I Arrived in Nantes late on a Tuesday evening, and not much of the “landscape” could be seen. A thin cloud cover blocked the moon from lighting up the sleeping city.
Although the city seemed asleep, when the front door of my host family’s house opened, a rush of joyous energy came bursting out. My host mother warmly welcomed me, and I instantaneously knew I had fallen into a vibrant and “open” family. The slight nervousness I had been feeling in the pit of my stomach disappeared and a sense of excitement replaced it.
What would I discover within the next few days? What hidden mysteries do France and the city of Nantes hold for me? What places in Nantes would I come to deeply appreciate for one reason or another?
This last question was answered the next morning as I slipped on my Mizuno Tennis shoes for an explorative run! Little did I know, my house is located less than 5 minutes, from one of the most well known parks in Nantes. Le Grand-Blottereau, was built between 1742 and 1747 by a ship owner named Thomas Dobree. Upon his death Dobree left the Grand Blottereau Park to the city.
After the appeal of Grand Blottereau’s convenient location, I fell in love with many other aspects of this beautiful park. I recognized the uniqueness of the exotic and tropical tree species such as eucalyptus, pomegranate, olive trees and mimosas. The park actually represents 5 different cultural and environmental regions of the world: a banana forest, a Korean garden, an American Bayou, a Mediterranean Rock Garden, and a French Garden. The French Garden, mindful of architectural propriety, is located directly in front of the chateau.
Two Tropical Greenhouses also sit in front of the chateau. They house France’s only collection of commercially grown exotic plants such as: cotton, rice, cocoa, coffee and mahogany. Thanks to SEVE, Nante’s Parks & Gardens and Environmental Department and their large nursery located within the “Grand Blottereau” grounds, one can also find areas, throughout the park, devoted to lemon, tangerine and grapefruit trees- as well as hot peppers, asparagus, peas and peanut plants.
Since the middle of September I’ve visited the park almost daily. Each time I discover another hidden gem. Whether it is coming across two children playing hide and seek within the miniature tropical jungles or finding a veiled bench next to the American Bayou where I can enjoy a freshly baked almond croissant on an early Sunday morning, I continue to find this park unforgettable. I find tropical plants I’ve never seen before and discover clandestine paths through seemingly little trod paths. I am in awe of this park and the significant work that is put into its upkeep.
There is much history to this park since its gifting to the city by Mr. Dobree. After[K1] World War II it was used to host those who had lost their homes during the war. In 1905 “Le Grand-Blottereau” was adopted by SEVE, who focuses on studying, conceptualizing, realizing and discussing the collections of all municipal green spaces in Nantes. The Grand Blottereau also a houses several small educational facilities: “The Great Blottereau” horticultural High School, the Jules Rieffel High School and CFA’s “green education center of the city of Nantes[K2] .”
Cultural, Educational, Green, Peaceful… : A space far away from the neighboring world of civilization’s emerging and transformation machinations. A blessing, once again, full of trees.
Date Added: October 19, 2010 | Comments Off | Filed under: Carbon Offset,Facts about Trees,Uncategorized — Tags: Facts about Trees, France, Nantes, Parks — treeinabox @ 12:39 pm
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