In late 2017, Prince Albert II and a host of Monegasque dignitaries, such as Archbishop Bernard Barsi and Minister of State Serge Telle, inaugurated the new botanical centre of the Jardin Exotique park and reserve in the north of the principality following two years of extensive conservation and construction efforts.
The transportation of over 10,000 plants – some in pots and other young seedlings in their trays – began in November 2016 and was completed during this summer. 85% of the plants are classed as ‘under protection’ or threatened species, and they were complex to move. The largest measured 11 metres in height, the heaviest was over two tonnes and the oldest was an aloe eminens, which was introduced to the care of the park in 1954. The centre is also home to a rare type of mammillaria glochidiata, a cactus native to Mexico but declared exist in the wild.
“The well-planned moving operation managed by the Jardin Exotique de Monaco team was a true challenge,” said Mayor Georges Marsan during the ceremony. “We had to ensure that our collection of cacti and other succulents were kept in optimum conditions throughout the process. We can say today that all of our precious plants are responding well.”
In total, it took two years for architects Fabrice Notari and Rudy Ricciotti to complete the project, which combines 900sqm of green housing across three levels and 1,000sqm of sheltered space in an area near the Nouveau Musée de Monaco and Musée d'Anthropologie Préhistorique. Staff quarters make up the remaining 200sqm.
From spring 2018, the public will be able to view the centre from a pathway following the exterior of the greenhouses. Later next year, in September, guided tours will be possible as part of the ticket to the Jardin Exotique and Grotte de l’Observatoire.