Garden.The botanical garden of Nice
Stroll in a garden dedicated to plants of Mediterranean climate.
The botanical garden of Nice extends over three and a half hectares, on a hillside.From its alleys, one embraces a panorama, from the Alps to the Esterel massif.
Open since 1983, it is home to more than 3,000 species of plants, all native to the Mediterranean or to regions with a Mediterranean-type climate.We can find Californian, South African, Australian, Chilean or Azores plants.About fifteen zones allow you to discover the richness of this type of vegetation.The terraces of the former municipal nurseries had to be reshaped, riprap had to be added or the land had to be changed to create landscapes and biotopes.
Salvia roscida, a shrubby sage native to Mexico.(ISABELLE MORAND/RADIO FRANCE/FRANCE INFO)
The Botanical Garden of Nice has been awarded the label “Remarkable Garden” and is home to several national collections which are watched over by Jean-Michel Meuriot, the city’s botanical expert :
“We have a sage collection, specializing in sub-tropical sage from Mexico, which blooms in autumn and winter.The aesthetic aspect is very interesting; the blooms of these Mexican sage and sage from elsewhere follow one another all year round.
We also have a national collection of agaves that require constant monitoring because of a weevil.It’s very annoying, because the phytosanitary problem that decimated the palms of the Côte d’Azur should not be allowed to recur.We also have a collection of Callitris.They are conifers originating from Australia.They are very resistant to dryness.And their foliage is much finer than the cypress we have on the French Riviera.”
A cypress from the…Sahara
Every year, between 100 and 200 new plants are introduced to the botanical garden of Nice.Most are from seedlings.Indeed, the garden exchanges seeds with 300 other botanical gardens, thanks to a seed index (index seminum) published each year.
These exchanges, these seedlings enable the gardens of the world to enlarge their collections or to safeguard endangered plants such as the magnificent Tassili cypress (Cupressus dupreziana) to which Jean-Michel Meuriot is particularly fond and attentive: “It comes from the centre of the Sahara.Thousands of years ago there was water in the Sahara and many plants grew there.
This cypress is a relic.It can’t reproduce on its own over there because the climate is too dry.It is therefore necessary to reproduce by cutting or grafting.We have a very nice one here.In the wild, there are only about forty Tassili cypresses, thousands of years old.”
Jean-Michel Meuriot, in charge of Green Spaces for the city of Nice (ISABELLE MORAND/RADIO FRANCE/FRANCE INFO)
To visit in winter
The botanical garden of Nice can be visited in all seasons, including winter.It is even an excellent time to enjoy the subtropical sage blossoms, to take the time to observe the agaves or mimosas preparing for flowering.All this while enjoying a superb view of the Mediterranean Sea.
Thanks to Jean-Michel Meuriot, in charge of the green spaces in Nice.
Botanical Garden of Nice: 78, Corniche Fleurie.Tel: 04 92 29 41 80.Free admission.Open every day.Be careful, dogs are not allowed in the garden.