Theme The Europe of Gardens

Published on 23.03.2018
The theme chosen resonates particularly in this year 2018 proclaimed "European Year of Cultural Heritage" by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.
Jardin du Lautaret, Villar d'Arène (05)
© Jardin alpin du Lautaret
Jardin du Lautaret, Villar d'Arène (05)

Gardens have always been at the heart of the heritage shared by Europeans. Since the Renaissance, garden art treatises, plans, parterres, engravings and other images have been circulating all over Europe. Treaties are translated into many languages and reissued frequently.

As Jacques Delille's poem "Les Jardins ou l’Art d’embellir les paysages" translated in Polish, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, German, English, Italian, and Dutch, the fame of this work far surpassed the borders of France.

In the eighteenth century, as architects or painters, gardeners executed their "Grand Tour". They traveled from England to Greece, even to Turkey, passing through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy to visit the ancient or baroque monuments and the gardens of the great royal and princely mansions, and exchange knowledge and know-how.

Botanists conduct missions around the world and exchange their plant material and observations. The Swede Carl von Linné maintains connections with the Dutch Gronovius, Clifford and Boerhaave, the English Philip Miller, the Austrian Scopoli, Queen Catherine II of Russia and the French Bernard de Jussieu, Philibert Commerson and Claude Richard.

Today, botanists and herbarium still participate in European and global networks.

Plants also circulate. The nineteenth century is considered the golden age of horticulture in Europe, many horticultural establishments flourish and thrive. The plant catalogs are multilingual to meet an increased taste for plants. Plants previously collected are now the subject of mercantile exchange. This phenomenon sketches the transition from scientific botany to capitalist botany, like an industry spreading across Europe.

Some professional networks such as landscapers have emerged in Europe. In 1948, at the initiative of British landscape architects, the first international professional organization of landscape architects, IFLA (International Federation of Landscape Architects) was created. Gardeners and garden designers built this organization with the awareness of a common vocation and a vision to defend.

The construction of a Europe of gardens also involves these garden study trips that we make throughout Europe with pleasure and interest, by discovering their diversity and identifying their common points.

Exchanges of gardeners and sharing of gardening know-how between our different countries contribute to a better knowledge of practices and knowledge. Learning to plant a mixed border in England, to create a mosaïculture in Germany, to carve palisades in Spain, to stitch a bed of embroidery or to grow grow plants in crate in France and to accompany and preserve an old garden in Italy could to be the common base of European gardeners.

The development of tourism has worked hard for the Europe of gardens. Tourist networks such as the European Garden Heritage Network (EGHN) have been networking over some fifteen years, nearly 200 parks and gardens in 14 European countries through regional roads. A quadrilingual website, the transmission of electronic newsletters, the programming of exhibitions, the publishing and distribution of brochures, the organization of conferences on art and the management of gardens and awarding prizes (historic garden, contemporary garden, garden events, etc ...) makes this network alive.

 

"Italian gardens", "French gardens", "English gardens" or "Hispano-Moorish gardens" have been developed throughout the European continent and still inspire contemporary creators.

 

French Ministry of Culture