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Luxury gifts for Christmas

October 31, 2012
Author: Mikki

Spoil someone special without spoiling the planet with this indulgent Christmas gift collection from the Eden Project. From beautiful handmade jewellery, to the finest Cornish food and artisan candles, Eden has something to make someone positively purr with delight this Christmas.

Eden drinking chocolate £6 each
Make someone’s Christmas by treating them to our full range of fairly traded drinking chocolates. Silky smooth and full of deep cocoa flavours, they’re an indulgent treat. Available in four flavours: dark chocolate, mint, chilli, and coffee.

Natural skincare £7.50
This range of organic skincare products is an absolute pleasure. Made with only the best natural ingredients, they’re designed to improve the skin, soothe the mind and rouse the senses.

Silk and linen scarf £26.50
These fair trade scarves are a hand woven blend of silk, linen and cotton. The end result is a soft, comfortable scarf with a slightly crinkled finish. The linen content means the scarf will feel cool in the summer and warm in the winter – it’s clever stuff, linen!

Luxury scented candles from £3.50
Awaken your senses with these five luxuriously scented candles. Made from sustainable rapeseed wax, they tread lightly on the planet too. Choose from bluebell, wild fig and grape, aloe and cucumber, raspberry and quince, and rosemary and thyme.

Sweetie-jar for grown-ups £12.50
Fantastical boiled sweets – strictly for grown-ups! Their unusual flavours make them a real talking point especially as an after dinner party treat. They include coffee, honey and vanilla, mango chutney, orange and geranium, salted caramel, and tequila.

Camel Valley ‘Cornwall’ Brut £29.50
This Cornish bubbly is a sparkling sensation that has won many world-class awards. Fresh, vibrant and beautifully balanced, this is a sparkling wine to celebrate.

Chocolate indulgence hamper £34.50
Handcrafted in Cornwall with love, our fairly traded chocolate bars are just one sweet element of this luxury hamper.
This gift is a chocolate lover’s dream come true.

Artisan dressings £8.50 each
Created by our chefs here at Eden and made using the finest ingredients, these three new dressings bring any dish to life. Drizzle the harissa dressing over couscous salads, savour the beetroot dressing with fresh mackerel, and try the mustard dressing as a marinade for barbecue food.

Pamper Hamper £44.50
Our pamper hamper is a perfect gift for a special friend – or for yourself, who also deserves a little ‘me time’. It’s packed full of pampering skin products that have been made using only pure and natural ingredients that are kind to skin.

Eden pottery from £3.75
We love our chic selection of Eden pottery which includes a café au lait bowl, milk jugs, egg cups and mixing bowls. Designed and handmade in Cornwall, the terracotta pottery range has a simple style that will fit comfortably with a farm house kitchen or a minimalist town flat.

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Top gifts for gardeners

October 30, 2012
Author: Mikki

We’ve done the hard work for you this Christmas and selected our favourite gifts for gardeners. Our webshop is packed full of gardener’s delights, from products to create a garden to be proud of, to the best presents to look after the gardener.

Gold leaf gardening gloves from £17.50
These gloves are created with soft, supple leather and are fully lined for comfort. As they’ve been specially treated, they’re completely durable and water-repellent giving you the best protection in the garden. Comes in a variety of sizes and styles.


Gardener’s hand scrub £7.50
Revive your green fingers with this handscrub. Jasmine, grapefruit, orange and organic virgin coconut oil quench thirsty dry hands, while a sprinkling of cane sugar gently exfoliates a hard day’s work away.


Allotment kit £12.25
Each component is made with sustainability in mind – from the unbleached paper twine to the organic coconut compost. It’s packed full of everything you need to grow your own.


Chalkboard labels & Eden Project seeds set £15
An easy to wrap gift box containing a reusable chalkboard and plant labels made out of recycled coffee cups as well as a selection of Eden Project seeds.



Recycled leather pouch
£18
Made with 70% recycled leather, this belt pouch is water repellent and hard-wearing. Comes with scissors, a pencil, mini dibber and plant labels.

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Pumpkin carving: how to carve like a pro

October 29, 2012
Author: Tom

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Ever wondered how to create a really intricate spooky design on your pumpkin for Halloween, rather than the usual simple, chunky face? Well, we’ve asked our expert, Emma Smart, to give us a step-by-step guide.

Our staff will be showing their amazing skills at pumpkin carving demonstrations during our half-term Halloween celebrations.

Pumpkin carving 10-step masterclass

Warning: Guess what? Pumpkin carving involves using a sharp knife, so kids should get grown-ups to help!

You’ll need:

  • medium to large pumpkin
  • sharp paring knife (ie a vegetable knife)
  • ice cream scoop
  • computer with internet access, and a printer
  • masking tape
  • pen.

1. Cut a circle in the bottom of the pumpkin.

Cutting hole in pumpkin

2. Scoop out the contents, leaving the wall of the pumpkin about 15–20mm thick. An ice cream scoop works really well.

Contents of pumpkin being scooped out

3. Find a stencil of the design you want. There are loads on the web – try Googling ‘pumpkin stencils’.

4. Print out the stencil and use masking tape to attach it to the pumpkin. Make sure the hole in the pumpkin is at the bottom.

5. Use a pen to make a dotted lines along all the lines on the stencil. When you do this make sure your pen pierces the paper each time, so that you’re left with dotted lines on the pumpkin’s skin.

Pen dotting round skull stencil on pumpkin

6. Take the stencil off and keep it to refer to when you’re carving.

Taping stencil to pumpkin

7. While referring to the stencil, score a line round the edge of your design with your sharp knife.

Scoring lines in pumpkin

8. Carve away the black bits of the design to a depth of about 5mm – don’t cut all the way through the wall of the pumpkin!

Top tip: it’s easier if you carve from the centre of the black areas towards your scored lines.

Carving design in pumpkin

9. Rub Vaseline all over the outside of the pumpkin, including the design – this will help it last longer.

10. If you’re going to use a candle in your pumpkin, you’ll need to make a hole in the top otherwise the candle won’t get enough oxygen to burn!

Glowing pumpkin with skull design

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Video: How to face paint a Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skull

October 27, 2012
Author: Tom

Our half-term Halloween celebrations (27 Oct – 2 Nov 2012) have a Mexican Day of the Dead theme this year. We asked expert face painter Nicola Shilson of Lucid Arts to create a sugar skull face, a symbol that is central to the traditional Mexican celebration.

Watch her create this spooky face in the video:

Day of the Dead tradition

On 1 and 2 November every year, Mexicans celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), when some believe the gates of heaven are opened and the spirits of the dead reunite with their families. Among the festivities, people make shrines to the dead, which are decorated with decorated sugar skulls, as well as other food, drink and wild marigold flowers.

Day of the Dead sugar skull face paint

Five top face painting tips

If you’re creating a spooky face for trick-or-treating this Halloween, follow Nicola’s pro tips:

  1. Use a sponge for the base layer.
  2. Wet the paint, not the sponge.
  3. Invest in good quality brushes.
  4. Create patterns by sponging face paint through stencils.
  5. When you’re finished, use tepid, not hot, water to wash the paint off. Hot water will open your pores, letting the paint in and making it harder to wash off.

Halloween half-term celebrations at Eden

Come to our Halloweden celebrations this half-term (27 October to 4 November 2012) to get involved in spooky crafts and hear dark stories.

Nicola will be offering various other Halloween-themed face paint designs at the Eden Project on 30 and 31 October, in preparation for the Little Monsters’ Ball discos.

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Create your own personal Eden gift bags

October 26, 2012
Author: admin

Why not mix and match a collection of gifts, then get them all wrapped up in an Eden gift bag? We can even add a personal message for you and send the gift bag directly to the lucky recipient.

It’s a nice way to choose exactly what you want from the Eden online shop, gathering together different gifts along a theme, or which say something together – and get it quickly to someone on the other side of the country.

