Friday, December 18, 2009 - 11:45

With a grand total of more than one million bulbs planted across the Eden Project, the spring season promises to be the most dazzling yet as crocus flowers, daffodils and tulips light up the landscape.

Last October (2009), more than 300 Girl Guides from all over Cornwall visited to plant a maze of 200,000 crocus bulbs across the Eden arena to form a flowery labyrinth on the hillside.

In early spring visitors will be able to snake their way around the grassy paths and immerse themselves in crocuses. The bulbs will eventually naturalise and increase in number year on year.

Sustainability is the essence of Eden’s planting and the project’s Green Team have selected species that tolerate the mild and moist Cornish climate and work their magic over and again.

Rob Brett, Eden’s Horticultural Temperate Curator, said: “Spring is an exciting time for all involved gardening and none more so than at Eden.

“The new crocus maze will flower in February and March and I’m sure visitors will love a wander around it.

“Across the site we have planted a number of traditional daffodils, snowdrops and other bulbous delights which will enhance the spring look.

“Many of the bulbs are now naturalising under ground so we are able to reduce the number of new ones we plant year on year.”

Under cover in the Mediterranean Biome there will be the biggest display of tulips ever at Eden with more than 16,000 bulbs and 40 different varieties.

Connoisseurs can look out for old favourites such as the frilled Burgundy Lace and the lily-flowered Elegant Lady, as well as varieties that have not been grown at Eden before such as the multi-headed Happy Family and the ‘viridiflora’ tulip Golden Artist.

Visitors can learn the fascinating history of the bulb and the amazing events surrounding ‘Tulipomania’, when one bulb alone was worth more than the price of a house.

It may come as a surprise to know that some tulips have an intoxicating scent. Ballerina, a rich orange lily-flowered tulip, has a sweet fruity fragrance and the Princess Irene is seductively fragrant, with vivid orange petals flamed with purple – a rare and unusual combination of colours.

Particularly colourful, stunning varieties to look out for in the Mediterranean Biome are Maureen, Shirley, Queen of Night, Purissima and New Design.

Eden also has some little species tulips on display, viewed in the gardening world as tiny jewels. These brightly coloured flowers come from far-away places such as Uzbekistan, Iran and the Caucasus

Some of the species tulips you will be able to see at Eden are the beautiful Tulipa kaufmaniana or water-lily tulip with a subtle fragrance; the tiny Tulipa bifloriformis and Tulipa kolpakowskiana.

In the wider outdoor landscape the Cornish Crops exhibit will celebrate Cornwall as one of the world’s premier daffodil producers.

Many of the cultivars on show have been bred in Cornwall for their early flowering and disease resistance. On display will be Trelawney Gold, Tamara and our very own Eden Gold, a highly perfumed variety developed from the Mediterranean jonquil daffodil. The multi-headed Avalanche is one to look out for as it can develop up to 17 heads on one stem.

The Isles of Scilly is also represented by Martinette, with its clusters of small sweetly-scented flowers and the highly fragrant Soleil d’Or.

The spring season at Eden runs from February right through to May.