Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 14:00

Outdoors it may be sub-zero, but inside the giant Mediterranean greenhouse at the Eden Project in Cornwall spring has well and truly sprung with a riot of colour.

The Med Biome is possibly the only place in the UK where visitors can enjoy drifts of flowering tulips in the dry and warm in March.

While out-of-doors tulips – those much-loved symbols of spring – are generally surviving the chill as short green shoots of only a few inches high, inside the Biome they are coming into full floral abundance.

Horticulturist Catherine Cutler, who supervises the Biome, said:  “Visitors are coming in from the cold and finding the tulips are a great pick-me-up. This year we are growing 43 varieties representing every colour and form imaginable.  The colours are truly stunning.”

Despite the current very cold snap, in the outdoors at Eden there are other sure signs of spring, including crocuses, many varieties of daffodils and hellebores.

But inside it is the tulip beauty parade that is arresting the eye.  Some of the stars of the show are:

•    ‘Zurel’ – grown for the first time at Eden, and looking dramatic with its purple flames on white.
•    ‘Ballerina’ – a refined lily type with a heavenly orangey scent, interestingly not detected by everyone.
•    ‘Big Chief’- carries flowers that are nearly neon bright.
•    ‘Monsella’- under the protection of the Med Biome this flamboyant tulip, along with many others, is seen in absolute perfection, untouched by wet, windy or cold weather.

For more of Eden’s plant highlights, go to: