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March / mars 2019
Visit to the Bambouseraie de Prafrance, Générargues, near Anduze, Gard

Click on an image to enlarge it / Cliquez sur une image pour l’agrandir

The Bambouseraie is situated close to Anduze in the Cévennes, and has a natural water source that has been cleverly channeled into the park, thus allowing a natural watering system throughout the gardens.

We were welcomed by the Head Gardener who took us on a tour of the bamboo collection. The garden was created more than 160 years ago by botanist, Eugène Mazel. He selected plants and trees from China, Japan, North America and the Himalayas. What we see today are some of the original planting from Mazel’s collections and the results of the careful development of the park since those early days.

Our guide explained that bamboo species are members of the grass family – like wheat or maize. Bamboo develops by creeping rhizomes, from which shoots rise to form branches and leaves. Bamboos rarely flower, but shoots develop to reach canes of full height in approximately 3 months. Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the vegetable kingdom.

A bamboo cane cut through to show its interior
A panel showing how to use a rhizome barrier to control running bamboo
Phyllostachys bambusoides ‘Castillonis’
Phyllostachys bambusoides

The Bambouseraie has examples of more than 240 different species of bamboo, Japanese maples, camelias, Ginkgo biloba and centenary sequoias.

We were left to explore and walk around the different parts of the park, notably the Dragon Valley which is loosely designed around Chinese and Japanese gardens. Here we had the pleasure of finding a wide variety of camellias in full flower, plus azaleas, Japanese maples and cherries in their spring foliage.

Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula Plena Rosea’
Clematis armandii
Acer palmatum
A tunnel made from bamboo canes
Shibataea kumasaca, a compact, clump-forming bamboo, clipped as a low hedge

Text: Catriona McLean
Photos: Catriona McLean and Christine Daniels