We’ve got gift giving wrapped up here at Eden

Your recipient will love these bright Eden Project jute bags that can be used time and again. We’ll tie the bag up with a red ribbon, add colourful raffia and seal the deal with a funky gift tag so it’ll be a pleasure to receive.

Most of the gifts on our webshop are suitable for this service, and we’ve clearly marked this on each product page. After all, you can’t get a pizza oven in a jute bag!

Creating your own personal Eden gift bag is easy. You can send your gift directly to the lucky recipient in three easy steps:

  1. Choose the gift you’d like to send. Check out our buyers’ guides for some inspiration.
  2. Tick the check box next to the products you’d like to us to gift wrap.
  3. Choose whether you’d like the products to go in separate gift bags or everything in the same bag.
  4. Add a personal message.

And that’s it – easy peasy.

Whether you’re sending an extra special gift that you want to arrive immaculately, or if you just haven’t got the time to play with sticky tape and wrapping paper, let us put in the tender loving care for you instead. The gift wrapping service costs just £4 – and the reusable jute bag is a lovely gift in itself.

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Unusual gifts from Eden

October 26, 2012
Author: Mikki

If you’re looking for gifts that are a little unusual this Christmas, we’ve just the ticket. Our team has picked a selection of original presents that you won’t find on the high street – certain to put a smile on someone’s face this Christmas.

Bronze coffee leaf necklace £17.50
Each uniquely created bronze pendant is based on the shape of a coffee leaf picked in Rainforest Biome. The pendant comes in a gift bag with a coffee fact sheet, plus information about our Rainforest Project, which each necklace purchase supports.

Oak or hazel tree with truffles £24.50
These trees are inoculated with truffle spores, which means that they’ll naturally produce one of the world’s most luxurious ingredients. After four years of becoming established, these British trees will carry on truffling for up to 25 years, giving years of good food.

Insect conservation study £100
The perfect unusual gift for nature lovers, this insect conservation study is The Ritz of the bug world. Attracted to the centre by solar powered lights, bugs can roam around the five storeys, while you watch them in minute detail through the magnified glass. There are additional nesting tubes which attract solitary bees, and a lacewing chamber.

Grow your own gourmet mushroom kit £15.50
Filled with recycled coffee grounds from local cafes and recycled cardboard, this kit will allow you to sprout your own pearl oyster mushrooms.

Bunch of mugs £28.99
These revolutionary mugs are designed for you to carry a whole load in one hand – leaving your other free to open doors, clear the table and hold the biscuits!

Grow your own stripy tomatoes kit £39.50
These tomatoes stand out in a salad with their natural stripy bands. Grow your own in this wooden planting kit, complete with gardening gloves, plant labels, coir compost and a small dibber.

Pizza oven £750
Our British handmade pizza ovens are the ultimate foodie must-have. The compact clay ensures they stay hot for hours, resulting in delicious roasted meats, vegetables, breads, pizzas or fish. And once ‘at temperature’, the cooking is amazingly speedy, making it perfect for large parties.

Shiitake mushroom log £32.50
A fully colonised log that will sprout deliciously fresh shiitake mushrooms year after year. Comes with care instructions, hints and tips to harvest the best crop.

Chilli and chocolate private guided tour £125 for two people
Lovers of plants, food and flavours will be wowed by a personal tour of the Eden Project created to show and share everything we know about chillies and chocolate. Perfect as a gift, the lucky recipient will learn how to see, feel, smell, taste and even hear the difference between types of chocolate and the wonderful array of chillies growing in our Biomes.

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Caramelised crab apple recipe

October 25, 2012
Author: Hannah


Eden’s foraging expert Emma Gunn shares an easy foraged crab apple recipe. With their stalks on, these caramelised fruits look just like mini toffee apples and make a very special pudding. If you enjoy it, join Emma in one of our one-day foraging courses.

