These three biomes are smaller than their Tropical counterpart but no less fascinating. They are situated to the right of the restaurant and are again accessed via sliding doors. The interior is markedly cooler than then other side, as you would expect, and the initial sensation is that of the smells of the Mediterranean: geraniums, hibiscus, bouganvillea, and wild herbs.
There are 19 principal exhibits or areas inside here, numbered from W.01 to W.19: Introduction to the Warm Temperate Regions, The Mediterranaen Basin, South Africa, California, Introduction to Crops and Civilisation, Fruits of The Mediterranean, Cork, Peppers, Alliums, Citrus, Grape Vines, Aubergines, Tobacco, Lesser Known Grains, Cut Flowers, Sunflowers, Olives, Cotton, and Perfume.
The Mediterranean exhibits are especially realistic, featuring beautiful urns of flowers, entire hillsides cloaked in maquis, olives trees and presses, and an area dealing with all types of citrus fruit. The perfumed air is simply unbelievable, a heady mixture of myrtle, sage, juniper, broom, and rosemary. I really do feel as though I am back in Greece. These wild herbs, intermixed with dwarf fan palm, prickly oak, and bay, combine to form exactly the rough maquis covering that Greek, Spanish, and Italian mountainsides are renown for.
The Californian exhibit features naturally enough all types of cactus along with scrub oak, buck bush, and toyon, all in an authentic semi-arid setting and built around a ranch house. The South African exhibit has a huge variety of its indigenous plants, representative of the richest density of plant life to be found on Earth. Heathers, lilies, orchids, and irises form the centrepiece here, growing as majestically and fully fragranced as they would do in their natural habitat.
That is precisely what Eden is about: not to try and grow these plants in an alien climate and environment and hope for the best, but to recreate exactly the soil, drainage, temperature, rainfall, and humidity conditions that cause them to thrive in their native countries.
The Temperate biomes really only take an hour to explore, unless you are a keen flower person, but some of the smaller exhibits, such as cotton and perfume, are equally fascinating. The Pepper and Chillies areas are also worthy to stop awhile. Real chillies and capsicums of every variety are growing well here and are listed according to strength on the Scovill scale.
Having seen the interior of both sets of biomes, I now set off across the gardens outside to the new Information and Education centre, known simply as “The Core.”