Our Patrons

  • Our Patrons
  • Our Patrons
  • Our Patrons
  • Our Patrons
  • Our Patrons
  • Our Patrons

Event Calendar

<<  April 2019  >>
 Mo  Tu  We  Th  Fr  Sa  Su 
  1  3  4  5  6  7
  8  910121314

Latest BAM Events

  • EU e-Privacy Directive

    This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation, and other functions. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.

Gardening Tips - 2016 - September/October Print

There are moments when we run out of ideas for our gardens, particularly after the long, hot summer we have just endured. One of the pleasantest ways of sharpening our imaginations is to look at other people’s gardens, and we are particularly blessed by having some famous ones right on our doorstep.

First there is the celebrated garden at La Mortola just over the border in Italy. Le Giardino Hanbury, founded by Thomas Hanbury in 1867. He and his brother Daniel, a renowned chemist, bought about 42 hectares, including the beautiful Palazzo Orengo, in order to experiment with medicinal plants and soon they were receiving specimens, not only medicinal ones, from all over the world.
On this magnificent steeply sloping site overlooking the sea there are great collections of cacti and agaves, South Africa, Australian and South American plants but always with a firm accent on medicinal species. Much of the planting dates from the time of Sir Thomas, (he was knighted by Edward VII): a rare Casimiroa edulis planted by Daniel in December, 1867, Acacia Hanburyiana, Araucaria Cunninghamii, also sown by Daniel in 1872, and the great 300 foot pergola which supports jasmine, bignonias, Homalocladium platycladium, Thunbergia coccinea and passion flowers. He also created the famous citrus garden where there is an astonishing Shatok grapefruit bearing 3 lb fruit, along with other sub-tropical exotic fruits, such as Hovenia dulcis and Acca sellowiana. There is a profusion of roses – double and single banksias, laevigata mermaid, mutablis and Noella Narbonnand. Newer plantations include shrub roses from Meilland of France and David Austin of England. Half way down the garden runs the via Aurelia, one of the four roads leading from ancient Rome to Avignon along which trudged such famous characters as Pope Innocent IV, Catherine of Siena, Machiavelli, the Emperor Charles V and Napoleon himself on his way to one of his campaigns.
Open most of the year, but closed on Mondays in winter.

In Menton the Jardin botanique exotique du Val Ramah, covering 11,000 m2, houses a splendid collection of local and rare interesting exotic plants. The garden was created on several levels by Lord Percy Radcliffe, a former governor of Malta, in 1905. Here you will find Brugmansias, sages and a large selection of exotic fruits, such as kiwis, avocados and bananas. Most of the planting we enjoy today was done since 1957 by Miss Maybud Campell, a fine botanist and one time owner who gave the garden to the State in 1966, and the French Museum of Natural History acquired it that year for research. There are over 700 different specimens of plants and trees in this magical place and it is well worth a visit if only to marvel at the giant water lily, Victoria amazonica. In one area it is quite possible to believe you are in a rain forest.  In others you go back in time among olive trees four centuries old. 
Open most of the year, but closed on Tuesdays.

La Serre de la Madone – this beautifully structured garden was a masterpiece created by Lawrence Johnson of a wealthy American family, a garden designer and plantsman who also created the famous garden of Hidcote in Gloucestershire, where he lived until his heath dictated he should more to a warmer clime. There was already a pretty house on the property which he enlarged but it was he who gathered from all over the world the fine collection of unusual tropical plants that we see today, centred on a charming pool on one of the terraces. Plants include Mahonia Siamennsis, Arbutus unedo, many rose varieties, buddleias, bamboos and numerous cycads and succulents. And many statues. After Johnson’s death in l958 the property passed through several hands who did not appreciate its botanical value and it fell into sad decline, until in 1999 it was purchased by the Conservatoire du Litteral who are slowly restoring it to Johnson’s design.
Open all year except November, Christmas, New Year, and Mondays.

Check all opening times before visiting.

The above gardens are all open to all comers but there are so many private gardens along our coast that are full of choice surprises and clever ideas. One way to gain access is to join a gardening organisation such as Mediterranean Gardening France (www.mediterraneangardeningfrance.org), membership just ten euros annually. This is a non-profit making organisation with all kinds of group visits, lectures and suggestions described on the excellent bilingual website. For example, in September last year MGF managed to gain access to the famously private 14 hectare Les C├Ędres on Cap Ferrat, currently on the market for an alleged billion euros. The website has a good account and photographs of the visit. Let us hope any new owner will cherish this truly worldclass sub-tropical paradise with its historic plantings.

For next month I’m already thinking about spring bulbs in all their glorious variety.