- Nearly 2 million plants
- Over 5,000 varieties of plant
- Over 30 acres of gardens
With three climatic zones and nearly two million plants, Eden never fails to provide anything less than a jaw-dropping horticultural extravaganza throughout the year.
Explore Western Australia
Our horticulturist Catherine talks through some of the botanical wonders in the garden.Play video
The New Year brings with it the intoxicating scents of winter flowering shrubs – Sarcococca, Lonicera fragrantissima and Daphne bholua, along with fragrant Narcissus in abundance, including a new display of heritage Narcissus. Even on the cloudiest of days, the vivid colours of fiery dogwood stems shine through, illuminating the Eco-engineering and Myth and Folklore gardens. At this time of year, the canopy trees on the Plane Tree Steps reveal their intricate framework and architectural splendour.
In winter, the Rainforest provides a warm and welcoming refuge from the cold outside. The luxuriant foliage is punctuated with exotic flowers like Solandra maxima, the cup of gold vine; the red powderpuff plant, Calliandra haematocephala; and the beautiful purple Crinum beside the Amazon Pool. The cocoa trees, Theobroma cacao, are still laden with ripening pods, and coffee is displaying its bright red berries. Beautiful new Phalaenopsis adorn the Orchid House.
A mass planting of paper-white Narcissus fills the air with sweet perfume, and in South Africa, the magnificent Cape aloes, Aloe ferox, are displaying their scarlet and gold candelabra-shaped inflorescences. Pure white zantedeschias, ericas and proteas follow, and you may see the unique king protea, Protea cynaroides. Western Australia is in bloom with Grevillea ‘Superb’ and a carpet of kangaroo paw beneath the iconic grass trees. The grapevines are pruned this month, so now is the time to pick up a few tips from our horticulturists.
Highlights over the coming year…
What to look out for in spring
Fresh blues predominate in early spring, with gorgeous displays of Scilla, Anemone, Pulmonaria and Iris. The scent of blossom from Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’ fills the air in the Japanese Swale, while drifts of Erythronium and late-flowering Narcissus adorn the Plane Tree Steps.
The Plants for a changing climate beds are the very essence of spring, as the handsome Euphorbia characias displays its chartreuse-green blooms amongst spring bulbs. Giant alliums appear in beds and borders alongside Aquilegia, Camassia, Campanula and Digitalis.
The beautiful jade vine, Strongylodon macrobotrys, displays its turquoise flowers in early spring followed by purple Ipomoea and peace lilies, Hibiscus and Heliconia.
The Rainforest Canopy Walkway provides access to life in the forest canopy, with its splendid collection of orchids, and our quirky luffa vines are in fruit.
Rock roses (Cistus), adorn the Mediterranean landscape in early spring and tulips are beginning to flower in a blaze of vibrant colour.
In Western Australia, the iconic grass trees sit among Acacia, Banksia, Grevillea, Hardenbergia, Melaleuca and Callistemon, while the black and green kangaroo paw blooms beneath.
In the Perfume Garden, the beautiful Damask rose is in flower, with its heavenly perfume, and South Africa is showing off its princess protea, Protea grandiceps. In late spring, Persian buttercups, Ranunculus asiaticus bloom, just as the tulips begin to fade.
What to look out for in summer
There are some exciting additions to Bright Sparks this year, with new species of fiery Kniphofia, Watsonia and Dierama. Changes in the landscape see lavender and sunflowers in close proximity, providing a wonderful view from below.
The Plants for a changing climate beds come into their own during the summer months, with magnificent Puyas, Agaves, and a myriad of tender flowering plants to admire, and in the Veg Garden, Global Gardens and Cornish Crops, there are always tasty new varieties to be found.
The Aerial Walkway provides access to a host of orchids hiding in the treetops, and in Tropical Crops there are always novelties to be found, like the warty gourd, Momordica charantia.
Giant waterlilies from tropical South America, Victoria cruzian, are displaying their beautiful flowers, nestled among enormous leaves. See a video of them online.
King proteas, brugmansias, and the bird of paradise, Strelitzia reginae, can all be admired this summer, along with a host of wildflowers adorning California and Western Australia, creating rich tapestries of colour and texture.
New for this year is an exhibit showcasing many types of beans, including borlotti, haricot, faba, navy, broad and yard-long beans. There will also be an edible flower meadow, and a Mediterranean vegetable garden, containing a few curiosities, like agretti, chenopodium and rapunzel.
The beautiful Perfume Garden with its collection of aromatic plants provides a feast for all the senses.
What to look out for in autumn
Bright Sparks continues to look great, with late-flowering species and cultivars of Kniphofia and Crocosmia. Berkleya, Grevillea and Fasicularia provide interest in Plants for a Changing Climate, while salvias bring vibrant colour to the Sense of Memory Garden.
Liquidambar, zelkovas and acers are resplendent in rich autumn colour, and in the Veg Garden, Cornish Crops and Global Gardens, the last of the summer harvest is being gathered in, to make way for an array of brassicas and other winter veg.
The beautiful blue ginger, Dichorisandra thrysiflora, is flowering profusely in Amazonia, and in West Africa, our agroforestry exhibit tells the story of saving the soil, producing more food and making money for local communities.
In South Africa, Amaryllis belladonna is looking gorgeous, and banksias are beginning to flower in Western Australia, including Banksia menziesii. There are chillies galore, representing cuisines from different cultures, and juicy tomatoes for different uses.
In the Perfume Garden, night-scented jasmine, Cestrum nocturnum, is flowering, and the grapevines are ablaze with autumn colour. Warm shades can also be found in Western Australia where kangaroo paw, Anigozanthos, are in full flower. The vigorous climber, Podranea ricasoliana, is in bloom, and the first snowdrops and Narcissus have begun to appear in the Mediterranean landscape.
What to look out for in winter
Shimmering grasses, like the beautiful Deschampsia flexuosa, glow beneath the spooky white stems of Rubus cockburnianus, while fiery dogwood stems illuminate Eco-Engineering and Myth and Folklore.
The Street and Ice rink are decorated with a festive array of horticultural delights, and the scents of Hammamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ and Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postil’ linger in the air.
Drifts of sweetly-scented Narcissus ‘Treglisson’, bred here in Cornwall, decorate beds and borders, while delicate hellebores adorn path edges.
The Life in the Treetops area has been planted up with 52 different species of orchid, including the beautiful Brassia.
Amidst luxuriant foliage, tropical gems, Solandra maxima and Calliandra haematocephala bloom, along with the stunning purple Crinum. The cola tree, Cola acuminata, is displaying its beautiful, bell-shaped flowers, and the glorybower, Clerodendrum, is putting on a show. A new collection of bromeliads adorns the Rainforest Canopy Walkway.
‘Christmas trees’ of vibrant Cyclamen herald the arrival of the festive season, and a bed overflowing with paper-white Narcissus provides a cool contrast to over 50 different species of tender Salvia.
The scarlet and gold inflorescences of Aloe ferox, light up South Africa, along with a host of beautiful proteas, ericas and zantedeschias, enhanced by the ‘scent of Africa’ – the aromatic Agathosma. Bulb species are beginning to appear across the Biome.