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Award-winning Chelsea Flower Show garden finds new home at Eden

The Fauna & Flora Garden, which won Silver at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, has a new home in the Eden Project’s Rainforest Biome.

Chelsea Flower Show

Fauna & Flora Chelsea Flower Show Garden

Chelsea Flower Show Garden

Cornish-based garden designer, Jilayne Rickards, celebrated the win for highlighting the collaborative conservation work of Fauna & Flora, an international nature conservation charity.

Many of the difficult-to-source plants that feature in the garden were obtained by the Eden team from the iconic Rainforest Biome and from growers as far afield as Ghana. These were grown in Eden’s new state-of-the-art plant nursery, Growing Point, before making their way to the prestigious show. 

The garden focuses on the Afromontane landscape of Central Africa and highlights the need for responsible tourism to help protect endangered mountain gorillas. Featuring a waterfall within the design, the garden’s return to Eden sees a second waterfall added to the Rainforest Biome.

Designer, Jilayne said: “The world’s only remaining mountain gorillas live in two separate areas of Afromontane forest. They face many threats, but collaborative conservation offers hope for the future; mountain gorilla numbers have increased from just a few hundred to over 1,000 since Fauna & Flora started work in the area. 

“Responsible tourism supports local livelihoods and national economy and, in turn, local communities and national governments are incentivised to support gorilla conservation. 

“To be able to tell this important conservation story at RHS Chelsea Flower Show was a huge honour, and we’re so grateful to continue this story at the Eden Project in Cornwall.”

Catherine Cutler, Eden’s Head of Living Landscapes, said: “It’s incredibly rewarding for the team here at Eden to welcome the Fauna & Flora Garden to the Rainforest Biome. We have worked closely with Jilayne and the team from start to finish, growing and nurturing many of the plants in the garden. These include the ferociously spikey Acanthus eminens, the pretty Parochetus, brightly flowering Brillantaisia subulugarica and tasty Plectranthus amboinicus.

“At Eden, our mission is to demonstrate the interconnectedness of all living things and the importance of finding balance to foster environmental harmony and social equity, so this garden really embodies our mission, and we’re proud to continue sharing its message.” 

In 1978, Fauna & Flora played a pivotal role in establishing the Mountain Gorilla Project, responding to a personal plea from Sir David Attenborough, its vice president. Today, the project, now known as the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), stands as a shining example of the positive impact community-focused and collaborative conservation efforts can have on both people and nature. 

Over the span of forty-five years, the population of mountain gorillas has risen significantly, exceeding 1,000 individuals, all thanks to the ongoing work and dedication. The success of this initiative is not just limited to the flourishing gorilla population, but extends to the improvement of the livelihoods of those living closest to the gorilla habitat. This improvement is due, in large part, to the growth of ecotourism that these creatures attract.

The Fauna & Flora Garden tells this story by recreating the journey of an ecotourist on a gorilla trek, immersed in lush vegetation, following a track that leads to a tourism kiosk, complete with a waterfall. 

From inception, sustainability was a priority in the creation of the garden. Designer Jilayne worked closely with award-winning contractor, Tecwyn Evans, of Living Landscapes, to ensure the garden met the highest sustainable practices: from researching suppliers and calculating the carbon footprint of materials to avoiding the use of cement and concrete and using recycled materials.

The Fauna & Flora Garden was sponsored by Project Giving Back and can be found in the West African area of Eden's Rainforest Biome.