Summer plant highlights

Our expert horticulturist, Shirley Walker, has these suggestions of what to spot at Eden this summer.

Outdoor Gardens

In the Outdoor Gardens in June, the striking Dragon Arum, Dracunculus vulgaris, will stop you in your tracks with its unique black and purple flowers and aroma of rotting flesh. 

In July the gardens offer a veritable feast of sensory experiences, and nothing evokes summer in English gardens quite like the sweet pea – deliciously scented, delicate and colourful, and the more you pick them, the more they flower. Wander through the magnificent rose arbour, or travel to our very own corner of Provence and breathe in the intoxicating perfume of lavender. Blue Agapanthus are in full bloom, with their explosions of tiny star-like flowers – you may be surprised to hear these beautiful plants are considered invasive weeds in Australia and in their native South Africa.

August sees drifts of wildflowers, alive with bees and butterflies, and carnivorous Sarracenias are in full pitcher by the bog garden, a favourite haunt of several species of dragonfly. Across site, the crop gardens are at their productive best, showcasing vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits and grains from around the world.

In September, our stunning collection of dahlias is not to be missed, and wheat and barley are ripe and ready for gathering in under a late, summer sun.

Mediterranean Biome

The exotic perfume of giant Burmese honeysuckle, dripping with nectar, awaits visitors to the Mediterranean Biome in July, along with the sweet floral scent of Spanish broom, while the exuberance and colour of Bougainvillea and sunflowers set the centre of the biome alight.  Look out for the jewel-like Cape gooseberries, used by Tony, our chef, to decorate his delicious deserts, and don’t miss the grapevines – they are set to give us a vintage harvest this year.

Feel the heat in September, provided by a spicy crop of red hot chilli peppers, in a myriad of colours, shapes and flavours - you won’t find many of these in your local supermarket! Our chefs will be harvesting them for their culinary delights, but beware – some chillies are just too hot to handle! 

Rainforest Biome

Flowers of the beautiful torch ginger light up the Rainforest Biome in July, and the purple-fruited ‘Red Dakka’, is just one of our stunning varieties of banana, looking great at this time of year. Step back in time and walk with dinosaurs through steamy jungles and amazing lost worlds filled with luxuriant ferns, giant horsetails, ginkgos and cycads - plants that were around when dinosaurs stalked the planet! Amazonia is home to the beautiful Albizia saman, now in full flower, and if you venture up to the canopy walkway, you can gaze down in wonder at the biome’s biggest ‘rain trees’.

In September, cocoa is fruiting up nicely – a must for chocolate lovers, and in Malaysia, the paddy rice is ready to harvest. Throughout the Biome the iconic flower of the tropics, Hibiscus, is at its exotic best. 

Outer estate

If you are feeling adventurous, take time to explore the Outer Estate, with its native trees and shrubs, and glorious wildflower meadows – in September, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of one of our team using a scythe - the environmentally-friendly way to maintain these precious places. 

Autumn highlights

  • It's harvest time across the site, with displays of fruit and vegetables. Find out about our Festival of Food.
  • Check our events calendar for seasonal demonstrations like apple pressing.

Winter highlights

  • Anemones provide a splash of welcome colour.
  • Hanging baskets drip with winter vegetables.
  • As dusk falls, the gardens transform into a sparkling winter wonderland, our trees laden with twinkling lights.