The exotic garden
Exotic plants have always made people dream! They come from distant countries and allow our imagination to escape to these countries where the vegetation seems extraordinary to us. Their colors and original shapes have charmed plant lovers and the general public since the first successful acclimatizations in the 18th century.
The Exotic Garden, a success still relevant today
Synonyms of travels and unknown distant lands, exotic plants are curiosities brought back by explorers in our latitudes. Their survival depends on their acclimatization in sometimes hostile climates. In the 19th century, large botanical greenhouses flourished to provide a favorable environment for exotic species from temperate regions of the southern hemisphere.
Bamboos, palms, araucarias, and yuccas were the first to take hold in the mild regions and on the Mediterranean coast, followed closely by all the cacti. Bamboos, palms, araucarias, and yuccas were the first to take hold in the mild regions and on the Mediterranean coast, followed closely by all the cacti. Great collectors have gathered them in gardens that have become famous, such as in Monaco (Exotic Garden of Monaco), on the Ile de Batz (Exotic Garden Georges Delaselle), in Roscoff (Exotic Garden of Roscoff), in Eze (Exotic Garden of Eze), in Menton (Serre de la Madone) but the number of amateurs has increased so much that it is not uncommon to find these wonders in most gardens open to visitors.
Les bouquets originaux composés par les fleuristes plébiscitent aussi les plantes à fleurs, telles que les strélitzias, proteas et punicas, tant qu’elles sont devenues des incontournables des décors de fêtes. The original bouquets composed by florists also favor flowering plants, such as strelitzias, proteas and punicas, as long as they have become essential holiday decorations. Today, the range of exotic plants offered in nurseries is so vast that one can easily create this type of exotic garden in the privileged microclimates of the Atlantic coast, Brittany and Cotentin, without forgetting all of southern France. In the city, it is also possible to cultivate some of these plants when the situation is well sheltered.
Exotic Plants: Palm trees, cacti and other wonders
All exotic plants prefer a mild temperature in winter. But many also know how to resist the cold, which increases their interest in our gardens. Bamboos, long considered plants to be protected, have finally won over all gardeners, thanks to the collections cultivated in particular at the Bambouseraie d’Anduze.
Imported from Australia and Asia to the English court in the middle of the 18th century and then in all the Great Gardens of Europe, palm trees are also part of these exotic species that contain species that accept our winter temperatures: washingtonia, chamaerops, erythea and butia are resistant to -10 ° / -12 ° C in well-drained soil, trachycarpus even supports -15 ° C when the cold period is short. Cycads and tree ferns, a little more chilly, still accept -5 ° C to -8 ° C and leave the stipe if the foliage has been damaged by the cold.
Other favorites of exotic gardens, succulents and cacti are mostly native to the drylands of the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America, South America and South Africa. The winter flowering of aloes and crassulas, then spring and summer of cacti is always spectacular.
Many prefer to be grown in pots to be sheltered from frost in winter, but again, some species survive without damage in open ground in gardens of mild regions, such as agave americana, sempervivums, sedums, l ‘echinopsis and the candle cacti. Other exotics have acclimatized so well that we can find them even in the gardens of the Paris region: cordylines, phormium, aralia, echiums, grevillea and callistemons for example, or the kiwi and the tulip tree of Virginia.