Category Archives: Theme gardens

Nantes “Jardin des Plantes” Part 3: the Botanical Gardens

My first post on the Jardin des Plantes in Nantes was about the hothouses and scientific garden, the second one was on the art and statuary, this one focuses on the theme gardens and plantings.

Meandering through the park, from the scientific garden, I first came across the shade garden, ferns and hostas surrounded by an amazing variety of evergreen shrubs and trees.

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The theme garden “the Mountain” is inspired by 19th century gardens such as Kew garden in England, and was installed in 1847 by the then director of the Jardin des Plantes. A labyrinth of plantings guides a circular ascension to the top and a lookout point to the Loire river.

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Water features dot the park.

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Thousand of annuals, perennials and shrubs create lush borders year round. Photos below show just a small sampling and include gunnera, pennisetum, gingko, silk tree, hydrangea borders and mixed borders throughout the park.

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Gingko Biloba
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Japanese grass
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Silk tree
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Gunnera
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Ornamental grasses
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Pennisetum and annuals
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Hydrangea hedge
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Gunnera

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French Wash House Basin Converted into Aquatic Garden

As already mentioned in one of my previous posts, every French village had one or more communal wash houses, many of them just a fountain filling a basin to wash clothes in.

This one on the edge of the village of Roscanvel has been converted into a lovely aquatic garden basin with papyrus and other aquatic plants, and assorting plantings of ferns, erigeron … around it.

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France: A Japanese Zen Garden on an Island in Nantes

The island of Versailles on the Erdre river in Nantes was man made in 1831 and originally used by naval builders. It was transformed in 1983 into a Japanese garden with three Japanese inspired buildings, one a café and the others used for exhibits about the river and its environment.

The garden features meandering paths, benches, a waterfall, bamboo groves, water features, and numerous shade tolerant plants including hostas, as well as spireas and a variety of evergreens.

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