Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Inspiration from Antibes, South of France

I have just managed to escape for a few days to Antibes, which is in the South of France, between Nice and Cannes... I love France and currently my body is still about 75% French food and rose wine..

It was unusual to be there in April so the native flora was all rather nice (rather than fried in the summer sun), this was from a walk around the coast...

There were of course lots of typical big Agave's

 This was in the old town, where we had a house with a perfect roof terrace, plants had a way of colonizing all the banks...wall was especially overrun with white perennial wallflowers and there was a lot of this Aloe everywhere which  they also used as hedging making mine at home look rather drab

I was rather taken by this grass tree (Nolinia??) near the fort

I was more excited seeing this Aristolochia growing wild and rampant....

Then the Antibes folk were so good at greening up their city....balconies were stuffed full of plants which were tied and balanced precariously on ledges

Even in narrow streets they could get in a lot of plants just using pots

We also managed a trip to the Jardin Thuret.....in essence a botanic garden created in 1857 by Gustave Thuret to conduct plant acclimatization trials. It was an interesting place with some great old palms, however not quite a Kew gardens. Oddly it also had no benches, something a bit lacking across the whole of Antibes...I feel there is a good business opportunity for a bench maker to start targeting oldies with legacy desires... 

I have no idea what these are, but they were rather bold...

This was the most exciting thing I saw....a large bamboo forest of Phyllostachys edulis underplanted with Chasmanthe aethiopica...very striking! I don't know anything about Chasmanthe but it was grown in a few huge naturalistic sweeps, it looked a bit like a Crocosmia

A rather startling native? arum

and a rather ancient clump of European Fan palm...

Columnar cacti on the wall of the Picasso museum

Due to a 2 hour delay at Nice airport we also managed a quick trip to the Jardin Exotique which is only 10 mins walk away....do go if you are delayed! At its heart was a huge pyramidal greenhouse which had Caymans and lots of owls. You can also see how far ahead they are season wise as it had a real early summer vibe...there were even mature nasturshums

Everyone loves s a huge pseudo Aztec wall

There was also a Paulownia in flower looking stunning....the whole family asked me to immediately stop stooling mine to let them grow as it was amazing

This Echium was so electric blue and had a queue of people wanting to photograph it

I also spied a Tetrapanax looking rather aloof and a bit spindly. There is/was also one at Kew in the Temperate House and it looked similar...outside seems to be better! 

I like France! take me back there immediately!


  1. Vive la France! The area looks fab, and with Jardin Thuret and Exotique in the area, even better!

    The gorgeous bulb is Scilla peruviana, should do well in a sunny spot of your garden :)

  2. I knew you would know what it was! thanks!