The gardener

I recently visited the floating kingdom on a short break, and with the specific idea of looking at what they can grow there.

I wont go on about the travel or accommodation, as I am sure others have already told you all about that.

Being an artificially created place of course it has no natural vegetation, and everything has had to be brought in, including the soil, or growing medium.

I expected to see some little miracles within bio-domes, but I was amazed to see what was growing and appeared to look quite natural on many of the islands. I suppose it is because they have the weather, plenty of water and understand that they need to create different conditions for different plants, but basically they can grow just about anything that can be grown in the states, most of South America and throughout Europe. Fruit of all types, flowers, vegetables, and now even quite large trees. I saw one area that was set up around a restaurant like a desert with cactus, another that had roses growing next to vines heavy with grapes.

Within large bio-domes you have some gardens that are set to represent specific countries complete with fairly tame wildlife and birds, others that concentrate on specific topics. We saw an island with a complete vineyard, and another growing salad items.

Although when the kingdom was first thought of many thought the islands would be too small and ground too expensive for plants, I am pleased to see that the surface of most islands have at least some plants, and as the islands have got larger, many have large areas of lawns and gardens.

I had thought that salt spray over the front wall would have presented a problem but only when you visit the floating kingdom do you get any idea of its scale. Even if spray came over the front, it has another wall to cross and then many islands. So basically no spray gets anywhere and while we were there the sea was so calm that the sea defenses were not really even needed.

Speaking to growers within the kingdom, the problems they had was more to do with the kingdom swiveling and therefore never knowing for sure which direction the sun would come from, and some with larger flat toped islands said that odd days in winter could be very windy where it is exposed, however as the wind always comes from the front of the kingdom they are able to plant wind breaks.

I wont try to cover the individual plants or growing arrangements, that would need a book rather than an article, but all I can say is those who think of a man made item in the center of the Atlantic as a littlie like a ship or concrete monster would be so very surprised to find that from many islands because you don't spot the water between, the view you get is just like being in the countryside with sweet smelling flowers, shrubs and fruit all around.



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Last updated: May 10, 2002.