With memories of family holding their tent together in a gale and storm all night we had to be sanguine about a holiday in Cornwall. There was bound to be bad weather. The Eden Project was not only a major reason for being there it would as well provide shelter when needed.
It wasn’t needed. The only time we experienced rain was after our visit, on the day before we were due to leave.
If there was a problem at the Eden Project it was too much heat. Perhaps we should have started at the Rainforest Biome. While we were there the temperature rose so much they had to close the ascent to the highest viewpoint. Nonetheless we had seen all the rainforest had to offer, and learned as much as we could take in. Lunch called.
The break gave us time to think about the earlier part of the morning. From the zigzag walk down through time, as represented by surviving relatives of the first plants, to the end of time if as a race we fail to protect the planet. This was among the most creative as well as challenging exhibits, in the Core.
The Core itself is a massive 75-tonne sculpture, “Seed”. The sculptor had worked in situ and the exhibition had been built around it. There were other sculptures, using recycled materials that would otherwise have only added to the stockpile for landfill. Allied to them were ideas for conservation. Children had play areas and had contributed their own work on school visits and family events.
To offer diversity there are several places to eat. Unfortunately the Core Cafe was closed and, though we didn’t use it, the Mediterranean food terrace appeared to be the best alternative. No problem with the Link cafe, however, which offered a good choice of food and drink at reasonable prices. We could see the outdoor gardens from our table, beautifully arranged in ascending curves to show seasonal flower and vegetable planting.
It was too early in the year for the Mediterranean Biome to have much to show. Even a fine day in Cornwall could only begin to compensate for the cold weeks earlier in the year. We could see the idea though, and enjoyed the sculptures that enlivened the mythological planting area.
For those who don’t know, the Eden Project isn’t only about plant ecology. In some areas it becomes almost a zoo. There are also typical buildings of the various world regions. These demonstrate how people – who perhaps have little choice – manage to live in harmony with their environment. I was reminded of the Australian First Nation basket makers and artists from an exhibition at the British Museum. Not only natural products but also found materials, the discarded plastics of Europeans, used to emulate tools in stone.
The ticket can be either for a day or for a year: there seemed little or no difference in price, although the year ticket is tax-efficient for the Project. With enough time – or enough wet weather – repeated visits would repay dividends.
As it was we needed a change, and found it in a drive back via Fowey. If there is an opportunity to return we will certainly take it, and we still haven’t been to Heligan or any of the other Cornish gardens.