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At the Jardin des Plantes Botanical Garden is a corridor filled with cacti, succulents, and arid garden inspiration. The Desert and Arid Land Glasshouse is a must-visit for anyone interested in unusual desert plants.
Today’s rainy day brings back memories of another. One where Josh and I ran huddled through the streets of Paris trying to keep from being drenched by September downpours. We failed in that but eventually made our soggy way into the botanical park that I really wanted to see — the Jardin des Plantes.
Heads down, we jogged into the warmth of the glasshouses and started to dry off. I oohed and ahhed at the displays while he walked along patiently — the long-suffering boyfriend of a gardener. Eventually, we wandered through a side door in the tropical rain forest glasshouse and into a corridor filled with cacti and succulents. It held so many plants that I don’t often come into contact with. And yes, some of them were sharp!
The Diversity of Cacti was Incredible
Once you get an idea in your head it’s sometimes hard to convince yourself out of it. My disregard of Cacti has been one of them. They’ve not been my favourite ever since a neighbour came over with some of them as a gift. I was pleased by her thoughtfulness but shocked by the backstory. Someone else had given them to her but in her culture cacti aren’t kept indoors since their prickly nature brings negativity into the home. Thanks!
Since then I’ve passed them over in favor of prettier and edible plants — some of them succulents. I’ll tell you what though, the display at the Jardin des Plants astonished me with the diversity that this plant family offers. Some are like little green pearls, others are braided tendrils that snake up from fine gravel. Each cactus and succulent was unique and interesting and somehow a piece of art. It was so fitting that the area they were in resembled an art gallery. I’ll let the photos in this piece speak for themselves.
Rainy Days and Winter Months
When the sun is out and the growing year is upon us we’re swamped with sowing schedules, weeding, watering, and harvesting. There’s little time to expand horizons whether it’s reading a new gardening book or visiting a botanical garden.
That’s what rainy days and winter months are for. Learning, exploring, and changing your mind about things you thought you knew. So in these last few weeks before spring do get out and amaze yourself with what you discover. Whether you’re visiting the Jardin des Plantes in Paris or an exhibition or garden closer to home, getting out of your element is one way to becoming a more knowledgeable and open-minded gardener. And if you don’t think you like cacti, maybe it’s time to give them a second chance.
More Succulent Inspiration
Succulents like hen and chicks are really well known, but there are many others that we can grow in our gardens and even indoors! Here’s more inspiration for you to explore and to bring the love of arid lands and desert plants home.
- How to divide and repot Aloe Vera pups from the parent plant
- Transform a large tin can into a succulent planter
- Make a Sea Glass succulent planter
57, Rue Cuvier – Paris ve