In keeping with the spirit and atmosphere that J.-H. Fabre left behind at his "entomological laboratory", the property's original layout has been restored: the pleasure garden, a garrigue scrubland, a woodland where some of the larger trees were planted by J.-H. Fabre, as well as a vegetable garden, pond, fountain, well and lavoir.
Adjacent to the study and ideally facing south, the small unheated greenhouse that J.-H. Fabre had built in 1880 is home to frost-sensitive plants. It houses a collection of pelargoniums and a number of exotic species such as citrus, banana and stonecrops... It is open to visits with one of the Harmas gardeners, but only by appointment and only in summer, once it has been cleared of its residents.
The lilac path
This is the official entrance to the Harmas, used by distinguished visitors, as on the occasion of J.-H. Fabre's jubilee in 1910, and in 1914 when French President Raymond Poincaré came to pay the Republic's respects. By May, the path would become "a chapel", with the trees bending "under the weight of the flower bunches". A project to expand the lilac collection is currently under consideration.
The pleasure garden
With its maze of pathways, the ornamental garden beckons you to the pond and the 500 or so plant species that surround it, including varieties of horticultural shrubs and Mediterranean plants introduced by J.-H. Fabre and his successors. It’s a world tour of plants in a nutshell: Tatarian honeysuckle, Japanese spirea, Spanish broom, and more.
The perennial harmas
This stretch of land is once again home to burgeoning biodiversity. With its thyme, rosemary, rockroses, thistles and cornflowers, it is reminiscent of the etymology of the word harmas, which means "fallow land" in Provençal. Imagine the naturalist setting his traps and indulging in his favourite pastime: a one-on-one encounter with an insect.
The wooded harmas
At the far end of the garden, you’ll enter the wooded harmas of holm and kermes oaks, Aleppo pines, terebinths, fig trees, smoke trees and bay laurel. Other trees from further afield also make an appearance, including the Atlas cedar and the California incense cedar, known for its dense wood and distinctive scent.
The orchard and kitchen garden
A faithful recreation of Provençal food gardens, the kitchen garden features square beds of aromatics, vegetables and curiosities. The adjoining orchard hosts a range of fruit trees, including jujube, plum, peach, apricot and almond.
What ingenuity! J.-H. Fabre devised all sorts of ways to carry out his experiments on "bugs". The predator cage was used to study the feeding and reproduction of the yellow scorpion; the rotting chamber was used to study the degradation of necrophagous insects; the minotaur observatory was used to probe the subterranean life of this dung beetle; and the osmia hotel, the original of which can be seen in his study, was used to understand the egg-laying process of this wild bee.
The south terrace
At the front of the house, enjoy a poetic break on this inviting shady terrace... just as J.-H. Fabre once entertained his friends from the Félibres, a group of poets and writers who promoted the Provençal language. For a long time, he used the area to acclimatise precious and exotic plants, which he would bring out of the greenhouse for the summer.
The Ventoux terrace
Your visit ends here on this beautiful terrace with its view of Mont Ventoux, the summit that reigns over the region. Before settling at the Harmas, J.-H. Fabre was in the habit of climbing it regularly. In those days, he went on expeditions with his friends to describe the plant life and how it changed with altitude. Fancy climbing the "giant of the Vaucluse"?