Monday, March 29, 2010 - 11:51

Some of the treasures of the Eden Project’s “secret back garden” will be revealed in the new series of the popular ITV programme Countrywise.

Presenter Rachel de Thame was given an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the nursery which provides many of the plants for Eden’s Rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes, the two biggest conservatories in the world, as well as the vast outdoors.

In the programme, Rachel meets nursery manager Roger Wasley and skilled horticulturist Tim Grigg at the giant greenhouse tucked away from the public eye where thousands of Eden’s exotic plants are grown.

Tim shows her his amazing collection of Titan Arum, which he has nurtured from seed over several years. In its growing form the rare plant, a native of the Indonesian rainforest, looks like a cartoon tree.

Later it develops into the world’s biggest, smelliest flower before collapsing and dying and given off a foul-smelling odour, lending it the popular name of corpse flower.

As part of a tour of the site, Roger explains how some plants are kept in quarantine to make sure they have no pests or diseases before they go up to the Biomes.

At the main site in the former china clay quarry at Bodelva near St Austell, Cornwall, co-presenter Paul Heiney talks to Eden chief executive Tim Smit about the origins and aims of the project, which opened fully to the public nine years ago.

He also looks ahead to exciting projects being developed, including the second annual Big Lunch on July 18, when Eden will be encouraging as many of Britain’s 61 million population as possible to sit down and enjoy a meal as an act of community.

Paul also sees how Eden’s “sky monkey” gardeners ascend ropes to heights of 50 metres to trim the fast-growing balsa and kapok trees in the heights of the Rainforest Biome.

The programme, the second in the second series of Countrywise, is due to be broadcast at 8pm on April 5.