theharmoniousgarden


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overwhelmed in eden

A visit to Cornwall has been on my to-do list for the longest time. I’ve heard so much about its isolated wilderness, I wanted to see it for myself. And with a rental car and my trusty companion/navigator at my side, I set off over the Easter weekend to get a taste of the wild country.

First stop was a half day visit to the Eden Project. Although aware of the project due to its high profile within the UK as an innovative eco tourist destination, I hadn’t paid it much thought prior to our visit. And I was completely overwhelmed by the enormity of the place. It’s HUGE!!! The biomes are gigantic, and appear even larger once you’re inside. With outside temperatures hovering around 1-2 degrees Celsius (that’s right, like the rest of Northern Europe, our winter is never-ending!) we headed straight to the tropical biome to bask in the tropical warmth.

I’ve found it difficult to capture any sense of the place in just a few photos (and most of those I have are close-ups as focusing in on detail was the only way I managed to cope with so much to take in!), but here are some of my favourites. Enjoy!!

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I can’t remember the names of any of these plants – except for the ginger (its the flower that looks a bit like a frilly protea).

If you ever get the chance, go and explore the Eden Project. Its awesome!!

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hanging gardens of barbican

A few weeks ago my partner arranged a ‘mystery’ weekend activity for us. Because I’m very good at guessing, I wasn’t given a single clue as to where we were going. To my delight, our destination was the Barbican Centre in the City of London. (For those who don’t know, the Centre is located within the Barbican Estate, a huge multipurpose complex of high-rise residential, civic, theatre and community buildings, built in London’s celebrated but divisive Brutalist architectural style.) We’ve been to the Barbican several times before at different times of the year, and personally I can’t get enough of the place. But the purpose of this adventure, and a complete surprise to me, was to visit the conservatory. Initially designed as an afterthought to ‘disguise’ the theatre’s fly tower, it’s a fantastic sub-tropical oasis (and arid desert!) in the sky.

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Shakespeare Tower

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Koi pool

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Giant bamboo

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Strelitzia reginae… otherwise known as ’emu flower’ in my native country

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Love this! like a psychedelic shamrock!

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Succulent close-up

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Cacti garden

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Bridge over the stream

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The fly tower

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Finches

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View out of the conservatory onto the rooftop terrace… about 6 levels up here

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Restaurants and bars to the left, apartments on pedestals on the right. The theatre is behind the restaurants, and the conservatory up the top and well out of sight

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Definitely coming back here in the summer for a vino (or two!)

As you can see from the photos, we almost had the garden to ourselves. A quick google search shows that the conservatory isn’t really a secret, but it was such a joy to discover a unique garden space in the heart of the city open for all to appreciate while at the same time not over-run and therefore spoilt. And you can even get married in the gardens if you wish!! I hope you enjoyed these photos of the Barbican Conservatory as much as I did.


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winter gardens at the people’s palace

With families abroad and friends out of town, my partner and I decided to take a roadtrip around Scotland over Christmas. Like the rest of the UK, it poured (almost) the entire time. It didn’t matter, because the country is so beautiful you don’t even notice the rain. As long as you’re wrapped in plastic and have your wellies on.

We started our vacation in Glasgow, and some friendly locals suggested we head to the People’s Palace, a museum of social history for the city. While I enjoyed the museum, what I (and the Glaswegians, I suspect) love most are the attached winter gardens.

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To be fair, it was unashamedly indulgent with all manner of tropical and subtropical plants jammed in together (they even had cunjevoi – an Australian native I haven’t seen since my childhood!). But hey, we’re talking about the people’s palace, so why should it be restrained?! And with its giant Christmas tree, mass plantings of poinsettia, and Magic FM piped through the overhead speakers, it was the perfect start to our Scottish Christmas adventure.