Friday, March 31, 2017

Paris Pleasures: Jardin des serres d'Auteuil

Here is another much-overdue post about a garden I visited while in Paris, the Jardin des serres d'Auteuil. Located in the southeast of the city at the southern edge of the Bois de Boulogne, this historic complex of greenhouses and surrounding gardens is one of four parts of the botanic gardens of the City of Paris. The beautiful glasshouses were designed between 1895 and 1898 by Jean-Camille Formigé (1845-1926) and apart from their elegant shape are now distinctive particularly on account of their striking turquoise color.

A view of the palm house at the center of the complex

In a tropical house

In the house dedicated to tropical crop plants

The lovely new foliage of the cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum verum)

One of the adorable cold-frame like structures within the greenhouses

In the house dedicated entirely to begonias

All the cacti

Some of the houses appear to currently be in the process of being replanted, while some, such as that dedicated to tropical crop plants appear to have already undergone such renewal. The plantings around the greenhouses, too, seem to be quite lovely - one corridor between glasshouses, for instance, is lined with beautiful large Chinese windmill palms (Trachycarpus fortunei) - though of course at the time of our visit in February they were still largely dormant. Entrance to the whole place is free and it is definitely worth a visit.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

My Camellias

The camellia that I planted in my family's garden in Germany when I was a child is blooming and for the first time in years I am around to see it.

Beginning to open the other day...

In full bloom in today's warm sunshine

One of the atypical pinkish red flowers that appear on some branches

The variety this specimen belongs to is 'Lavinia Maggi', which was recommended at the time I bought it for its hardiness and later flowering that avoids heavy frosts. Although it was already quite large when I planted it, it hardly flowered at all the first few years, and then we moved to the United States. Luckily it did take off eventually, and now grows and blooms vigorously. Perhaps it is time to add some more camellias to this garden...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Produce and Politics

Here is an interesting article on British rhubarb - specifically the forced kind virtually unheard of in continental Europe - and agriculture more generally in relation to Brexit, punny title and all:

The Dark State of British Rhubarb

Also makes me want to read up on Europe's other 24 protected heritage food products...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Paris Pleaures: Le Jardin des Plantes

Once again I have fallen behind on reporting here on my garden-related adventures. If by any chance you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that while I have been away from my own garden and plants, I have had the good fortune of visiting quite a few parks and botanic gardens over the past weeks. As always, I will try to also write a bit about them here, beginning today with the Jardin des Plantes, the comparatively small but nevertheless delightful historic botanic garden in the 5th arrondissement in the middle of Paris. Begun in 1635 on the left bank of the Seine, the complex also contains a zoo and the National Museum of Natural History. I, of course, tend to focus on the botanical and horticultural parts, which include a large systematic garden demonstrating plant families, a hilltop hedge maze dating to the 18th century complete with an original gazebo know as the Gloriette de Buffon, named after George-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707-1788), who had served as director of the garden, then the Jardin du Roi, and a series of soaring art deco greenhouses. Much of the garden was still dormant during my February visits, of course, but here and there things were already blooming, and in the greenhouses the annual orchid display Mille et une orchidées was on.

A view along the main axis of the garden on a sunny day

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) just beginning to bloom

Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)

Part of the systematic section

A very happy European fan palm (Chamaerops humilis)

The first Edgeworthia chrysantha I got to see in bloom this year

A view up into a massive cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) planted in 1734

The Gloriette de Buffon atop the hedge maze

Loads of hellebores

The art deco conservatory, with lush tree ferns even on the outside

Some of the 1001 orchids

Laelia anceps, which I seem to be noticing more and more often

The prettiest foliage

Entrance to the outdoor gardens is free - and they do act as a popular park for the surrounding neighborhood - while for the greenhouses an entrance fee is charged. On a completely separate note, today is also Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, and while I cannot contribute anything from plantings of my own this month since I have been traveling, check out what is going on in others' gardens at May Dreams Gardens.