I’m always surprised when visiting Cornwall in winter by how many plants are in flower. Daffodils out before Christmas, camellias in full bloom in February and rosemary that seems to flower all year. One plant that definitely wasn’t in flower was the lavender at Eden, on the bank outside the entrance to the biomes. But that just makes me want to go back again in the summer to see, touch and smell it in all it’s full flowering glory.
This hedge of beautiful camellias was just starting to flower. Camellia seed oil, camellia sinensis, makes a skin-regenerating base oil that is full of vitamin A. Essential oils are blended into base oils (also known as carrier oils) to massage into the skin during an aromatherapy treatment. I would add camellia base oil to sunflower base oil to make it extra nourishing.
I wish you could smell this jasmine, it was quite intoxicating! It was climbing over one of the buildings in the temperate biome and capturing passers by with it’s sweet, floral, heady scent. Jasmine, jasminum gradiflorum, absolute (it doesn’t yield enough essential oil to make it commercially viable to distill it) is euphoric, helping to uplift you in times of emotional suffering and heartache.
These young lemongrass plants (cymbopogan citrata) were outside the Malaysian hut in the rainforest biome. As the zesty, grass-like leaves grow, the stalk will thicken up to become the lemongrass that you see in supermarkets today. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and stem and is used as a digestive aid. It stimulates the liver and immune system, and is an insect repellent too – use it in a burner to ward off midges.
This is a black pepper bush (piper nigrum). It’s a climbing plant that is cultivated in India, Madagascar and Indonesia. The peppercorns grow in a grape-like formation, another reason for me to go back to Eden to take a photo of them! Apparently the Romans used black pepper to settle taxes as it was a highly prized commodity, today it’s one of the most widely available spices in the world. As an essential oil, it’s used as a circulatory stimulant, to get the blood flowing to stiff and achy muscles and to invigorate the senses.