Caramelised crab apples with cinnamon recipe

Ingredients

  • Cluster of crab apples on a tree20 crab apples (with stalks on)
  • 3-4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • A splash of water

Crab apples fruit from October to early November. You might come across crab apple trees along hedgerows and lanes or even in forests.

You’ll recognise them by their apple leaves and their clusters of small yellow or reddish hard fruits. Use a good field guide to check you’ve got the right fruit.

Method

  1. Give the crab apples a good scrub to remove any dirt and the remains of dried blossom, but take care not to break the stalks.
  2. In a non-stick frying pan, pour in the sugar and add a splash of water. Heat on a gentle heat until the sugar has completely melted.
  3. Add the cinnamon and crab apples, stirring to coat and preventing the sugar from burning. After five minutes, remove from the heat.
  4. Serve with vanilla ice cream and cinnamon. If you’re making this for a celebration pudding, such as Christmas or a dinner party, sprinkle on some edible glitter.

Short courses on foraging at Eden Project

Emma Gunn, a member of Eden’s Green Team, is running a series of one-day foraging courses throughout the winter, until March 2013. The foraging courses will introduce you to what’s available in our hedgerows and wild places, as well as to some easy recipes.

The day is centred around a guided walk of Eden’s wilder perimeter (where you’ll get to have a nibble), followed by a food sampling session back in the classroom.

Emma says: ‘Foraging is all about getting to know your environment and what’s around you. It gets you outside for walks and, by eating the seasons, you’re eating healthily; starches from roots in the winter to keep you going through the colder months, and fresh leaves in the spring.

‘It’s also fascinating to learn about all the amazing plants most people don’t know we have in this country. We’ve got the equivalent of lemon in the form of the staghorn sumac. Soak it in water and it creates a zesty flavour; they call it the “lemonade bush”.

‘There’s herb Bennet too, whose root tastes just like cloves – and in fact contains the same chemical that gives cloves their flavour; eugenol.’

A bit about Emma, our foraging expert

Emma’s first foray into foraging was tapping maple syrup from sycamore trees as a toddler in Canada. As a teenager she remembers taking herself off for a day on a Cornish beach with a jam sandwich, a pen knife and Roger Phillips’ Wild Food book. She came back with bundles of sea rocket and a hand carved fork and spoon.

Try Emma’s recipes for tempura battered ox eye daisies, for preparing Alexanders for Moules marinières or foraged winter salad with deep fried Camembert.

Emma’s golden rules of foraging

  1. Choose easily recognisable plants
    If you’re new to foraging, don’t choose plants that are easily confused with others. Some plants can be poisonous, especially mushrooms, so don’t risk it. As foraging guru Richard Mabey wrote in his brilliant Food for free book, ‘Indigestion brought on by uncertainty about whether you have done yourself in can be just as uncomfortable as real food poisoning!’
  2. Invest in a good field guide
    Take along a guide that includes illustrations or photos, as well as Latin names. These botanical names can give great clues about the plant, such as its habitat. For example, the suffix montana means it grows in the mountains, maritimus denotes that it is found on the coast, halimus in the dunes, while officinalis shows that it is a medicinal plant.
  3. Keep hygiene in mind
    Avoid picking plants which may be dirty or polluted. For example, pick from areas away from the road. Also, don’t gather from low down along a path, where dogs or livestock may have brushed past. Don’t forage straight after a heavy rainfall, when plants in the ground – and shellfish - may be contaminated with run-off from the fields, which can contain chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Always give your leaves, flowers, fruit, nuts and roots a good wash before use.
  4. Don’t be greedy
    Remember, you’re sharing nature’s harvest with wildlife too, so don’t take all of it. Also, be careful not to damage plants. If you only need the leaves, don’t pull them up by the roots; use a pair of secateurs. That way there’ll be lots more to harvest next year too.
  5. Remember where you found it 
    Make a note of the lane, field or beach where you found the plant, so that you can come back to that hotspot next year as well.

Book a place on the course and find out about other short gardening and nature courses at Eden.

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10 magic plants (good and evil!)

