Around 1767-1770, the intendant Cyr Honoré de Crémont was given the mission of creating a garden in the axis of the rue Royale (current rue de Paris) of the town of Saint-Denis of Reunion. Called the “Royal Garden”, it is an acclimatization garden designed to introduce new plant spaces that are useful to the colony. Expanded at the end of the 18th century, the Royal Garden covers more than four hectares.
Here is a description of the garden as it looked at the time: “A large central alley, bordered by a colonnade of tall trees, extended the perspective of the street.
In the western part, alleys drawn with a line and flowerbeds drawn in a star recall the French formal gardens of the 17th and 18th centuries, while in the eastern part, dozens of flower beds accommodated the seedlings ”.
The Dionysians very quickly invested this Eden, which became one of the most popular places to walk.
The apogee of the Jardin d'Acclimatation
In 1817, the garden was entrusted to Nicolas Bréon, the first titular gardener. During fourteen years, crossing the Indian Ocean, he brought back an impressive number of fruit trees and seeds. He stages his finds from Africa, Asia, India and Europe, in thematic beds, offering visitors a plant show that is also educational. Bréon's work will be continued from 1831 to 1869 by Claude Richard.
It is generally considered that this period constitutes the golden age of the garden from the point of view of the enrichment of its collections and the intensity of external exchanges. Are introduced on the island: breadfruit, lychee, cocoa, mango, avocado, badamier, mangosteen, longan, nutmeg, clove, black pepper, cinnamon ...
In 1834, a sign of the prestige of the garden, the Legislative Palace was built there, the seat of the Colonial Council (and now the Museum of Natural History).
Restoration of the State Garden
Reconnect with the aesthetic of the Jardin d'Antan
The desire to safeguard a unique garden in Reunion with an exceptional collection of rare species and to make it an essential reference in the network of botanical gardens in Reunion Island and the Indian Ocean region are at the origin of the restoration work undertaken by the Department.
On December 29, 1978, the State Garden was classified as a “Historic Monument”, given its botanical and historical interest. It is this particular status which is at the origin of the architectural and landscaped approach adopted for the restoration of this garden:
• restitution of the historical composition of the Garden in the 19th century.
• preservation of rare and remarkable trees in the garden.
• launch a replanting program to restore the atmosphere of the garden in the 19th century.
• creation of a botanical enclosure in the western part, a scientific and educational space which will reconnect with the primary vocation of the Garden.
For more than gardens in Reunion consult our interactive map.