Each season its wonder The four seasons in the Gardens

The Garden being open all year round, you have the opportunity to discover landscapes of the world with a Mediterranean climate, in every season!


In winter, the gardens become a place for delightful strolls in search of spots warmed by the low-lying sun. In quick succession, there is a wafting of the intermingled scents of the eucalyptus, mimosas and freesias in bloom in the middle of winter. These winter walks are precious moments in the glorious sunshine – although the sun is too low in the sky to provide any real heat and there are long shadows. Take a long, deep breath of the crisp fresh air and feel the calm.

Winter blooms

Mediterranean climates are characterised by their winter blooms. As they are forced to adapt to summer droughts which can last more than 6 months, some trees choose to bloom during the winter months. They take advantage of wet periods. This adaptation also corresponds to the cycle of pollinators, insects and vertebrates. In this way, Mediterranean climates are similar to tropical climates: the rhythms of vegetation are more in sync with the cycles of rainfall and drought than with the annual temperature cycle.

Austral Landscapes

Once again very green after the autumn rains, the austral landscapes are the most colourful of all.
In Australia, the different species growing in the mimosa grove come into bloom at different times throughout December to March. In South Africa, the aloes are in full bloom, surrounded by carpets of blue Felicia asteraceae, and lower down, little orange asters called Dimorphoteca sinuata.
The Erythrina lysistemon begins the long flowering season with its scarlet flowers.


Spring in the garden demonstrates all the bounty, abundance and exuberance of nature. With the humidity left behind by the winter rains, and the warmth in the air and soil from the sun which is once again high on the horizon, plants can grow freely.

It is important for plants to find solutions to their lack of mobility. They are forced to join forces with mobile beings, invertebrate animals such as insects and vertebrates such as birds and bats, in order to ensure pollination. They adopt a wide range of strategies, which can be observed in the landscapes evoked in the Jardin des Méditerranées.

Effusion of colours and scents

You can see the scarlet flowers of South African coral trees, the Chilean Puyas with their abundance of large electric blue stalks and nectar-filled flowers, the Australian callistemons and melaleucas with their bottlebrush-like inflorescences, the New Zealand manuka which light up the stipa grassland with their carmine flowers, the Californian Romneya poppy with its large yellow-centred white flowers, the Japanese fringed iris’ vast white, pink and purple carpet of delicate flowers in the shade of the bamboo and Caryota palm trees from subtropical Asia, and the dazzling flowers of the South African Aizoaceae.

The abundance of flowers blooming in spring is understood to be a huge, vital impetus from plants to ensure that the pollen (male seed) meets the ovules (female gametes). The two sexes coming together is made possible by the evolutionary alliance between plants and animals, meaning that pollination can take place.


Summer in the gardens means the arrival of drought and heat, sparsely punctuated by a few storms that are always very welcome for the vegetation.
In the shade of the Mediterranean sun, in the hollow of the valley, respite is to be found under the tree ferns of the New Zealand landscape, in the bamboo forest in the subtropical Asian landscape, by the waterfall, or in the meadow in the subtropical American landscape.

How plants adapt during summer

Plants are forced to find solutions to the lack of water and desiccation. It is not so much the certain heat but the irregularity of the quantity of water available that makes this season so harsh. Plants adopt a wide range of strategies, which can be observed in the landscapes evoked in the Jardin des Méditerranées. There are those that prefer to disappear, spending the harsh months either as seeds or buried in the soil as roots, rhizomes or bulbs. There are those who live in slow motion, often keeping their leaves tough, small, or hanging down so as to expose the least amount of surface area possible to the sun at its zenith. There are those who slowly distil their essential oils to better retain their water. And there are those who take advantage of the nocturnal cool to bloom at night! They join forces with nocturnal pollinators, mainly butterflies in the Mediterranean region and bats in other lands.

Fire in the Mediterranean region

In summer in the gardens, the guides tell of the plants’ struggle for water in order to survive – a motionless and invisible struggle that nonetheless requires perfect adaptation. And as soon as the west wind blows, fire spreads. Mediterranean vegetation is dependent on fire for its renewal and reproduction. All Mediterranean plants are adapted to the passage of fire. Naturally, as it ages, vegetation accumulates dry wood following the drought cycles typical of the Mediterranean climate. After a fire, people see only the devastation of familiar landscapes, whereas plants take advantage of this redistribution of space and access to the sun to reproduce, germinate and rejuvenate.


In the Mediterranean climate, autumn is the rainy season, punctuated by gales and storms. The Mediterranean climate is therefore similar to tropical climates. Some years, however, the summer drought lasts a few months longer – only a small amount of rainfall allows the plants to survive and complete their annual cycles.

The awakening of the plants

Some plants flower the day after rain, such as Kleinia neriifolia, with its abundance of cream-coloured flowers. This cousin of ragwort is a succulent plant that loses its leaves during the dry season.

The planting period

It is also the planting season: the days get shorter, the temperature decreases, it rains, etc. By planting in autumn, generally speaking, plants are likely to recover better and grow well. This is because the soil is still warm and rainfall is abundant. The plants have time to settle in before winter sets in and, most importantly, to take root before facing the summer drought. Thereafter, just small amounts of water will suffice the following summer – a simple gesture to help support the planet !