The bee’s knees

Bees are not easy to photograph – they move around so much.

So I was delighted to finally photograph one that stayed still long enough, at the Eden Project in Cornwall, England, a couple of years ago.

Giant bee sculpture at Eden Project

'I'm sure I saw a bee down there somewhere.'

The Eden Project is a fantastic, futuristic set of ‘biodomes’ with plants from all over the world. It used to be a disused clay china pit, of which there are many in Cornwall.

Biodomes at Eden Project

Biodomes at the Eden Project - the giant sculpture, RSA WEEE Man, created from old electrical appliances, is on the left

I was gobbsmacked by the size and ambition of the place – they aim to be educational about  how and where our food comes from and also are at the cutting edge of developing sustainable technologies around food. Both water and electricity are collected or made on the site. The food in the public restaurant is all grown on site – the aim is not to have to go ‘outside’ for anything. The small vehicles and train that moves visitors around are all powered by their own vegetable oil ‘biodiesel’.

Inside one of the biodomes

Two of the biodomes have different environments created inside them – tropical and mediterranean, with food plants from those parts of the world. Other biomes house activities for the public and the behind-the-scenes workings.

The grounds – which are enormous – grow rows and rows of temperate-region plants from all over the world, and there’s a special section for native Cornwall plants.

Native English meadow in full summer bloom

I felt an uncharacteristic optimism about the future in this place. Long may the Eden Project prosper!

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7 Responses to The bee’s knees

  1. Rebecca says:

    Reminds me of Biosphere 2 in Arizona.

  2. Cath Clark says:

    FanTAstic! An expensive dome devoted entirely to a wildflower meadow, not typically considered to be a high value use of space. Meadows are underappreciated, except in Bloom County, or perhaps by the folks at Bloomin’ Lovely.

  3. Joy Window says:

    It’s a marvellous place. At times I had tears welling up in my eyes. We don’t seem to have so much ecological innovation in Australia, more’s the pity. The meadow is outside the biodomes, in the grounds. The sides of the old clay quarry are covering in sets of wide vertical stripes, each devoted to one plant, so you get quite a decorative effect, especially in summer when the flowers are blooming. The typical English meadow is quite lovely. You can see that a bit in the photo of the bee. To the left of the bee’s wings, there’s a whole swathe of lavender.

    This post was featured on EcoPressed, ‘a portal highlighting the best environmental blogging across the WordPress community’. I’m smiling!

  4. Siobhan says:

    Hello congratulations on being featured on EcoPress. That’s where I came across your blog, it was the mention of bees that intrigued me because I’ve always wanted to keep some but I agree, the Eden project is inspirational.

  5. John Wackman says:

    I welcome every bit of optimism I can find–and your post has given me my daily dose. At the same time I am struck by how sci-fi it seems: biospheres constructed to preserve nature in an increasingly unnatural world. How many authors have envisioned just such a thing. The Eden Project–isn’t that the title of a novel? I look forward to reading more about it, and invite you to see the new post on my Some/Home blogsite–very relevant! http://wp.me/pWFk8-9u

    • Thank you, John. You might like to read “Eden” by Tim Smit, the driving force behind the project. The revised edition came out in March 2011 for the 10th anniversary of the project’s opening.

      They’ve had their share of ups and downs in the past 10 years (see http://www.edenproject.com/blog), but the aim is still to reconnect people with the environment. As Tim Smit says in the first edition, ‘… the truly special thing about Eden is not what you see, although that is awesome enough; it is the spirit that brought so many “ordinary” people together, to add up to so much more than the sum of their parts’.

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