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Honest garden

Last week, I visited Western England, mostly hiking and ahem, eating, in a quixotic effort to both get away from the computer and to trim down the winter fat my bathroom scale tells me has been on the increase.

The height of the tour, and reason for this blog entry, was my visit to The Eden Project, which looks like this:

Besides being a massive indoor garden, the project is interesting because it took something that no longer had any value (a eco-disaster-zone, namely a used-up clay mine) and found a way to turn it into something of great value.

Here is what the same spot looked like when the Eden Project took it over:

A spirit of trust and openness pervades the place. For instance, as you approach the gate, there is a simple sign indicating "go here if you need to buy a ticket, or else go this way if you don't" and then... nobody checks to make sure you really do have the right ticket.

The same spirit carries through to the cafeteria, where I found this sign:

next to this cornucopia of deserts:

Like BookMooch, the Eden Project is trusting people to do the right thing, which is the kind of place most people want to live in. And ... it's a massive success, with over a million people visiting each year.

It's almost 5 hours' drive from London, but really worth it!

On a slightly different-but-similar topic, I spent a day mushroom foraging with author and River Cottage celebrity John Wright:

Mushroom foraging is another one of those activities taking something that has no commercial value and turning it into something great (when you have the right knowledge and skill to know which mushrooms you can eat). Unfortunately, while I was very good at finding hidden mushrooms, I appear to also be very good at finding the inedible species. Ah well.

John Wright occasionally runs these foragings for the Summer Lodge in Dorset, where I stayed two nights so I could go on the forage.

Now I just need to find a local mushroom expert in California (Marin County) to check all my gatherings and make sure I don't poison myself!


John Buckman
3 years ago


Thanks for the mini-tour. Methinks you are interested in much more than books. Jean
3 years ago
Your trip looks like it was so much fun!
3 years ago
Sounds like a perfect vacation! I'd love to spend a day mushroom foraging, and I hope you're able to continue your new skills in Ca.
3 years ago
What an amazing sounding place! I smiled while reading and even just reading the description of that place is...comforting :D

On my list of places to visit now!!

3 years ago
I enjoyed this article. I hope someday I can visit the Project - what a wonderful idea. I hope it inspires more like it.
3 years ago
I love it! The whole world should be like this.
Rob Larson
3 years ago
Wow. Thank you for sharing. Hadn't heard of this and it looks amazing.
Christy Baker
3 years ago
Thanks for sharing your experiences and your heart with your fellow moochers.


3 years ago
How lovely. Thank you for sharing! And thanks for all you do to keep bookmooch running.
3 years ago
Thanks for sharing with us-looks very exciting-too bad we do not have something like this in America!
Rebecca E.
3 years ago
Mmmm...looks yummy and interesting.
3 years ago
Amazing ! Love it
3 years ago
awesome.thanks so much for the tour.
3 years ago
Glad you enjoyed our delights this side of the pond!
3 years ago
Well done to share this John, we've been there and it really is eye-opening.
3 years ago
I have the Eden Project as my "wallpaper" on my computer. Totally agree it is well worth a visit and would actually urge our transatlantic cousins to forget London, Windsor, and all the other overpriced tourist venues and go for the west country every time. While there, take in Glastonbury, the Cheddar Gorge, Durdle Dor, the lost Gardens of Heligon and Goonhilly Earth Station.
pamela biss
3 years ago
Very cool. Thanks!
3 years ago
The Eden Project kind fo reminds me of John Elton's book This Other Eden. I wonder if that's where they got the basic idea?
3 years ago
For anybody interested in the Eden Project and the philosophy behind it, there is an excellent book:
"Eden" by Tim Smit, ISBN 0552149209
Paul Harvey
3 years ago
Thank you for sharing that with us John. Bookmooch and the Eden Project share a common philosophy.
I hope others here will want to share their ideas, thoughts and experiences and would urge them to check out

the Bookmooch Wiki entry on journalling:

and The_BookMooch_Journal_Project site page about how journalling works:

and BookMooch Journals forum:

BookMooch Journals

if they would wish to join in this aspect of Bookmooch.

Members should look at the bio of The Bookmooch Journal Library (charity) id: bmjl, and add themselves as a friend of the charity if they wish to participate. On this page one can identify the local shelf of the library and find out something about journalling.

We hope all our journallers will be willing to consider sending journals where ever they are requested, to keep them circulating.

I am sure there are journals where your travels would be appropriate matters to add as a permanent record of your thoughts and travels John, - this blog would be perfect in 1,000 places to see before you die for instance!

Bookmooch Journal Library Charity
3 years ago
I love that Eden Project! Sounds like a delightful tour! Thank you for sharing it with us -- I love hearing about lovely places of welcoming.
Emily Martha Sorensen
3 years ago
For those who wanted SF Area mushroom info - try this group -
the Mycological Society of San Francisco. They apparently have a Fungus Fair in December, and do mushroom forays throughout the season.
A member came and did a very interesting talk to my gardening group a few weeks ago.
Jennifer McGaffey
3 years ago
The Eden Project really looks interesting and beautiful! Thanks for sharing it with us, it is great!
3 years ago
Thank You John, what an enlightening place that was. I wish we could develope something similar here in Humboldt county. But I would prefer to feed those who need to be fed, as there are many hungry here, adult and child alike. It has given inspiration and hope, which is most important. I too wish someone here to teach me the edible from the inedible mushrooms, with so much forest here shrooms abound. Unfortunately I only recognize the field mushroom--Darn! LOL Thanks for BM it keeps my reading habit alive and well. Tricia
3 years ago
Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful adventure. Hopefully I can visit it one of this days.
3 years ago
Would love to go there-my brother lives in London and I will put this on my list of places to visit when and if I get to the UK! Meanwhile I am growing mushrooms in a box in my closet. First harvest this week!Jenny S
Jenny S.
3 years ago
This looks great. I have been to Cornwall several times now but sadly never made it to Eden. Another place that is close by and worth a visit is The Lost Gardens of Heligan.
3 years ago
3 years ago
The Eden project is springing up all around the globe. It is an awesome concept that with a little work, you can do in your own back yard. Look them up on facebook to see what kind of stuff you can do in your own little plot. The movie is awe-inspiring.

Looks like you had a great vacation. As always, thanks for your service in Bookmooch and Magnatune.

Butch Heth
3 years ago
Thanks for turning me/us on to the site of the eden project, John, and I Hope you have a beautiful day.
Thanks for the hopeful info, once again... really appreciate it!


3 years ago
Thanks John enjoyed learning about Eden. I loved logging in today and seeing your update. A joy.
3 years ago
It's really nice to read your personal news, John. I've just listened to that radio interview you had about Bookmooch some time ago as well, and the two together make a person feel like they almost know you !

The Eden project looks very nice.
Thanks again for setting up such a friendly, uncommercial place as Bookmooch.

God bless you,

2 years ago

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