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Garden Dedicated to Princess Diana

February 14, 2001

PARIS (AP) _ The city of Paris dedicated a garden and children’s nature center on Wednesday to the late Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in the French capital more than three years ago.

Off a quiet street in the Marais, one of Paris’ oldest neighborhoods, Mayor Jean Tiberi opened the $1.3 million project at the Clos des Blancs Manteaux, a former school restyled as a medieval French garden and environmental workshop.

``I wish this center to be a tribute to a woman whose kind heart showed a fondness for nature, people and especially children,″ Tiberi said at a ceremony that was also attended by Britain’s ambassador to France, Michael Jay.

The site is the first Paris memorial to Princess Diana, though admirers still lay flowers at the Flame of Liberty _ an unofficial shrine above the traffic tunnel where she died on Aug. 31, 1997.

Under a brilliant blue sky, the mayor and ambassador toured the still barren garden, which was planted last month and opened to the public last week. Student groups have exclusive run of the park during the week and it will be open to the public on weekends and holidays.

Once the garden blooms, sunflowers and lilies, fruit trees, radishes and herbs will be among the 250 species growing from several dozen narrow plots, which take their design from classic French gardens.

Inside an adjacent workshop, children will examine the gardens’ bounty, brew tea from its herbs and learn about composting, recycling and nature conservation.

During a tour of the 1,200 square-yard garden, the British ambassador voiced thanks for the memorial, describing it as ``a haven of peace where the voices of children sound.″ He read a note on behalf of the royal family and Diana’s family, the Spencers.

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