Visit Latour Marliac Le Jardin des Nenuphars
The Latour Marliac - Jardin des Nenuphars is at Temple sur Lot in the Lot et Garonne department of south west France.
This is a really charming water lily garden that has been in operation since 1875 and has the National Collection of water lilies including 200 hardy and tropical water lily varieties. There is also an attractive garden around a small lake. The gardens are classiefied as a 'Jardin Remarquable', a 'Remarkable Garden'.
Explore the Latour Marliac water lily garden
Mr Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac was the first to hybridize hardy water lilies, he carried out this work at this nursery which first opened in 1875. At the time the only hardy water lily that was hardy in Europe was the white water lily, Nymphaea alba. Latour-Marliac crossed this with tropical waterlilies which are much more colourful and with other water lilies from around the world and developed a range of hardy water lilies ranging in colour from yellow to pink to deep red.
Latour Marliac exhibited his hybrid water lilies at the Universal Exhibition at Paris in 1889 and his display was a sensation and received first prize in its category. The water lilies were admired by many famous people of the time, including Claude Monet who bought some for his water garden at Giverny and immortalised these water lily hybrids in his famous paintings "Les Nymphens".
The Latour Marliac water lily garden covers 3 hectares with dozens of ponds dedicated to the growth and propogation of water lilies and lotus plants, as well as a small lake and garden.
Upon entering the gardens the first part to explore is the large greenhouse containing the huge Victoria water lily and other nocturnal water lilies. The Victoria water lily has huge leaves which can reach 2 meters in diameter and large flowers of 50cms. These originate in the Amazon and so the greenhouse maintains a hot and humid atmosphere for them.
Next explore the eighty rectangular ponds that have been designed to propogate and store the 200 varieties of water lilies sold by the Latour Marliac gardens. As you walk round you are accompanied by the loud chorus of the frogs that live in the ponds.
The highlight of the garden is the beautiful area of original ponds built in 1870 by Mr Bory Latour Marlia in the Art Nouveau style that was fashionable at the time. The National Collection of Nymphae are displayed in these ponds and the colours are wonderful.
On the edges of the ponds are lots of terracotta pots. These were used by Bory Latour-Marliac for propogation. If you put a water lily rhizome in a bowl of water in full sun it will rapidly produce new plants and this is how the original propogation was done at Latour Marliac.
As well as waterlilies there are also lotus plants in some of the ponds. Lotus flowers are very large peony-like flowers. Each flower lasts 3 days and when the petals drop you are left with the distinctive seed head so often used in flower arrangements. To see the Lotus plants in flower you need to visit the garden in July and August.
There is a lovely restaurant on the edge of the art nouveau ponds and so you can enjoy a delicious lunch and admire the water lilies at the same time!
Next to the restaurant is the Latour-Marliac museum. Amongst the exhibits you can see the correpondance between Latour Marliac and Claude Monet!
There is also a garden planted around a small lake where you can enjoy the beauty of the water lilies in a garden setting and sit and relax and soak up the sun. On the edge of the lake is a statue of Bory Latour-Marliac and it has a small japanese style bridge across it - a nod to Claude Monet and the garden he created at Giverny using water lilies bought from Latour Marliac.
Latour-Marliac garden guide
The nursery and garden is open every day except Mondays from 10.00-18.00 from 15 May to 15 October.
There is also a nice restaurant where you can have lunch. Cafe Marliacea is open from 1 May to 30 September, 10.00 to 18.00.
This garden is near Villeneuve sur Lot in the Lot et Garonne departement.
Address: Latour Marliac S.A, 47110 Le Temple sur Lot
April : water iris, wisteria
May : hardy water lilies bearded iris, roses
June : hardy and tropical water lilies, Japanese iris, roses
July : hardy and tropical water lilies, Victoria giant water lily, lotus, roses
August : hardy and tropical water lilies, Victoria giant water lily, lotus, roses
September : hardy and tropical water lilies, Victoria giant water lily, roses
October : hardy and tropical water lilies, Victoria giant water lily.
Gardens to visit nearby
There is a pleasant garden in Marmande - the Jardins de Beauchamp which is attached to an excellent garden centre.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.