever Big Lunch for Diamond Jubilee today

June 3, 2012
Author: Hannah

A record number of people across the country sat down today with their neighbours for a Big Jubilee Lunch. Organisers estimate that more than six million people took part in the annual Big Lunch community get-together – this year to celebrate The Queen’s 60-year reign.

Revellers in red, white and blue at the Wadebridge Big Lunch

Big Lunches were hosted in every nook and cranny of the UK: from the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides to the Isle of Wight, from Hillsborough Castle in County Down to Great Yarmouth in Norfolk to Penzance here in Cornwall.

Across the globe people in 70 countries are breaking out the bunting too. From sunrise to sunset today international lunches are being held in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Islamabad, Delhi, Durban, Kathmandu, on the Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu – and even in the Arctic Circle!

Despite a bit of mizzle here in Cornwall, the county’s lunches included, amongst others, a street party in Wadebridge featuring knitted corgis, one in the centre of Truro offering a hog roast, and a sand sculpture competition at Polkerris Beach.

Wadebridge Big Lunch organiser Harriet Wild said: ‘I'm so pleased we have so many people here, it just shows that we love an occasion to get together to celebrate. We're all waterproof and a bit of drizzle doesn't make any difference really. The fact that everyone's here together celebrating is the most exciting thing for me.

Big Lunchers on the beach at Porthcothnan Bay

Big Jubilee Lunch Director, Eden Project’s Peter Stewart, said: ‘This year’s Big Lunch has really captured the nation’s imagination – not to say its love of a royal celebration. We have been bowled over by the response from people up and down the country who not only wanted to get together and have lunch with their neighbours, but wanted to celebrate this very special occasion in a time-honoured fashion.’

The Lottery-funded Big Jubilee Lunch is part of the programme of events taking place this weekend to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as announced by Buckingham Palace. Led by Eden, the aim of The Big Lunch is to encourage neighbourhoods to come together to share lunch and a few hours of community, friendship and fun. This year is the fourth in a row that Big Lunches have been held across the country, with around two million people taking part in 2011.

So here’s a date for your diary: next year’s Big Lunch will take place on Sunday 2 June 2013!

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Celebrations, Community

10 tips for gardeners in June from the Eden Project

June 3, 2012
Author: Tom

1. When watering, new plantings and containers should take priority but fruit, veg and the lawn may also need water. Water the plant and not the bare soil to keep weeds in check.

2. Sow biennial plants, such as foxgloves, sweet William, honesty, verbascum, Iceland poppy, Miss Willmott’s Ghost (Eryngium giganteum), wallflowers, for flowering next year.

3. Plant out courgettes, sweet corn, pumpkins, dwarf, climbing and runner beans.

4. Start harvesting in earnest. Peas and beans, early potatoes, spinach, strawberries, raspberries, currents and gooseberries should all be ready. If carrots, beetroot and lettuce seem overcrowded gently pull a few young plants up to allow others to swell. Otherwise, visit a pick-your-own with the kids.

5. Keep picking sweet peas and perpetual flowering roses to keep them flowering. Dead heading bedding plants has the same effect.

6. Bedding plants, containers and house plants should now have a weekly liquid feed.

7. Pinch out side shoots from cordon tomatoes.

8. Stay ahead of annual weeds with a regular hoe. Dig out perennials such as dandelions before they produce more seed.

9.  Look out for pests such as vine weevil, lily beetle, blackfly and aphids and remove them.

10. Damp down in the greenhouse to raise humidity and reduce pests. Cool it down by opening vents, and put up shades or painting shade paint.

Thanks to Catherine Cutler

Gardening, Horticulture, How to, Potting shed
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