Visitors to the world-renowned Eden Project in Cornwall, England will soon be able to walk among grass trees, see flourishing Kangaroo Paws and admire the immensely popular Pink Everlastings.
Kings Park and Botanic Garden's Senior Curator, Grady Brand, travelled to the Eden Project in March 2017 to assist the team with establishing a new Western Australian display, located within the Mediterranean biome.
The new South-West Australia display, which will accompany other featured Mediterranean climatic regions of California, South Africa and the Mediterranean, has been chosen due to its astonishing native flora and recognition as a world biodiversity hotspot.
'They wanted to display two significant ecosystems of WA flora, and bring in the plants of the Jarrah forest and plants of the Kwongan region,' Grady said.
Grady assisted the team to select mainly species which would cope with lower light levels that occur during much of the UK calendar year.
'In the Kwongan regions this included Banksia, bottlebrush and Pimelea, and in the Jarrah region it included grass trees, Grevillea, Hardenbergia and even some small Jarrah tree saplings,' he said.
'They also included a display bed with Scaevola, Anigozanthos, Chrysocephalum and a range of WA annual daisies.'
Towering Jarrah forests are iconic features of the south-west of Western Australia, while Kwongan is a Noongar term used to describe shrub land vegetation, which is also widely found in the State’s South-West.
Eden’s Australia Exhibit is the result of nearly four years planning. Many of the plants featured in the biome have been grown from seed, while others were obtained through the horticultural trade, which exports Western Australian plants worldwide.
Temperature controlled between 9 and 25 degrees Celsius, the Eden Project’s Mediterranean biome houses more than 1,000 plant varieties, which thrive in conditions which are as close to their natural environment as possible.
'Every effort was made to ensure the soil mix was free draining and contained low levels of phosphorous which is detrimental to growing WA plants,' Grady said.
In addition to local plants, the exhibit will also include drawings by Western Australian Noongar statesman, performer, musician and writer Dr Richard Walley OAM, which will be included in signage interpreting the six Noongar seasons of Western Australia.
Grady said he was thrilled with the opportunity to showcase Western Australia’s flora on a global stage in such a permanent manner.
'It’s great for the Western Australian flora to be displayed in the northern hemisphere, with Eden getting approximately one million visitors annually through the displays.'
The Eden Project Australia Exhibit opens in April 2017.
Hear Grady Brand chat with James Lush about the Eden Project on the ABC Radio Breakfast show.