In 15 years since opening, the Eden Project in Cornwall in the UK has attracted more than 18 million visitors. On the 9th May 2017 a Western Australian Garden was introduced to this beautiful, futuristic and climate smart garden project. Visitors now have the chance to experience the iconic flora and fauna of Western Australia as they walk through flourishing kangaroo paws, grass trees and pink everlastings as well as an installation by a leading Aboriginal artist.
The Western Australia Garden, created in collaboration with Kings Park and the Botanic Garden in Perth, marks the biggest-ever transformation of the Eden Project’s Mediterranean Biome. Western Australia is renowned for its fantastical flora and is home to more than 12,000 species of wildflowers with 60 per cent of Western Australian wildflowers found exclusively in the state.
The garden displays two significant ecosystems of Western Australian flora featuring a Jarrah Forest, plants from the Kwongan region and a central flower bed. A commissioned design from leading Aboriginal artist, Dr Richard Walley, references the heritage and cultural of the Nyoongar people, an Aboriginal community from the South West region.
While Western Australia covers one third of the Australian continent, over half of the nation’s biodiversity hotspots and a significant percentage of its unique flora and fauna thrive in WA.
The seed for a Western Australian Garden was planted in 2014 when Mark Webb, CEO of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (BGPA) which manages one of the world’s largest inner city parks (Kings Park) in Perth, was in the UK visiting the Eden Project.
The Eden Project team raised the idea of including a display of Western Australian flora from the southwest region of Australia in the Mediterranean Biome. They questioned whether BGPA would be able to provide advice and assistance on what plants would be likely to grow well under their conditions.
Mark Webb agreed that BGPA could indeed help and many emails were to be exchanged regarding the soil nutrient status and irrigation systems, plant selection, how best to grow them and where to source them from. Fast-forward almost four years and the Western Australia Garden now stands in full bloom at the Eden Project.
We spoke to Grady Brand who is the Senior Curator of Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth who was sent to Cornwall in the UK to provide assistance on the significant project. To read the interview click here.