The mild winter brings an explosion of colors to Eden

A balmy winter brought unexpected pockets of colorful South African flowers to Project Eden’s outdoor gardens.

The 800 square meter South African Veldt Garden was landscaped in the spring of last year with many of this country’s botanical wonders.

Horticulturalists in Eden say they are amazed at the abundance of flowers currently on display and say the lack of very cold temperatures and harsh frosts so far this winter has caused the spectacular blooming.

The new garden, which sits on a slope outside of the Rainforest Biome, draws inspiration from the Veld, a wide range of habitats in South Africa, from mountains to coast.

Among the stars of the show near the Biome is a bed of honey euryops, shrubs that grow in coastal areas of South Africa and in the mountains to heights of up to about 1,200 meters.

The shrubs are covered with masses of small, bright yellow, honey-scented daisy flower heads and are ideal for British gardens, blooming from late winter through spring.

Another floral surprise is Protea aurea, also known as the long-bud maple bush. The cream, solitary flower heads are reminiscent of ruffles. The seeds of this plant need fire to germinate, and the dried flowers are able to envelop its seed for long periods of time until there is a fire, a natural occurrence in its natural habitat.

The Flowers of Eden are currently around 50 centimeters tall, but could eventually grow to a height of five meters.

Among the flowers, an amazing architectural plant is Aloe polyphylla, which grows in a perfect spiral in the high Maluti mountains of Lesotho. Visitors to Eden are surprised to find that this aloe is hardy to minus 15 ° C as long as it is well drained.

A close neighbor of the Aloe of Eden is a charming pink Hesperantha coccinea with delicate flowers, also known as the water lily.

Another special plant in bloom now is a member of the protein family, the wine-colored Leucadendron ‘Safari Sunset’, one of the most frost-resistant leucadendrons. Its beautiful color comes from its leaves and bracts which surround its small flower, which will develop into a cone on female plants.

The South African garden was designed and maintained by Florence Mansbridge, a specialist horticulturist with Eden’s outdoor team, who draws on her experience from a study visit to the Veldt funded by the Royal Horticultural Society and the Cornwall Garden Society.

Florence said: “We were unexpectedly delighted with the number of South African plants blooming outside in what is a very young garden.

“Very cold weather would have choked their buds, but since it has been relatively warm, we see a spectacular spectacle as we head into the middle of winter.”

The area is part of what Eden calls the Wild Edge, where people entering through the Visitor Center turn left and walk through the grounds of the Outer Garden, including the Korea exhibit, Wild Cornwall Wild, the Outer Mediterranean Area , the North American prairie and then South Africa.


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