Here’s some positive news from the South of France: spring is in the air! Every year, at the end of January/beginning of February, spring is ushered in by the luscious blooming mimosa trees. Yellow dots appear in the landscape and when you come closer, the scent of the beautiful little silky clouds of golden flowers will make you long for warmer, sunny days. If you can’t come to the South of France to admire the blooming mimosa trees, I’ll virtually bring them to you through this post.
One of the best places in Languedoc to enjoy flowering mimosas is Roquebrun. Situated on the banks of the Orb River, this beautiful village is locally known as the Nice of Hérault. As it benefits from a microclimate, it is also perfect for mimosa to grow. Hills from the north, as well as the east and west, protect Roquebrun when the Tramontane wind clears the sky. I experienced this firsthand, leaving a cloudy Béziers, to arrive in a sun-soaked Roquebrun. The sky completely broke open just before Roquebrun!
After fittingly parking my car under some abundantly blooming mimosa trees in the car park next to the Tourist Office, I headed to the Jardin Méditerranéen. Although closed in February, founder Christophe Pialot opened the doors for me for an informative private tour. He explained that it was, in fact, the English who had brought the mimosa tree to France from Australia. Some 150 years ago, wealthy English introduced this beautiful flowering tree to the Côte d’Azur. From here, the mimosas travelled further southward and even reached Roquebrun with its microclimate.
Winter floral display
A piece of advice from Mr Pialot is to be careful which type of mimosa you buy if you want to enjoy this winter floral display in your own garden. You can buy three types in France, from which the ‘Mimosa greffé’ is the best. This mimosa will give the most beautiful flowers, is stronger and grows best in chalk ground. Besides the three types, there are hundreds of varieties, like for example the ‘Gaulois’ or ‘Mirandole’.
The Mediterranean Garden has several mimosa varieties, with different sizes and shades of flowers and leaves. Different varieties have different periods of flowering, with some starting as late as April. So, you might still spot them when the garden opens its doors in April (when the health crisis permits). As some of the Mediterranean Garden’s mimosa trees are planted next to each other, I could clearly see the difference in the varieties. The fluffy yellow dotted flowers matched perfectly with the blue sky and gave me the ultimate view of the Orb river and the Montagne Noire’s foothills. With a temperature of 18 C, it definitely felt like one of the first spring days of the year!