A day in the life of an Eden gardener
Ever wondered what it’s like to work in a rainforest? At Eden, some of our horticulturists do just that. We asked Lucy Wenger to tell us about her job.
What’s the best bit about working in the Rainforest Biome?
That I get to work with people from different backgrounds who have been to different places all over the world. Because we can draw on everyone’s experiences we get an unbeatable knowledge of growing tropical plants in the most authentic ways. One gardener will know firsthand how coffee is grown in the Philippines, while someone else will know how it’s grown in Costa Rica.
It’s not all about forks and spades in the rainforest, is it; do you use machetes?
Yes! And chainsaws. We also go high up in the canopy on a cherry picker to prune and water our harder-to-reach plants. Sometimes, when we can’t manoeuvre the cherry picker into the right spot, I get to hang down from ropes attached 100 feet up in the air!
Do you have a favourite plant in the Biome?
I really like our jade vine, in the Malaysian section, because it’s an amazingly vibrant colour and because it’s pollinated by bats. Other than that, my favourite plant is rice. Sounds really boring, but visitors are amazed by it because they’ve never actually had the chance to see or touch it before.
What’s it like working in that kind of heat every day?
We have to take things more slowly and make sure we’ve always got water on us. But the great thing is, if it gets too hot, we can just step outside into the Cornish air and buy an ice cream. You couldn’t do that if you were in a real rainforest!
Have you visited a real rainforest?
I have visited and worked in rainforests around the world. But you still can’t beat having our Rainforest Biome here. You walk inside and its sheer size and diversity – with all these tangly climbers – makes you feel like you’re in a real rainforest.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve had to do in your role?
For April Fool’s Day, Eden organised a stunt where we ‘discovered’ a new species of dinosaur in the Biome. It was my job to scrabble around on the ground and dig up dinosaur footprints. I had one of those moments where I thought, ‘I didn’t think I’d ever be doing this as part of a job!'