Alan Titchmarsh narrates two documentaries about the Eden
Project, The Gardeners of Eden and Growing Pains.
In The Gardeners Of Eden we follow the team of 60 botanists,
gardeners and architects as they go about their daily work
managing the project and the visitors that enjoy it. Growing
Pains looks at the long term impact of the project, exploring
its role as a tourist attraction as well as a centre for ecological
and scientific research...
Eden Project: The Gardeners of Eden
consists of two 1-hour documentaries about Cornwall's Eden
Project. While both films are entertaining, I couldn't help
feeling that one documentary would have been enough for most
people. They both skirt along similar themes, and to be honest
I think this would have worked much better if the two had
been edited down into one one-hour feature.
first film, The Gardeners of Eden, follows the Eden
horticultural year and its 60-strong gardening team. Filmed
both inside and outside the biomes, in the large and fast-maturing
gardens, it follows Eden's extreme gardening - abseiling,
aerial pruning and jungle plant management, its vast planting
and display projects like Bulb Mania and the appliance of
science in cutting-edge pest control and quarantine techniques.
The second film, Growing Pains, is an intimate and
engaging portrait through one of the most important and ambitious
years in the life of Eden, timed to coincide with the grand
opening of its new biome. The film demonstrates how Eden has
achieved its iconic and inspirational status and reveals the
dilemmas and challenges it faces for the future.
first film is entertaining enough and there are plenty of
interesting facts about the origin of the Eden Project, as
well as it's ongoing operating problems. But it was the second
film that really impressed me. Towards the end of Growing
Pains, the DVD producers started to uncover some problems
with the running of the attraction. A lot of the staff were
unhappy about the way that it was being slowly being turned
into a Disney-like amusement park.
a shame that more wasn't made of this angle. Tim Smit, director
of the Eden Project, comes across as a used car salesman.
I've actually had dealings with him in the past - when his
project was getting off the ground - and I didn't think much
to him. I certainly wouldn't want to work for him. And towards
the end of this film he reveals that he doesn't like surrounding
himself with people he doesn't like; that being good at your
job is not necessarily a plus point in his organisation. That
speaks volumes. In fact it's hinted at that he is running
a dictatorship. What a shame more wasn't made of this side
of the documentary.
that Smit openly admits to not like horticulture, and that
he was in the music business before setting up the Eden Project,
is it possible that his promises of turning it into a horticulture
centre of excellence are nothing but rubbish? That he always
planned to turn it into a music venue, but as a registered
charity he can offset large amounts of tax, as well as receiving
Lottery funding? Listening to him, it's blatantly obvious
that he really doesn't give much of a fig about the plants.
DVD also touches on the irony of an environmental project
that uses huge amounts of electricity for it's light and music
are very thin on the ground and are all text based. We get
Essential Eden Facts; Eden Timeline and directions on how
to get there. Not really what you'd call exciting.
is one of those releases that I am divided over. While both
films are entertaining and informative, it's doubtful whether
you'll watch them more than once. Not only that, but both
movies would have easily fitted onto a single disc, so I'm
surprised that these weren't released on one DVD with a reduced
price (say £15.99). For the most part, though, this