28 January, 2014

Mediterranean Biome at the Eden Project

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa


This was why I came to Europe. I waited 15 years to see all the world’s mediterranean climate regions, within one Biome at Eden. 

The mediterranean biome is characterized by evergreen or drought deciduous shrublands. The chaparral of southern California is echoed in the old world Mediterranean maquis, the Chilean matorral, South African fynbos and the Australian mallee scrub communities. Due to the limited extent and isolation (almost island-like), of each area of mediterranean biome, there is frequently a high degree of endemism in the flora and fauna. From Southern California Research Learning Center (whose map is on my sidebar)

The climate is mediterranean, when the summers are long and hot, and the winters are cold and wet. Found on the Western shores of continents, due to cold offshore ocean currents. Anyone who has tried to swim off Camps Bay knows all about the cold Benguela Current. Annuals and bulbs must aestivate (ice cubes swirling). Other plants must find other ways to survive, defying drought and infertile sandy soil. Grey (lavender) or waxy (succulent) leaves, often with fragrant oils (thyme, mint, buchu) or TEETH to deter someone in search of Lunch! Wildfire is always a waiting threat. Because the First World comes first, the climate is called Mediterranean. Since plant geographers allocate South Africa’s fynbos one of the world’s six plant kingdoms, perhaps we should say the Mediterranean Basin experiences a South African fynbos climate!

Driftwood sculpture by Heather Jansch

Heather Jansch driftwood sculpture of a pig.

14 January, 2014

Rainforest Biome at the Eden Project

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa


This geodesic biome is tall enough to take the Tower of London with the waterfalls cascading down over an impressive drop. You climb so high up in humid heat, despite the worst that a Cornish summer can throw at you, that there is a cool room half way up (in ‘West Africa’).

Eden Project waterfall July 2009

It was blissful to come in from the rain and defrost that July 2009 day in Cornwall, while drying our sodden clothes – but the outside was too interesting to miss. Weather or NOT!

02 January, 2014

Eden Project in Cornwall

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa


I first read about the Eden Project in the New Scientist when it was an off the wall idea. Ever since, I have dreamt of seeing it. In 2009 my birthday present to me was a day there. One item ticked off my bucket list.

At the Eden Project in July 2009


‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has’ - Margaret Mead