I went to the Eden Project in Cornwall for the first time last summer and, not surprisingly, it has inspired some linocut ideas – as have some of the other gardens I visited in Cornwall. The first Eden Project linocut is now in progress.

The first glimpse of the Eden Project, as you approach from above, is one of the most astonishing.

The Eden Project is built in a reclaimed china clay pit near St Austell. It’s an oddity in many respects. You approach initially via a long winding service road in the middle of nowhere that goes round and round like a labyrinth. It’s reminiscent of the route that airports send you on through the shops on the way to the departure gates. A pointless diversion when you suspect that there is a secret shortcut route that takes you in a straight line to the destination. There was virtually no other traffic on the route (though we were following the signs to the Eden Project). I reckon all locals and coach drivers know the direct route.

Anyway, eventually we got to the enormous multi-section car park – a bit like Disneyland – and got the shuttle bus to the site.

As you approach the rim of the crater, you suddenly see the Eden Project gardens and amazing domes laid out below. Jaw dropping, I have to say.

We came in through the terraced herbaceous borders – very impressive. Down and down until we arrived at the biodomes.

There are two sections to the domes, with a retail and restaurant section in the middle. To the right as you enter is the Mediterranean zone, which we explored first.

They are keen to educate at the Eden Project, so the Mediterranean biodome had many important edible plants and crops, as well as ornamental plants. There was also a special offshoot of the dome for cactii and succulents.

The biome has plants from the Mediterranean itself, South Africa, California and Western Australia. There were lots of herbs, olives, grapes, tomatoes, etc. I also appreciated the sculptures and the mosiacs, etc.

I was also entertained by seeing the British songbirds – robins, etc. – flitting about happily.

Next, we visited the big one – the tropical zone.

This is really impressive, with ponds and a waterfall, various different levels, bridges and staircases, so that you can admire some of the truly enormous palms and hanging vines from different angles.

Lots of edible plants were here too. The cocoa plant terrace actually smelt gorgeously of chocolate. And, though the Eden Project was extremely busy, seemingly full of visitors from around the world, these biomes and the grounds are large enough to absorb them. There was never a point where it seemed too crowded.

Inspired by the Eden Project, my first linocut on the theme will be set in the rainforest dome …

Read Part Two here.