Tag Archives: hot climate

Eden Project winter visit, the Rainforest Biome

Our visit to the Eden Project took place on 5 January 2011. We arrived by coach in a shower of rain. The gardens and Biomes are built in a disused clay pit. This was our second visit, the first being in 2001 soon after the gardens opened to the public. A short downhill walk took us from the coach park to the entrance. Thankfully much of this was under a covered walkway. We emerged from the entrance building at the top of the old clay pit and had a magnificent view of the spectacular Biomes.

A footpath winds down through the gardens towards the Biomes. Being the depths of winter there was little to see in the way of flowers in the outside gardens. However, once inside the Biomes there was plenty to look at.

We started with the Rainforest Biome. Since it was raining very hard outside there was a very realistic damp atmosphere. I am not sure if it was condensation dripping from the roof or if there were tiny leaks here and there in the roof but there was certainly dripping water in places. There was not enough to spoil our enjoyment but enough to add to the atmosphere of the place.

The plants inside the Rainforest Biome are wonderful. The path winds up through tropical plantings representing rainforests of various parts of the world including Malaysia, West Africa and South America. The temperature inside the dome during our visit was around 30 degrees centigrade. I understand that it can get much hotter in the summer, particularly as you get nearer the top of the dome.

There are banana plants, rubber plants pineapple plants and all manner or tropical flowers in bloom. As you go round notices explain the crops that are produced with the pros and cons of the effect on the environment. It is good that food can be produced; it is bad that the rainforests of the world are being destroyed to produce the crops. It is a difficult equation to solve.

If you are in the area of the Eden Project I would thoroughly recommend a winter visit as an escape from the cold climate for a few hours.

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The Manrique cactus garden on Lanzarote

This is the most unusual public garden I have visited. It is built on the site of a former volcano which became a quarry. On the island of Lanzarote they use the black volcanic ash particles in agriculture and also in the gardens. It spread over the ground to retain moisture, as shown in these pictures. The ash has the property of condensing water from the air as it cools during the night. The water runs into the soil below and the ash stops it evaporating during the day. Can you believe that so much volcanic ash was excavated from one volcano that it became a hole in the ground?

A Lanzarote artist and visionary called César Manrique created this cactus garden in what had become a dumping ground for rubbish. It houses a magnificent collection of cactuses from all around the world. Many of the cacti have grown to an enormous size, some as tall as a house.

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Bougainvillea on Fuerteventura

While we were holidaying in Lanzarote in November when we took a ferry across to the island of Fuerteventura. Although is only a 30 minute boat ride from Lanzarote the scenery is quite different. We were on a coach trip that took us up into the mountains, where the villages had beautiful bougainvillea plants overflowing the walled gardens. In some places the bougainvillea was using trees for support and was growing amazingly high.

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Firethorn bushes in Halkidiki, Greece

We visited Halkidiki, Greece in September. It is a dry and arid area near the coast. There was an abundance of firethorn (Pyracantha) bushes. They were covered with berries at the time of our visit and looked magnificent. Grape vines were growing in many gardens, trailing over wooden frames to provide shade on the patios and lots of fruit.

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