October 24, 2012
Author: Tom

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With our Halloween celebrations just round the corner there’s mysticism in the air, so we’ve written a brief guide to some of the many plants that were believed to have magical powers.

It’s hardly surprising that so much folklore has grown up around plants: they’re so important to us humans as food, medicine, clothing and building materials, among many other things. Our everyday relationship with plants along with our inclination to make up stories to explain the world around us has produced some fascinating ideas and beliefs.

Magic plants

Warning: some of the plants mentioned below are very poisonous and should not be touched, smelt, eaten – in fact, don’t go near them at all!

1. Mandrake, Mandragora autumnalis

When people saw the form of a tiny human in the tangled roots of the poisonous mandrake, they took it to be a sign of magical qualities. It was even thought that mandrakes screamed when pulled from the ground. In the 12th century, the German scholar Saint Hildegard of Bingen wrote:

‘When mandrake is dug from the earth, it should be placed in a spring immediately, for a day and a night, so that every evil and contrary humor is expelled from it, and it has no more power for magic or phantasms.’

Mandrake illustration

Mandrakes shown in Folio 90 from the Naples Dioscurides, a 7th century manuscript of Dioscurides De Materia Medica (Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale, Cod. Gr. 1).

2. Yew, Taxus baccata

The Norse and Celt peoples thought yew protected against bewitchment and death. Yew trees, which can live to over 3,000 years old, are often found in churchyards as Christians also believed their poison protected the dead. Recently modern science has found that taxol, a chemical found in yew, has anti-cancer effects. Find out more on our yew plant profile page.

Yew buds

Yew buds growing at the Eden Project

3. Witch hazel, Hamamelis x intermedia

Sticks from this tree were used to make divining (or dowsing) rods, which were thought to help find water and buried treasure underground (the men labelled ‘A’ in the picture below is dowsing). Witch hazel was used to protect against fairies, sorcery and evil. It was also said that if you carried a twig it helped to mend a broken heart. The oil is still used today to reduce the swelling of bruises and in eye-wash.

Engraving showing the process of dowsing

Woodcut from Georgius Agricolas “De re metallica libri XII”

4. Crab apple Malus sp.

Unicorns were said to sleep under crab apple trees. In Cornwall, girls would sleep with the fruit under their pillow to ensure a good husband. The crab apple was used to make cider and is the parent tree of many orchard varieties. If you’re a fan of the fruits, why not try our caramelised crab apple recipe?

Crab apples, photo by by William Wesen

5. Ash, Fraxinus excelsior

For the Vikings, their ‘world tree’ was an ash: Yggdrasil united heaven, hell and earth. Among pagans the ash has long been regarded as a healing tree and used in ceremonies and treatments.

Drawing of Yggdrasil, the Norse mythology 'world tree'

Yggdrasil, the Norse ‘world tree’, from Northern Antiquities, an English translation of the Prose Edda from 1847. Painted by Oluf Olufsen Bagge.

6. Rowan, Sorbus aucuparia

Twigs of this tree tied with red thread were carried by the Cornish to deflect evil – ‘Roan-tree and red thread, haud the witches a’ in dread’. On May Day, when the fairies and witches are off celebrating, pieces of rowan were nailed over house doors for protection.

Botanical illustration of rowan tree

Botanical illustration of rowan tree. Original book source: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany. Permission granted to use under GFDL by Kurt Stueber.

7. Angel’s trumpet, Datura sp.

This plant was used as a poison and a hallucinogen (many people have died or become seriously ill from taking it). Centuries ago it was used by witches in their ‘flying ointment’ to produce the illusion of flying through the air.

Datura fruit

Datura fruit. Photo by Goku122.

8. Henbane, Hyoscyamus niger

Witches also added henbane, another highly toxic and hallucinogenic plant, to their flying ointments. It was used in love potions too, as a way of forcing people into love, and burned outside in the belief it would cause rain.

Henbane flower

Flower of the henbane at Botanical Garden KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany. Photo by H Zell.

