Who would have thought that there would be a bamboo forest at the base of the Cevennes mountains? This impressive garden was first planted in the mid-1800s by Eugène Mazel, a wealthy and passionate horticulturist who had a thing for the exotics, especially bamboo.
He acquired specimens from North America, Japan and the Himalayas and acclimatized them to the south of France. Unfortunately, due to financial difficulties Mazal was forced to give up the property in 1890. Fortunately, it was purchased by Gaston Nègre, another plant enthusiast, in 1902, whose family continues to manage the property today.
Walking into this exotic park is like walking into a far off land of thick bamboo groves, giant sequoias, palms, and tree ferns to name a few. It’s like nothing in Europe. South East Asia maybe. The grounds are well tended with the paths around the 34 hectare park easy to walk in an hour or so.
The park also includes a picturesque Japanese garden formed around a small lake, a Laotian village, green houses with other exotic plants, a bamboo labyrinth, and a plant nursery where you can purchase your own favorite exotics. The water garden is closed for the 2013 season.
May 31, 2013
For links to all the posts in this series see the South of France page.