In the latest addition to Eden’s 30-acre outdoor garden, the newly-cleared 800sqm area is being planted with many of the trees, shrubs and flowers which define the beauty and diversity of the country’s landscapes.
The new garden is inspired by the Veld, a wide range of habitats in South Africa from the mountains to the coast.
It is set just outside the Rainforest Biome – the world’s largest indoor rainforest – next to a newly-created entrance to the Biome, designed to enable effective social distancing as people enter the covered spaces from Eden’s great outdoors.
Plants include pink and white proteas, a signature plant in South Africa, summer-flowering watsonias, spiralling aloes, and striking red-hot pokers.
The planting is being led by Florence Mansbridge, specialist horticulturist with the outdoor team, who travelled to the Veld a year ago on a study visit funded the Royal Horticultural Society and Cornwall Garden Society.
Florence says: “It was amazing to see these plants in their natural habitats and get a feel for the richness of the landscapes. South Africa is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, with almost 20,000 different plant species.
“We are creating a vibrant exhibit that celebrates the beauty and diversity of its flora as a whole, with swathes of colour throughout the seasons and structure from trees, shrubs, succulents and Cape reeds.
“We are also drawing attention to the fact that there are many species that are under threat. Nearly a quarter of South African flora is considered either threatened with extinction or is of conservation concern. We aim to show people how they can help and inspire them with wonderful ethnobotanical and ecology stories about the plants and their visitors.”