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Once upon a time , there was mimosa …

We are particularly fond of mimosa at Villa Fontane as it is the national flower of Australia, Jane’s homeland, where it is called silver wattle! 

Mimosa flowers are also closely associated with the French Riviera where they have been flourishing since the nineteenth century.  The climate and soil suit this plant so well that it grows wild on the roadside in an explosion of colour during the months of January and February. Mimosas are part of the Acacia family and are evergreen trees with feathery silver leaves.  Their golden yellow blossoms are small round pompoms with dozens of stamens that bloom as clusters on the tips of branches.

Mimosa may be used as a cut flower for bouquets, in rock gardens and hedges as well as being essential to the famous perfumeries in the town of Grasse.  In the United States mimosa flowers are used as a symbol of International Women’s Day.

When first introduced into the south of France, mimosa was grown in the Croix de Gardes Park in Cannes.  From there, the local Horticultural Society dispatched young plants around the region to Mandelieu, Pégomas, Tanneron or La Roquette, before it became a popular addition to gardens in major towns in France and throughout Europe.

Nowadays this bright golden flower is a strong attraction for those city-dwellers wishing to escape grey cities at the end of winter.  The tiny yellow suns contrast with the clear Mediterranean sky and provide a strong dose of energy to give the extra peps needed at this time of year, especially this year!

The Mimosa Trail extends 130 kilometres from Bormes-les-Mimosas in the Var to Grasse in the Alpes-Maritimes.  The ideal period to plan your trip is from January to the beginning of March – the fragrance is everywhere and the forests are turned to gold.  Many of the towns in the French Riviera organise flower festivals to coincide with the blossoms – Fête de la Mimosa.  It’s a brilliant way to discover the coastal towns and unspoilt hill-top villages.

 

 

Fête de Mimosa programme 2021

Bormes-les-Mimosas   walking trails open

Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer  visit the Domaine du Rayol Mediterranean Garden:                                                                                      guided tours on 22, 29 January and 5, 12, 19 and 26 February

Sainte-Maxime 6th and 7th February

Saint-Raphaël  1st to 6th February

Tanneron (83) 7th February 2021

Mandelieu-la-Napoule  17th to 24th February

Pégomas  famous as the village with the most mimosas!

Grasse  31st January

 

HIKES AND WALKS ALL YEAR ROUND.…

Mimosas, parasol pines, olive trees – these are the scents that contribute to the Riviera landscape but are also the fruit of a long voyage.  “The Golden Road” that winds through the largest mimosa forest in Europe, the Maures Massif and Cape Esterel offers sublime seascapes backed by the snow-topped Southern Alps mountain range and provides a multitude of places to find and make your own, whether travelling alone, as a couple or with a group of friends.  Here you’ll appreciate that mimosa is at the  crossroads of Nature and Culture!

A series of exceptional private and public gardens invite you to discover Mediterannean essences and to travel around the world.  From Chili, Argentina and South Africa to Australia you will observe varied collections in these unique gardens …. Le Parc Gonzalez in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Domaine du Rayol in Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer, Le Jardin Botanique des Myrtes in Sainte Maxime, Le Jardin des Mimosas in Pégomas and the gardens of the Musée International de la Parfumerie in Grasse.

FOCUS ON LE RAYOL-CANADEL-SUR-MER, close to  Villa Fontane Provence.

Le Rayol-Canadel is a charming, quiet village created in 1925 as a seaside resort for La Môle.  Built on 300 hectares of land overlooking the Porqueroles Islands, it became an autonomous entity in 1949.  It has three separate beachfronts spread along four kilometres between wooded hills on the Maures Cliffs coastal road.  It has retained a rather old-fashioned, traditional atmosphere with small family-run restaurants and cafés.

JARDINS DU DOMAINE DU RAYOL

Between Le Lavandou and Saint-Tropez, this Mediterranian garden was created by the landscape gardener Gilles Clément as an invitation to voyage around the globe.  Covering 20 hectares opposite the Hyères Islands, the multiple terraces offer themed gardens from different climates – varying from the most arid to subtropical.  Visitors are welcomed into the world of adventurous botanists.

 

Let’s finish with two Mimosa recipes:

 

Mimosa Cocktail

( to be drunk in moderation, of course ! )

For each glass:   4cl of champagne, 8cl of orange juice, 1 teaspoon of Cointreau or Grand Marnier. Cucumber to decorate.

 

 

Devilled Eggs / Oeufs Mimosa

 

  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and then cook eggs for 10 minutes.
  • Place the eggs in cold water before removing the shells.
  • Cut each egg in half lengthwise.
  • Separate the yolks from the whites.
  • Mix the yolks with mayonnaise, salt, pepper and chopped chives.
  • Place the mixture into the whites.
  • Sprinkle the remaining yolks over the eggs to decorate.
  • Add a parsley or mint leaf for colour.
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