A Potted History of Gardening | The contemporary garden


At the end of the Second World War, priority was given to the reconstruction of all the French cities. Designing green spaces was not even envisaged.

Nonetheless, the profession of landscape gardener become more formalised and in 1948 in England, Geoffroy Jellicoe (1900-1996) founded the International Federation of Landscape Gardeners. The School of Architecture in Versailles opened a department for landscaping and garden design in 1946.

It was not until the 1970s that gardens were modernised and renewed

In 1969, the layout of the Parc floral de Paris, on the occasion of a flower show, was to be the departure point within the French capital for a rash of accessible green spaces.
Within the space of thirty years, the municipality created almost 150 local parks and squares, such as the parc Georges Brassens.
The City also got involved in projects with an even bigger scope, like La Villette, the parc de Bercy or the parc André Citroën. The goal was to plant all of the spaces left between buildings and urban amenities.
In this way, the Promenade plantée (Planted walkway) renews with the traditional malls of the XVIth century and carefully tended contemporary gardens seek to be an outdoor extension of interior decoration and urban planning.
To do this, unusual materials were used, such as polished granite, exotic wood, waxed concrete, stainless steel, stone and slate, and more hardy vegetation, in particular grass varieties, were planted. The influence of Japanese gardens encouraged the integration of rarer species such as bamboo, hosta and alchemille.
The contemporary garden therefore achieves a perfect synthesis of tradition and renewal, demonstrating our society’s interest in ecology. To that end, the planted wall at the musée du Quai Branly, designed by Patrick Blanc, has become the symbol and the refuge of biodiversity and the large numbers of visitors who flock to the events organised by the Ministry of Culture (Flower and Garden festivals) also bear witness to the current enthusiasm for nature and its conservation.

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