Having been in Monaco, we could not help but pay tribute to the dignified woman, talented actress and a real princess – Grace Kelly. 33 years have passed from the day of her death, but the memory of Grace still lives in the hearts of the Monegasques. One evidence of this is the Rosary of Grace Kelly which is included in the top ten gardens in Europe.
This picturesque place is located in a part of Monaco which was reclaimed from the sea half a century ago. From the 22 hectares of a new land, Fontvieille park with Rosary of Grace Kelly takes the fifth part of it.
The garden was opened by Prince Rainier III in 1984 in memory of his beloved wife who was a fond of flowers. This place is not very touristic: despite the peak of the season and the excellent weather, for two hours I have not met a soul at the Rose Garden.
It is worth a look even if you’re not a botanist and even if you are not into varieties of roses. You will be pleased just to walk on well-groomed alleys and enjoy the magical scent. And amateur gardeners will appreciate this place for sure: it has more than 4,000 rose bushes of 150 varieties and forms. And that’s not counting other plants and very interesting landscape compositions.
Princess Grace Rose Garden (La Roseraie Princesse Grace) is open daily during daylight hours. Free admission.
Bushes alternately bloom all year round. But it is believed that the best time to visit this park is the flowering season which begins in the second half of May and lasts until the end of the summer.
On the lawn, you can find quietly strolling geese and ducks.
Rose Garden is located in the heart of the green area around the fountain. If you look at the garden from above, it resembles a revealed rosebud.
Previously here (as well as on the site of the stadium, a residential neighborhood of Fontvieille, a circus and a helipad) was the Mediterranean Sea the depth of which at this point was more than 30 meters. In the sixties, the dam was built there and the space was filled with earth (8 million cubic meters). From these additional 22 hectares, two was given for sports facilities and four for gardens.
It was known everywhere in the principality that Grace Kelly loved flowers. In her life, before becoming a princess, Hollywood star received the most incredible bouquets from fans. Her mandatory rider included flowers in the hotels and dresses with floral motifs became her hallmark.
In 1955 Oscar winner met Prince of Monaco in order to take a photo for the cover of the magazine «Paris Match». Rainier III offered Grace Kelly to make a joint picture in the landscape of gardening complex of his Grimaldi palace. Tropical garden with rare plants, the incredible panorama of the azure sea, friendly Prince, frankly saying, Grace Kelly was impressed. And very soon the monarch, as it is believed in fairy tales, sailed to his chosen one to the US with a proposal of marriage.
Grace agreed. And she exchanged a bright Hollywood career on her primary role- the Princess of Monaco, a wife, and a mother. In 1956, when the wedding of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly took place, House Mejia (the most famous breeders of roses in the world) dedicated a nominal flower to Princess of Monaco – «Grace de Monaco». It can be found at the Rose Garden near the sculpture of Grace.
Incidentally, the wedding veil of Princess was also decorated with roses and Helen Rose (the designer) sewed her dress.
Grace was also very fond of collecting wildflowers and making a panel of dried flowers. When agents persuaded her to exhibit several works on an opening day, a lot of people bought the paintings immediately and charitable princess Fund received millions of Swiss francs. In 1980, 2 years before Grace’s death in a car crash, she released «My Book of Flowers».
Saying Grace Kelly, we mean the «style icon». But she was not just a decoration of her small principality -she was its heart, devoting herself to charity and public affairs. The Red Cross of Monaco under control of Grace has become one of the most famous funds in the world to assist the victims of armed conflicts and natural disasters from Peru to Pakistan.
With her participation the Green Peace Foundation was created, she developed the annual Rose Ball, Christmas trees have been conducted for all children in Monaco. She opened several hospitals and a kindergarten. Thousands of people have received personal assistance from her.
People say it was not that cold cine «Grace de Monaco», who was recently shown on the screens of the world. Played by Nicole Kidman Grace was shown one-sided and flat: a capricious lady fixated only on herself. Throughout the film, she had the sour expressions on her face, the wooden contact with the children and she was easily moved to tears. No wonder that the citizens of Monaco and Royal Family couldn’t understand such a film and such Grace.
But back to the Rose Garden. Their princess was always surrounded by her favorite flowers.
Roses for Garden were not bought. On the eve of the opening, (in 1984, 2 years after the death of Grace) messages about the establishment of the Rosary were sent to all the world’s largest nurseries.
Rosarians from United States, France, England, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Holland and even from New Zealand responded to the letters sending the best breeds as gifts.
In the garden, there are also a lot of olive and yew trees, which create the perfect backdrop for bright blooming roses. Here you can smell amazing flavors: the smell of roses, olive and pine needles mixed with the sea breeze.
Rosary is constantly updated with new varieties often named in honor of the prince’s family members and celebrities.
This garden is entirely supported by ecological gardening. Monaco is traditionally connected to the environment, healthy and harmonious way of life. Not surprisingly, the average life expectancy of the citizens of the Principality is 90 years. On average, Russian residents live 75 years.
«What is so special about a rose that it seems far more than a flower? Perhaps it is the mystery it has gathered through the ages. Perhaps it is the joy that it continues to give». Princess Grace of Monaco, «My Book of Flowers».