One of my favorite events that usually kicks off spring in Geneva, as well as a flurry of free, public events is the Nuit des Musées (Night of Museums). It is always takes place the Saturday night before International Museum Day (this year: Saturday May 21st). For last year’s event, we ventured to the Ariana Museum. This year we decided to reconnect with nature instead. The theme for 2016 was magic (click here to see the full program).
The Conservatory and Botanical Garden of Geneva had a full programme planned for the night but F suggested that we go for the nighttime tour called:
“La magie des parfums nocturnes Les parfums du Jardin des senteurs: ces élixirs aux pouvoirs envoutants”
(or, “The magic of noctural perfumes – The perfumes of the scented garden: from its elixirs to its bewitching powers”)
When we got there, there were no more spots left for the tour (they maxed out at 15!) but one of the Garden employees told us we could participate anyway (I guess we must’ve looked very disappointed), so we caught the last tour at 11pm. It was led by a gardener-botanist who took us through the far depths of the Botanical Garden that most people never get to see; it seems to be mostly used for research.
For over forty-five minutes, he told us about various plants, their histories, and gave us their leaves to touch, crush and smell.
We learned so much! Did you know that Louis XIV loved gardens (think Versailles!)? Jean-Jacques Rousseau (philosopher, writer and a Geneva native!) heavily criticized Louis XIV since he felt that gardens disfigured nature.
There’s also this cool plant (joubarbe in French) that grows on rocks and can withstand harsh weather conditions.
Below is my favorite from the night! After a series of delicious, sweet smells, we were given a huge surprise with this one (read the caption below!).
We even saw a flock of sheep that are kept on the Botanical Garden’s premises for natural lawn-mowing purposes!
The Botanical Garden is gearing up for a cool series of events, including those that fall under an upcoming exhibition on tropical plants, in honor of Zurich native and naturalist, Conrad Gessner. Don’t miss out! It’s one of my favorite places to hang out in the spring/summer.