East of Eden Plants _ Darwin bicentenary
Charles Darwin - the Royal William Yard Bicentenary 1809-2009
East of Eden Plants design gardens, plantscapes, courtyards, sun terraces and superior patios with plants from around the world. See us at the local farmers markets and local shows. We are experts in creating themed designs from climate zones including desert, Mediterranean, tropical, sub-tropical and mountain regions from every continent, creating stunning exterior and interior designs. Our work in the Royal William Yard, where Charles Darwin sailed in the HMS Beagle for the Galapogos Islands.

  Happy (200th) Birthday, Charles!


Charles Darwin at 40
Charles Robert Darwin FRS
(12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882)


Our work in the Royal William Yard, Plymouth

A good vantage point

On the 27th December 1831, at Barn Pool, opposite the Royal William Victualling Yard began the epic second voyage of HMS Beagle around the world. Darwin was 22.

The Royal William Victualling Yard is situated on the last point of land in Plymouth and looks across to Devonport, the Royal Navy Dockyard and Barn Pool - the last anchorage of HMS Beagle in England until its return to Falmouth on 2nd October 1836.

The Royal William Victualling Yard was operational from 1826 and extended until final completed in 1835 supplying fresh water, food and all other consumables ('victuals') for the Royal Navy ships, with its own cooperage, brewery, bakery, abattoir and small munitions armoury.

Our work in the Royal William Yard
The Brewhouse,
Royal William Yard,

A delayed start

Darwin arrived in Devonport in good time in October, but Captain Fitzroy decided the ship needed more substantial re-modelling. This, and abortive attempts to leave because of the weather took until the end of the year, and Darwin was left kicking his heels exploring the wilds of Cornwall: Kingsands, Cawsands, Mount Edgcumbe and Millbrook (where our nursery is!).

Had he only waited (200 years) he would have seen the collection of world plants that we have used in Kew, Chelsea, Hampton Court, Gleneagles - and the Royal William Yard.

But no, it took people like Darwin, Foster, Wilson, Fortune and all the other great Victorian collectors to bring back the plants in the first place!

What he did miss, though, is the amazing collection of Wollemia nobilis Araucariaceae - the Wollemi Pine - growing in a nursery nearby. These are a new generation of the endangered Wollemi Pine, produced under licence, one of the oldest living trees on earth at over 200 million years old. You can buy the Wollemi Pine from us here.

We say a big THANK YOU to Charles Darwin for starting us on an epic journey to discover the full tree of all life on earth.

For a modern fascinating description and brilliantly illustrated journey through the tree of life read Prof. Richard Dawkin's book The Ancestor's Tale which includes a description of why 'most of plant life is utterly dependent on mycorrhizal fungi'.

While HMS Beagle was being refitted in Devonport, Darwin stayed at
4, Clarence Baths.
Our trees, Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer', in front of the Brewhouse

The Royal William Yard was sold off by the Navy, and re-commissioned by Urban Splash as waterside residences.It is a Grade 1 listed site.


Our work in the Royal William Yard includes this tree planting in front of the house. The Brewhouse itself now houses our displays in the Winter Gardens.

We also supplied the planting for the show flat and the Royal William Yard Grand Opening.

The trees arrive - Royal William Yard
The trees arrive

Slideshow of the trees installationRootgrow mycorrhiza information

Darwin College in Cambridge


It's a small world

Here is David (right) from Barcham Trees inspecting the Pyrus calleryana planting. Barchams is situated in Cambridgeshire, a few miles up the road from Darwin College (left), Cambridge.

Installation of trees at Royal William Yard

Slideshow of the installationRootgrow mycorrhiza information

(Opens in new window).

  Barcham trees at the Royal William Yard - and Rootgrow
Above. Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer' supplied by Barcham Trees. Allocated Rootgrow sits on top.

Because the trees were effectively 'pot planted' (even though the 'pots' were excavations holding several tons of loam and aggregate imported to the site), we used Rootgrow to provide the essential presence of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil which enhances the early establishment of replants, especially expensive large specimen trees!

In fact, nearly all plants benefit from the addition of mycorrhizal fungi when planting out or raising from seed. mycorrhizal fungi - read more.



Pyrus calleryana chanticleer being planted at the Royal William Yard
Above. Pyrus calleryana Chanticleer being planted at the Royal William Yard. The tree sits over a pit 7m deep, back-filled with graded ballast and loam. The air-container grown rootball is steel cable anchored and triple staked, being sited just 20 metres from the sea.
By the side of the rootball are two deep drainage pipes and an irrigation system. The rootball sits on a prepared starter bed of Rootgow mycorrhiza and seaweed fertiliser - a product combination born of evolutionary science.

We know, through evolutionary biology, that plants benefit from a natural combination of mycorrhizal fungi and seaweed based fertilisers.

We sell ROOTGROW mycorrhizal fungi to all horticultural sectors-

online retail

landscapers - designers



Read more about the benefits of Rootgrow here.


We sell seaweed based fertilisers here.

Royal William Yard Spring 2009
    Pyrus Calleryana 'Chanticleer'   March 18th 2009
Royal William Yard - the Show Flat and Grand Opening 2006
Royal William Yard - the Show Flat at the Grand Opening 2006
Royal William Yard Grand Opening - Pete, Boss - Lou, Marketing
Peter, and Lou (Marketing)


Royal William Yard - our planting in the Show Flat
Planters by Lechuza

Royal William Yard Grand Opening - Urban Splash MD Jason before his Speech
Jason, Urban Splash M.D.
Royal William Yard - Winter Garden
The Winter Gardens in the old Brewhouse, Royal William Yard is a permanent indoor garden. This was designed in conjunction with the architects and is a good example of how to create a planting display in very low light conditions.
The Brewhouse - Royal William Yard today, looking towards Mount Edgcumbe
The Brewhouse - Royal William Yard today, looking towards Mount Edgcumbe and Barn Pool,
the Beagle's last anchorage before setting sail on its 5-year around the world second voyage.

Darwin's View - Royal William Yard, Clarence Baths, Barn Pool
Darwin's eye view of the Tamar from Mount Edgcumbe. The Royal William Yard is on the right.
The site of the Clarence Baths is next left. The Dockyard is far left. Barn Pool is the nearest shore.

        Urban Splash aerial photograph of the Royal William Yard
        Read the Story - Darwin's letters




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