9. Black pine, Pinus nigra

Pine cones were used on the end of wands as a symbol of fertility, while the resin and needles were burnt during winter months to purify houses. Pine wood is traditionally used in coffins as it is said to preserve the body from corruption.

Cone of the black pine

Cone of the black pine. Photo by Лобачев Владимир

10. Wych elm, Ulmus glabra

The name of this tree actually refers to its wood being bendy, and not to witches, who were thought to hate it. Elms were associated with death, perhaps because they had a reputation for dropping large branches without warning. Dutch Elm Disease has sadly made the wych elm a rarity in the UK.

Wych elm bark

Bark of the wych elm. Photo by T.Voekler.

Halloween half-term celebrations at Eden

Come to our Halloweden celebrations this half-term to get involved in spooky crafts and hear dark stories.

While you’re here, why not explore some of the plants above in our Myth and Folklore exhibit in our Outdoor Biome?

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Free Neighbourhood Plan conference for communities, Bristol

October 23, 2012
Author: Hannah

Are you a member of a community Neighbourhood Planning group looking for guidance and inspiration on creating your Neighbourhood Plan?

Together with community network organisation Locality, we’re hosting a free residential ‘Planning Camp’ in Bristol, that’s designed to give communities and Neighbourhood Planning Front Runners the tools and ideas to shape where they live.

The event, including all workshops, meals and accommodation, is free, thanks to funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government. It takes place in Bristol from Sunday 3 February until Tuesday 5 February 2013.

Delegates networking inside a building at the Eden Project

The Planning Camp offers a combination of:

  • plenary sessions featuring people who have been there and done it
  • immersive design walks
  • hands-on workshops
  • networking with other neighbourhood planning groups

Over 200 people have already attended our Planning Camps across England this year. Participants have told us their event was ‘a great ideas’ catalyst’, and that it was ‘very enjoyable, good company, great venue, enthusiastic presenters, well organised’. See the type of things they learnt and got up to.

Illustration of planning drawn as visual minute at a previous Planning Camp

Practical details and registration
The event is best suited to community groups and individuals involved in Neighbourhood Planning – primarily in one of the government’s Front Runner communities, but please do contact us even if your community doesn’t fall within one of these areas.

Places are limited, so please register your interest to attend by filling in this simple online form, where you can also get more practical details about the conference. Download our flyer (PDF), with all the information on, and pass it on.

If you need more persuading, check out this nifty little ‘visual minutes’ video of what the Planning Camp is all about.

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Gift ideas for foodies

October 23, 2012
Author: Mikki

Inspired by the plants we grow at Eden, our new collection of foodie gift bags are certain to be a hit with food lovers. Each one has been created so that cooks can grow their own plants indoors while enjoying the taste of some of our favourite food and drink. They’re a great Christmas gift idea for all those foodies out there.

Tea gift bag £16.50
Grow your own tea at home with this tea lover’s gift bag. The set comes beautifully packed inside a jute bag with a Cornish tea plant, a bone china mug and a box of Cornish afternoon tea.

Marmalade gift bag £16.50
Our Eden Project organic marmalade is made locally and will inspire you to take care of the citrus lemon meyer plant we’ve included in the set. The citrus meyer plant produces unusual round lemons from purple fragrant flowers and looks lovely on a kitchen windowsill.

Grow your own coffee gift bag £15.50
Eden’s own rainforest alliance coffee, a bone china mug and a coffee plant to grow your own coffee, all wrapped up in a brand new Eden jute bag. The perfect gift for coffee connoisseurs.

Olive tree gift bag £19.50
Start your own olive grove with a Cornish-grown olive tree. While you’re waiting, enjoy the kilner jar packed full of delicious garlic, chilli and lemon marinated olives. All delivered in an Eden jute bag.

Grow your own chillies £39.50
This red hot kit includes everything you need to grow bright and fiery chillies. In an Eden Project wooden crate, you’ll get a pair of sturdy gardening gloves, giant plant labels, organic jute twine, coconut compost, a dibber and hot, hot chilli seeds.

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