This part of Eden accounts for around 75% of the entire garden area and is loaded with many modern sculptures and displays throughout its walkways. From Exhibit 0.08 to 0.23, it details Plants for the Industries of the Future, Lavender, Plants and Pollinators, Cornish Crops, Beer and Brewing, Tea, The Education Centre, Eco-Engineering, Hemp, Hidden Crops from The Andes, Plants for Rope and Fibre, Steppe and Prairie, Plants for Fuel, Plants in Folklore, Biodiversity in Cornwall, and, finally, Minerals, Metals and Mines.
Nonfloral displays include the wonderful “Bombus the Bee,” a huge bumblebee constructed by Robert Bradford in vivid colours; the traditional hop-poles in the Beer and Brewing section, carved by Reece Ingram; the Hemp Fence; the Metal Giant by George Fairhurst; The “Industrial Plant” by David Kemp; the Story Pavilion; and, last but not least, the amazing WEEE Man, built entirely of household electrical items from fridges to mobile phones.
As Eden itself was engineered from an old clay pit, part of the interior has been left as it was found, with huge boulders of granite, dry stone walls, and rocky terrain, allowing the bird, insect, and reptile population that had colonised the pit after its fall into disuse to continue on as they had done, building nests, raising young, and thriving in what is now still a wild area, albeit under under close stewardship.
This part of the gardens can easily absorb you for 2 or 3 hours as you suddenly discover a pathway that you hadn’t noticed before. The sculptures and other pieces are so at one with the plants, it almost becomes an adventure playground for adults. The delight of finding a 5m-long bee around the corner or a simple xylophone constructed of Cornish slate adds to the enjoyment of this superb walk of fact-finding and discovery.
A particularly entrancing object is The Cloud Chamber. This is a slate built domed hut with a thick piece of glass embedded into a hole in its apex. This throws a reflection of the sky onto a flat stone surface inside the chamber. It is extraordinarily relaxing to sit there for 10 minutes watching the clouds scud by, although you wouldn’t have this time to yourself in high season.