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Sunday, 26 September 2010

Kernow pt1. Far east of Eden Project.

Well that was a nice trip, we stayed as the title suggested in a small holiday camp outside of Polperro on the north cornish coast.  We have always loved Cornwall, it just seems warmer than the rest of the UK, and the weather we had there was pretty nice overall.  Sharing with my mum, dad, aunt, her friend and her dog (a peke with a snoring habit), it was quite cramped but overall quite cosy.  

We took a couple of trips out while there, this include worthy ecobubble the Eden project, the lost world of  Heligan gardens oh also Liskeard which is pretty nice.

Eden Project.

Pretty nice if you can resist the urge to freak out and burn down some rainforest.  Set in an old clay quarry, it has two domes and an array of gardens ringing the quarry itself.  Some kudos goes to the WEEE man, a hideous mechagodzilla reinvisioned as some sort of scrap monster possibly as a comment on our wasteful society.  Which is rich seeing as it looks like some skinless giant ape, don't take your eyes of its manic grin it'll lash out and disembowel you soon as your backs turned.  Its traditional enemy of course is  large bee thing, impressive last time we visited, though it looks quite different now (I.E threadbare.)*

Cacti wise the outer gardens have some lovely Echeverias and Sedum including a chocolate coloured Ice Plant Sedum Spectibile.  They also have a maidenhair tree and a ferns along with more traditional garden plants looking  rather spectacular.

Mediterranean Biodome. 

If you like cacti and succulents you can't fail to be amazed here (non cacti people are catered for too, as there's a wealth of other non xerophytic stuff as well as I'll explain).  Covering those areas of the world with a mediterranean climate, this covers the southern states of the USA, South Africa, Argentina and Chile.

For the likes of me, the South Africa exhibit is the most interesting, with a vast mat of Oscularia and a large Lampranthus Goodieanus in flower, there were smaller bits and pieces to including a stand of Glottiphyllum about 2ft across in full bloom and another that had set seed.  If I had a water pistol we could have opened up their water sensitive fruits and seen the seeds inside, but that probably would have got us kicked out.
There's a full compliment of Aloes including Striata, Brevifolia and what looks like Plicatilis lurking throughout the display as well as a nice Gasteria Maculata in pots.

Cactus wise there is a lone Prickly pear and  a Ferocactus to bring up the rear in the California exhibit.

For those non cactaceous amongst you there are some nice displays of popular crops, Sorghum proving popular with the sparrows and a massive tobacco plant with some drying out just in case Eden is considering making their own Eden eco fairtrade fags.  Last time we visited they just had robins dotted around the dome now they are joined by sparrows and blackbirds too.

The Jungle Biodome.

Theres nothing remotely cactaceous here at all, no Epiphyllums lurking in the trees and certainly nothing whatsoever to do with the Cactaceae.  There is a Moringa and a Chorisia that are the sole representatives of succulence and both are about 20ft tall (thats almost a billion metres in metric).  There are lots to see including a few quail lurking in the undergrowth, and a huge variety of massive and not so massive tropical plants.  Buildings include a Malaysian hut in the forest looking not unlike a jail and a rusting tin shack that is part of the African exhibit.  

Food fans are quite well served here with Banana and its cooking equivalent Plantain both growing here.  Jackfruit and Papaya as well as Starfruit are all to be found here as well as Konyakku root (also known as Konjac) being displayed by a traditional roadside stand with various goodies on display.  

Finally there was a few hokey fairtrade bits and pieces that grated not considerably with the whole project, which were hardly few and far between.  It seems that every step you are assaulted with banners for some eco project in the rainforest or climate change.  Some are worthy others actually aren't so bad, but be warned that there are legion and nigh on unavoidable. 

*Sadly the cactus dome / storage area, that I saw in a Eden Project Documentary Circa 2005 hasn't materialised.  This would be a putative third dome covering desert areas and xerophytes in general but now seems to be taken over by the core centre instead. 

Anyway not that anyone is remotely listening anymore thats...

the Eden Project, Bodleva, Cornwall. 

£17.50** to get in,  Kids, Students, Pensioners and the Less Able are of course allowed in with a discount. 
**Gitfaiding your fee, gets you free entry and a clear conscience too.

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