Collections of the Jardin alpin la Jaÿsinia

This garden was created in 1906 by Marie-Louise Cognacq-Jaÿ, founder of La Samaritaine. It is classed as a Remarkable Garden and comprises 4,800 mountain plants from 2,500 different species.

This garden was created in 1906 by Marie-Louise Cognacq-Jaÿ, founder of La Samaritaine. It is classed as a Remarkable Garden and comprises 4,800 mountain plants from 2,500 different species.

The scientific management of the Jaÿsinia was handed to the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle in 1936.

The garden is sculpted out of a south-facing mountain side dominating the village. The Jaÿsinia covers 3 ha 700 (9 acres).

Although the garden may appear natural today, its structure is in fact completely artificial and took no less than three years to complete. During the construction, 80 workers could be found digging, with pickaxes and crowbars, the paths, ponds and waterfalls (the highest stretches 12m with a flow rate of 100 l/minute), moving rocks, forming corbel arches and building stone walls. The steeply sloping land is composed of limestone rock strata, including ancient natural lapies, which were cleared of the soil covering them. A small chapel (18th century) and the ruins of Tornalta castle (12th century) are still visible in the garden.

The collection of 4,800 specimens includes 2,500 species of mountain flora from all five continents.

The garden is organised into geographical sectors: Alps, Caucasus, Pyrenees, mountains of Spain and North Africa, Mediterranean mountains, Balkans, Middle East, China, Japan, North America, New Zealand. There are also many small perennial species adapted to life among rocks, groundcover and cushion plants, prairie and undergrowth perennials and shrubs and trees of which many are now centenarian: American oaks, giant sequoias, lindens, pines and spruces from America and Asia, among others.

The garden also contains artificially recreated ecological areas: marshes, peat bogs, and granite soils (acidic soils) which required tonnes of rocks to be brought from the Chamonix region. Finally, prairies where the natural vegetation is conserved link up the rockery beds.

The garden has a laboratory that houses a herbarium collection of plants from Savoie and the Alps.

Visit the Jardin alpin La Jaÿsinia

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