U Giardinu di l’Isuli
The Islands Garden
Created in 1998, this garden dedicated to subtropical and tropical species emanates from a former garden created in the north of Corsica in 1984. Lots of plants have been rescued with some difficulty due to a different soil composition and the lack of moisture. Those which have readapted are now in full growth.
The estate of almost one hectare, carefully chosen for its south-south-east exposure, is 1.3 km off the seashore. The steepness of the sole of 35% allows the cold air in winter to run down and therefore prevent any frost forming on the land. Since 1998, the annual temperature average is 17.8°C, which is 1.3°C higher than the very privileged town of Menton on the Côte d’Azur. Frost was unknown here until 2012 when the lowest temperature has been recorded with -0.5°C for a quarter of an hour during february 6th night.
Wind is still a problem for some acclimatized plants (of the twenty four transplanted tree-ferns, only four have survived) even though the garden is quite protected by a forest canopy which has been largely maintained during the settlement.
The plant collection is estimated at around 1400 species mostly of subtropical and tropical origin with no cultivars (with few exceptions, such as hibiscus rosa-sinensis) represented by 4000 plants.
From the steepness and the already existing vegetation which needed to be kept, the track to the house winds for 250 meters naturally delimiting seven islets of greenery. Therefore, the idea came to me to dedicate each islet to a geographic zone, to help during the transplantations but also to give visitors a better understanding of the vegetation of those zones.
Their choice has been guided by the plants which had to be reinstalled, so from the entrance at the foot of the slope, beyond a fence, an islet devoted to Mediterranean plants, the first zone shows plants from Australia and New-Zealand, then comes the zone for South-East Asia. Following the track, one finds an islet devoted to New – Caledonia and the Pacific Islands, and then upwards the Macaronesia zone somewhat extended (Canary Islands, Madeira and the Atlantic coast of Morocco). Facing on the other side is the Central and South America zone and, towards the end, closer to the house, is the Southern Africa zone where the plants from South Africa and Madagascar are shown. If you want to know more about the property, click here.
But why this name « U Giardinu di l’Isuli » which means "The Islands Garden” in south Corsican language?
Islets …, Isles …, for more than half the plants come from islands …, on an island, maybe the most beautiful one: Corsica …, my island ….