Today’s post is the second in a new series here on HPH! As I’ve said previously, this seasonal shift means that houseplant repotting will pause for a few months as many plants get ready for their winter rest. So in lieu of my regular ‘repotting diaries’ blogposts (+ as we are spending more time indoors) I wanted to take this time to share some of the green spaces I have visited instead. I thought it would be a nice way to virtually visit botanical gardens together as I’ve not shared any of these trips before. I’ll save these under a ‘HPH visits…’ tab on my homepage + I hope you enjoy! So make a hot drink of choice + lets meander through some verdurous views.
*FYI, my normal houseplant content + care posts will continue through the Winter months as always, so please send any blogpost requests my way if there is anything you’d like me to cover.
For today’s ‘HPH visits…’ we are heading to France! I love this part of the world + this was my second time visiting Bordeaux, which has quickly become one of my favourite places for a few days away. As I write this, the idea of cross-border travel seems like a distant memory right now, but hopefully things will look up next year. I’ve travelled to Bordeaux two different ways — by train + plane. I prefer to use the train where possible as I love train travel + two years ago the Eurostar opened up a new line from Paris to Bordeaux. I quickly booked some tickets and spent two days getting from my home in the UK to France. I got the train to London then the Eurostar from Kings Cross to Paris, then the TGV from Paris to Bordeaux, which took around 2 + a half hours… half the time it took me to get to Kings Cross from my apartment (around 5 hours)! These photos are from a trip I took last Spring + as I was more familiar with the city this time around, I explored the outskirts a bit more + headed to the Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux.
Poppies on the roadside on the way to Jardin Botanique de Bordeaux…
The contemporary modular greenhouses have a modest construction + as you can see from the photo below, the wooden frame is encased by an angular translucent framework. I bet these structures look great when illuminated at night! They aren’t huge in scale which creates quite an intimate experience as you walk through them, which can sometimes be lost in larger glasshouses.
One of the first views as you enter the greenhouses below left… this has been my laptop background for the last few months + it really encapsulates the softness of the light here — it felt so tranquil strolling through the dappled sunshine. The planting in this area has a distinctly blue tone which transitions to more verdurous, green hues before taking a cooler aesthetic once more with the statuesque eucalyptus.
In terms of the architectural design of the greenhouses, they are obviously a more modern construction than some of the more traditional botanic gardens. Inside, the wooden elements add a warmth + a softness that I think works really well with the planting + due to the materials, they sit well amongst the trees within the space. The metal framework of some of the older Victorian structures give a more industrial feel to the glasshouses, which has its own charm of course.
I was impressed by the selection of carnivorous plants. They were displayed in a really accessible way — the magnifying glasses added an interactive element to the experience + really encouraged you to pause + look closer at these diminutive plantings. Two of my favourites were the drosera display — commonly known as sundews (below right — through the glass) + the zingy lime pinguicula or butterworts (second row, the photo on the left). Lots of interesting varieties of Lithops too!
I loved the display of what we generally know as pond plants, or aquatic plants + at the time of visiting this, I’d been experimenting with growing these myself indoors so it was fantastic to see a larger show of Equisetum, or barred horsetail grass here. The bamboo-like structure adds an elegant height to boggy planting displays as you can see below.
The next few photos give an idea how the outdoor gardens sit within the site — I imagine these apartment buildings are highly sought after, I know I would certainly like a view like this out of my window!
Plant spotting… I always like to see eucalyptus growing in pots on balconies — the grey-green, silvery tones look great in this white space. In my next place, I’d love to grow a tree in a pot near my door. I know they can be invasive when planted in the ground, so this will be an experiment to see if they will remain happy in a large planter with annual pruning.
Above: French clouds in blue skies + the bonsai garden to the right, me in the photo for scale!
The water garden was a simple design that allowed the aquatic plants stand out + there were lots of interesting varieties of waterlilies that always look so serene, but also understated in this setting.
I hope you enjoyed the second instalment in this little blog series. The next place I will share will be the Barbican Conservatory, so if you are a fan of brutalist architecture + lots of plants, that’ll be up in a few weeks. Until next time, hope you are staying safe.
Here’s a pin to save this post or to share with anyone that might be interested in visiting these lovely gardens: