Paris Botanical Garden

I sat down to write a post on the tradition of burying one’s heart separately from one’s body – no, really – and was then distracted by the opportunity to visit Le Jardin des Plantes. Thank heavens, right? Turns out the gardens are right down the #5 Metro from our apartment, it’s a beautiful April afternoon, and admission is free.  I couldn’t resist.

So, this post is dedicated to SP, ChK, LF, KW, CT, and all my other  friends who commiserate with me about the poor dirt and harsh climate where we garden in Maine. Take a look at what 28 hectares of managed soil, mild weather, and 400 years can do.

avenue gran

They’re a bit further on into spring than we are, too.


This is their Sargent Crab. This Japanese variety is notable for nearly horizontal branching.  I have one of these too – the trunk caliper on mine is about two inches.

Sargent crab

I remembered the French for bee – Apis – and had a halting conversation with one of the staff about apis and miele (honey). They don’t have hives at the Gardens because too many visitors are allergic, but they have begun to foster orchard mason bees and other wild pollinators with “bee hutches”.

bee hutch

I wandered around in the conservatories for a while, past figs, bananas and date palms, through the orchids and into grasses and succulents. At one point I had the whole place to myself; I guess it was just too nice a day to be inside even in a place like this.



I found “Jardin de Roches” on the map and correctly translated it as a rock garden. I was expecting dry succulents and small arid plantings, but this turns out to be a very nice garden filled with very big rocks. Specimens from the Mineral Bibliotech that are too large (way too large) are arranged out of doors here with polite signs asking visitors not to sit on them.

rock garden

Beds of poppies were everywhere. The staff will begin to dig them out and replace them with summer plantings next week, as the roses begin to leaf out in the alles. Later this year they’ll be installing webcams so that, although we have to leave tomorrow,  I’ll be able to check in on the new plantings.






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