1980, Neil Huck, Student Exchange At Les Cedres, France

Student visit to “Les Cedres”

By Neil Huck

During the summer of 1 980, I went on a working visit to Le Jardin Botanique” Les Cedres” in the south of France. My visit was arranged through Kew as part of the student exchange scheme.

The plant collection at “Les Cedres” was founded and is still maintained by the Marnier La Postolle family. Bromeliads and Cacti form the main part of this vast and world renowned collection. The cultivation of these groups of plants, many of them from South America, has proved very successful in the mediterranean climate at “Les Cedres”.

I was able to botanise in the nearby Maritime Alps during my visit. There I found many interesting plants including Lilium pomponium, Gentiana lutea and various Allium sp. Situated high on the rocks above nearby Monte-Carlo is Le Jardin Exotique. The large collection of Cacti there thrive outside all the year round. I was interested to see some very large specimens of Neobuxbaumia and Echinocactusgrusonii.

When my three weeks at ‘Les Cedres” ended, I toured Europe with the aid of a grant awarded to me by the Kew Guild. I was able to visit Lago Maggiore on the Swiss Italian border. There I saw the famous gardens at Villa Taranto. On the tiny island of Brissago, I visited a botanic garden set up by the Swiss government containing many exotic plants being grown as an acclimatisation experiment. Then I headed north through the Swiss Alps where I found spring flowers still blooming in the higher mountain regions in late August. While in Switzerland, I also took the opportunity to visit the excellent Cactus gardens in Zurich.

I found my visit extremely useful and enjoyable. The Guild Award made it possible for me to tour and see more than I would otherwise have been able to.


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