Posted on Tuesday 15th May, 2018
The Eden Project’s work in preserving celebrated monkey puzzle trees as well as many other Chilean species has been praised by acclaimed documentary maker and author Rodrigo Fernandez, who has just published a definitive guide to trees from his home country growing abroad.
Rows of monkey
puzzles and other Chilean plants are thriving on a quiet south-facing hillside
just outside the former china clay quarry, home to Eden’s world-famous Biomes.
arboretum was planted around the time Eden opened in 2001 as part of the Royal
Botanic Gardens Edinburgh Conifer Conservation Programme. It was visited by
Rodrigo during a stay in the UK to promote his lavish book Chilean Trees Around
the World, a labour of love ten years in the making.
In Chile monkey
puzzles – proper name Araucaria araucana and the National Tree of
Chile – are under threat from disease and populations are fragmented. The trees
appear on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list as
upturned branches and prickly leaves, monkey puzzles have a special place in
Cornwall as they gained their common name when a specimen was planted in 1834
at Pencarrow House and a guest quipped that it would be a puzzle for a
monkey. There are more than 70 planted in the arboretum at Eden.
“It is wonderful to see these trees and other trees and shrubs from my home
country doing spectacularly well in Cornwall. In fact the monkey puzzles
seem to grow better and faster here at Eden than in their native habitat and
seem to love the climate here.
forests in Chile under threat, it is very comforting to know that at Eden and
in other places in the UK these trees are healthy and prospering. This is an
important conservation story for now and for the future.”
of Life Sciences Dr Mike Maunder said: “Eden works with conservation projects
around the world and the Chilean plantings were amongst Eden’s earliest
from Rodrigo was incredibly encouraging and we are planning to expand our
monkey puzzle plantings with our partners at RBG Edinburgh. All conservation is
based on partnerships and we are delighted to display the wonders of the
Chilean forests to our guests and to provide a long term sanctuary for these
visiting Eden with his wife Francisca Bustos, Chilean writer and
photographer Iberia Torres and Peter West from the Anglo-Chilean Society.
arboretum at Eden features in a chapter of Rodrigo’s book. The lavish study is
a selection of 60 stories of Chilean trees around the world, encompassing 50
presenting a signed copy for the Eden library, he gave a fascinating talk to
Eden horticulturists about how plants from Chile have found their way into
gardens across the globe and are particular favourites in the UK.
On their tour
of the arboretum, as well as viewing the monkey puzzles, the visiting
party were able to see other fine specimen trees including Alerce (Fitzroya
cupressoides) and the Cloud Podocarp (Podocarpus nubigenus).
towering conifers are many plants that have become firm garden favourites in
Britain. Examples of Fuchsia, Lobelia, Geum, Gunnera, Escallonia and Berberis
form a key part of the collection.
The garden is
filled with plants from the Valdivian Forests biodiversity hotspot in Central
Chile, which represents almost one third of the world’s few remaining large
tracts of relatively undisturbed temperate forest.
began with collaboration between Eden, the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and
their International Conservation Conifer Programme.
garden is open to the public and the entrance is behind Eden’s Pineapple
To view a film
of Chilean Trees Around the World go to https://animoto.com/play/dz16y09fNLHie95sCpPR1w