Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Eden Inspiration

We love going to the Eden Project in Cornwall. Admittedly the show stopper of the place is the fabulous Rainforest Biome. It's were all my dreams of growing tamarind and climbing trees come from. Also there is a big ass waterfall. But if you can pull yourself away from a rainforest in coastal Cornwall there is a huge amount of inspiration that you can take away with you for your own edible landscape.

The Mediterranean Biome - otherwise known as the one less likely to make you pass out - has more attainable edibles. Especially if you are blessed with the Devon coastal climate like we are. There are the herbs, the rosemary, basils, thymes. Stuff we're all well acquainted with. But have you thought about olives? We've had a single olive charming us with it's old man nature and evergreen leaves out on the balcony for three years or so. We've never had fruit because there isn't another one for it to make babies with so we scooped up two more olive trees in the Eden project shop. They are living on the allotment now and we're hoping to encourage them to perform.

He likes to stare out to sea and complain about the youth of today

Speaking of performances I was enticed by all of the wonderful chillies displaying their best. I've not really explored growing chillies before. I've bought the occasional plant but in more of an impulse buy than any well thought out effort to provide myself with all the heat I'll need. These two changed my mind.

The charmingly named 'Stumpy'

The appallingly whimsically named 'Fairy Lights' 
Of course we picked up seeds in the shop. From Sea Spring Seeds if you are interested.

Our other main inspiration stop was the Global Allotment. Which is the allotment I'd like mine to look like in a parallel universe where I could get permission for a Banana Tree.

Can't exactly get this one past the committee
It was full of stunning edibles that aren't that unusual on our plates but raise eyebrows when they are in our plots.

I'll give you three guesses
I also love the plant markers.

Both of these can be grown from supermarket produce (if your supermarket sells lemon grass and tumeric that is) so I didn't buy any of them in the shop.

So did I mention Eden Project has a shop? Well it does and it's not your average souvenir shop. If it was my local garden centre I'd be there all the time. As it's not I'll just wish it was and drop a bunch of cash each time we go out there. Why? Well...

  • The book selection is amazing. They have not just a book but a good book for any aspect of sustainable living you can think of. 
  • They have a really cool deli section with lovely local produce. Get a big tub of the Cornish sea salt if you've never had it before. 
  • T-shirts. Eden project logo, well made and adorable. 
  • All of the ethical goods you can think of 
and then...
  • gardening supplies
From the amazing, huge and - frankly - orgasmic selection of seeds and plants we took home... a lot. We promised ourselves a miniature tea plantation as a wedding present and finally got around to buying our first tea plant. It's out on the allotment now, we'll tuck it under fleece in case of cold weather and this time next year I expect to be sipping home grown green tea. The other plant we took home, this time for a life of indoor/outdoor living is a kafir lime. I imagine it's leaves are going to get exploited around here soon too. 

Following on from other inspirations we picked up some Quinoa seeds, some French Beans (Triofono Violetto) recommended by Gayla Trail and some tulip bulbs as fallen in love with on our honeymoon. I've always though tat plants make the best reminder of an amazing trip. 


  1. I had a lone olive plant in the garden over the summer - it has fruited.

  2. We did get some tiny olives last year, but they didn't make it past a centimetre long. It might be that it doesn't cope well with the exposure (the balcony is on the corner of the building and can get very windy).