ISSUE 12, January 2005

Kitchener of Khartoum: Mason extraordinary
Travel: Where east meets west
Veteran Honoured: Old soldier remembered
Royal Masonic Family: The Six Masonic Sons of George III, Part 1
Supreme Grand Chapter: Speech of the Pro First Grand Principal and, Report of the Committee of General Purposes
  Quarterly Communication: Address of the Pro Grand Master and, Report of the Board of General Purposes
Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London: London's first consecration
Soccer: Man in the Middle
Wales: Joseph Parry - flawed genius?
Library & Museum: Donations gather pace
Education: Dates for your diary and, Planning a 'white table' and, Looking to the future and, Time marches on
Grand Charity: General meeting and non-Masonic grant list
Masonic Charities: Reports from the four main charities
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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Cornwall's Garden of Eden


Biomes at the Eden Project, Cornwall.

Photograph by Simon Burt

What is it the Eden Project? It is a global garden which has been developed in a 60- metre, 15 hectare former china clay pit, and is home to the two largest conservatories known as `biomes' in the world. Rather than just a botanical garden, it is dedicated to the appreciation and study of human dependence on plants.
     The site is split into three areas:
1. the humid tropics biome where you can experience the sights, smells and scale of a rainforest;
2. the warm temperate biome, with the temperate climate of South Africa and California; and
3. the roofless biome, 30 acres of outdoor crescent-shaped terraces which tell the story of how plants have changed the world.
     A new education centre is currently being built, and plans are also underway for a third biome, which will feature the dry tropics, showing how people and plants can work together in desert environments, overcoming the challenges presented.
     The biomes are made with a lightweight steel structure using ethyletetrafluoroethylene foil, which looks like voile. It is very robust, while at the same time allowing ultra violet rays to pass through it.
     You need to strip off before entering the humid tropics biome as its temperature is quite hot. In an actual rain forest, it is hot and sticky with 90% humidity, and over 60 inches of rain in a year.
     A path takes you through over 1,000 tropical plants, many of them endangered species. Displays show how different countries, in this case West Africa, where the people are able to feed the soil, feed themselves and replant the forests, all at the same time. Another area shows how, in South America, people use the tropical gardens to collect wild plants for food, fuel, medicine and materials.
     Walking around, you can see how these plants can be found in products that are used in our daily life. For example, the milky latex harvested from the sapodilla tree can be made into chewing gum. Cola is an African tree which has caffeine-rich seeds, and is used to make a well-known sparkling flavoured drink.
     Sounds are created so that you can actually imagine yourself in a rainforest, with an occasional clap of thunder, and the splashing of waterfalls. Houses, built for these climates, have been erected alongside the plants from which they are made.
     The warm temperate biome covers the areas characterised by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters the Mediterranean, parts of South Africa and California. Inside you can enjoy various scents form the plants' protective oils. Here can be found an array of different herbs, olive trees and grapevines, as well as a display of animals made from cork.
     Then there is the outdoor biome that includes ancient plants, as well as plants that we feed on, plants to eat, and those that we use to dye colours.
     To celebrate spring, which comes early in Cornwall thanks to the Gulf Stream, the Eden `green team' have planted one million bulbs which should all start coming up at the end of February.
     Trains to the Eden Project at St. Austell, Cornwall are horrendously expensive. Depending on where you are coming from it is worth checking out the low-cost airlines. A car is a must to get around.

Contact Europcar: T. 0870 607 5000
The Eden Project: T. 01726 811911

MQ Readers' Offer

The Fowey Hotel, situated on the bank of the Fowey River Estuary, is offering readers of MQ dinner, bed and breakfast plus entry to the Eden Project from 49 per person, per night based on two sharing during January, February and March 2005.
     During April, May and June the price rises by 10. This offer is subject to availability, and is not available over the Bank or Easter holidays. Please quote MQ when booking.

Freephone 0800 243708.

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