Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 13:28

The Eden Project is bursting into colour as it heads towards its 10th anniversary.

As the long cold winter starts to recede, gardeners at Eden are keenly anticipating a spectacular spring right across the whole project.

The Mediterranean Biome is leading the way, with some stunning displays of exotic flowers from temperate regions across the globe.

Right now, the South Africa section is a blaze of colour with a collection of giant Aloes putting up brilliant blooms in candelabra clusters, as if to mark the coming of Eden’s birthday.

Mediterranean Biome Supervisor Catherine Cutler stands alongside the tallest of them all. The magnificent Aloe ferox bears many of the same properties as the Aloe vera plant, as it is used to treat cuts, wounds, burns and indigestion.

Just around the corner are the saucer-shaped flower heads of the pink and yellow King Protea (Protea cynaroides), the national flower of South Africa, where it is commonly known as the King Sugar Bush. Nearby, are the elegant blooms of the Arum Lillies (Zantedeschia aethiopica), which grow to more than six feet tall in the Biome.

Elsewhere, the kaleidoscope of colours continues in the Rainforest Biome, the world’s biggest plant conservatory, with bright bromeliads, which belong to the same family as the pineapple, and the Heliconia, which produces bird-like crowns of yellow and red.

Outdoors, in the former china clay quarry at Bodelva near St. Austell, Cornwall, traditional emblems of the spring such as daffodils, including the Eden Gold variety, crocuses and snowdrops, are starting to give a taste of things to come. A highlight of the season, a breathtaking show of tulips in the Mediterranean Biome, is expected next month.

Catherine Cutler said: "This has been the longest, hardest, coldest winter any of us can remember and it is an incredible tonic to see all this colour and life coming back to the garden, both inside the Biome and across the whole site.”