Saturday, September 6, 2008

Le Jardin Exotique ,Monaco

Cactus Flower (coussin de belle-mere)
The Jardin Exotique in the Principality of Monaco is one of the must see gardens to visit for those who are interested in cactus and succulents.
The idea for the garden began in the late 19th century under Prince Albert 1 who was keen to establish a garden for succulent plants which he greatly admired. Work commenced on the garden in 1913 ,though originally the garden was planted on the Rocher de Monaco ,in the old town of Monaco-Ville ,it was finally established on a site to the west of the town on the Corniche Road facing due south and protected from damaging north and western winds.The slope of the garden is at a 45 degree angle so this meant a long and slow construction process under the guidance of Louis Notari , with Prince Albert overseeing every step of the work.
Pockets were created in the rock face for planting, paths cut into the rock to twist and turn in all directions and even bridges were built over clefts in the rock. It is a marvel of landscape construction. Work on the garden continued until 1933 when it was inaugurated by Albert's son, Prince Louis II.
Today the Jardin Exotique is involved in conservation projects and in particular on the island of Madagascar which has an extraordinary flora of succulent plants.On the occasion of the celebration to mark 700 years of the Grimaldi Dynasty of Monaco, Madagascar benefited with the construction of a Visitors Centre being undertaken at Fianarantsoa. In 2004,the Bureau de la Cooperation of the International of the Monegasque Government established a joint project between the two countries in the field of protecting the ecosystem and safe-guarding biodiversity.
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