Lovely Le Jardin d’Essai
Located on the outskirts of the city of Algiers, Le Jardin d’Essai dates back to 1832 when the then ruling French government took the initiative to establish a botanical garden for the preservation and propagation of all the country’s indigenous plants, for both their aesthetic and their economic value. This soon expanded to include a wide variety of foreign plants that proved suitable to the climatic conditions of Algeria.
A piece of ground situated between the sea and the public road outside Algiers was chosen as the site for the botanical garden, which came to be known as Le Jardin d’Essai (Essai’s Garden). Recognizing that agriculture was a crucial element of successful colonization and a program of experimental testing was embarked on to see what plants would best adapt to the Algerian climate. The Eucalyptus tree from Australia quickly adapted in its new environment and was soon being grown all over Algeria. In fact, most Algerians view the tree as native to their country.
In addition to providing a testing ground for scientific research, Le Jardin d’Essai presents an opportunity for the people of the city to enjoy nature right on their doorstep. Many young couples are said to have declared their undying love while enjoying the beauty of the garden, and because there was no obvious French influence in the garden, it was seen as acceptable by Algerians.
Visitors to this popular tourist attraction soon come to appreciate the diversity of nature as they walk down a pathway lined with enormous date palms, stroll past sago palms from Japan and China, admire the spiky yucca from South America, or sit in the shade of an ancient Norfolk Island pine tree. A large pond with a sparkling fountain lies in the midst of manicured green lawn, with colorful flowers forming a border around the edge, while a series of steps and pathways leads visitors through the lush greenery and conveniently placed benches invite you to relax. Certainly, Le Jardin d’Essai is one of the must-see attractions of Algiers.