Back at Eden!

First written and posted on 29th April, 2013. Please click here if you would like to read the original post on This and That.

It’s been ages since I wrote about Eden, mainly because I haven’t been there for a while so I haven’t had anything to write about! I had to have three weeks off work until I was recovered from my various infections (chest, stomach and eye) which was a shame but I had to rest. Tulips

I’ve been back for a week now, and am loving being part of Eden life again. I spent all last week in the Mediterranean biome, which was lovely – the perfect way to ease back in after being off sick for so long.

It’s amazing how much in the plant world can change in just under a month, at the end of March there wasn’t even any buds on the trees and now, with the sudden spell of mild weather we’ve had, everything has suddenly come into blossom. I can’t believe how many plants are in flower, both inside and out – Eden is looking so beautiful at the moment. Aeonium arbioreum 'Schwarzkopf'

I spent most mornings just watering, with sprinklers and by hand as well. Because of the recent warm weather the plants in the biomes get dried out quickly and need watering more frequently. Asides watering I was part of two team jobs, one was the rather ominous task of pruning all the trees in the citrus grove. Lemon tree

I say ominous because I hadn’t pruned citrus before and as they hadn’t been pruned properly for a couple of years they needed cutting back a lot – it wasn’t just a quick trim for decorative reasons, this required a bit more skill than that! On my first tree I became rather over enthusiastic and hacked a tad too much away(!) however I started at the back of that first orange tree (Citrus sinensis) so you couldn’t notice it too much. . . whoops. My supervisor had said don’t be secateur-shy though!! Pruning the citrus

By the time I worked round to my second and third tree I was getting the hang of it – it took us (a team of four) a day to prune the whole grove, and our efforts could really be noticed once we had every tree pruned to perfection. Citrus grove

Basically as they had grown so vigorously (lemons in particular – Citrus limon – can grow up to three foot a year if the conditions are right, and, in a warm, dry biome, the climate is perfect) our aim was to reduce the height of all the citrus by half, thin them out to stop over-crowding and remove any dead, damaged, diseased or crossing branches, all the while trying to maintain a goblet shape to the trees. More tulips!

It took time, much of it was about standing back and seeing what it looked like from a distance as well as up close but it was so satisfying and worth it in the end. Plus I ended up smelling like a citrus cocktail for days so it was definitely one of my favourite jobs!

The other job I was involved in was the planting of a new herb bed, which was great as I love working with herbs. There’s an café in the Med biome and previously there had been two circular herb beds in the middle of the decking, but it had been decided it would make more sense to have just one bed in the eating area. Cistus albidus

It was our team’s job to dig up and re-plant as many of the old herbs as possible in the new bed, working out which plants would look best next to each other depending on height, colour and texture of foliage. We used many common herbs, like rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), sage (Salva officinalis) marjoram (Origanum majorana), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), oregano (Origanum compactum) and chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium). All of which have brilliant culinary uses, hence it was apt for the new herb bed to be next to the café! New herb bed

Last week flew by, hopefully I will get a chance to work in the Med again before September. I started my new placement today, I’m on the Science team for three weeks which I’m very happy about – science is cool! By the weekend I’m sure I’ll have a week’s worth of fascinating facts to share with you all so until then, remember: he who plants a garden plants happiness. . . 🙂

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