Can we talk about a French passion for the garden?
It really is a real passion. Look at what happened after the incarceration, where the French were deprived of excursions and greenery. Also see when there is a demonstration in a garden or when there is a sunny weekend like this …
Can we talk about a French passion for the garden?
It really is a real passion. Look at what happened after the incarceration, where the French were deprived of excursions and greenery. Also see when there is a demonstration in a garden or when there is a sunny weekend like the one we experienced at Easter. The French rush into parks and gardens.
Is it the same passion for gardening?
Absolutely, but it has evolved. When I started in the profession 40 years ago, the amateur gardener was a pensioner on an average social level, living in the countryside, who also grew his kitchen garden for his own consumption. Today, there are more than 1,600 garden centers in the country. If you do a little research of the clientele, you will find young and old, active and retired, hyper-qualified and workers, city and country. Gardening affects all social and professional categories, all generations. When I started, 99% of gardening was for men. Now there are a third of the women and it is not over.
“Gardening affects all social and professional categories, all generations. »
How is this passion explained?
This is the only activity where the whole family can participate at each their level. It is then a profitable activity. You buy some seeds and you can have your kitchen garden with fruits and vegetables that nourish you. Gardening is both a relaxing and physical activity. He makes people happy, it’s not more complicated. At the end of his life, Freud admitted that his work on psychoanalysis had been useless and that he would have done better gardening. And then gardening gives you the notion of time and season back, it’s so important in this time where everything is going so fast.
Gardening is precisely the most concrete way to practice ecology.
The gardener has a seat in the front row to observe the degradation and warming of the climate. When growing your fruits or vegetables, make the cycle as short as possible, you are sure to taste a pure product, without chemical additives. You become aware of the scarcity of water and the need to save on it. You reduce plastic packaging, you make your compost. It is truly concrete and everyday ecology. What amuses me is fashion in certain words, such as permaculture. But it has always existed. My grandfather already did permaculture without knowing it.
“What amuses me is fashion for certain words, such as permaculture. But it has always existed.”
You happen to be tough on some listeners.
I can be really teasing and provocative. But you do not have to do anything in a garden. I’m amazed that people still plant a cedar two feet from their house and then get surprised to have to cut it down. And then I would like to remember that buying a chemical product has only one interest, namely to enrich the person who manufactures it. I think I have helped reduce these products, which poison the earth, and I am pleased. In Versailles, the park has been phytosanitary since 2000 and has been an example. Will insects or birds eat any of your fruit? So what ! The garden is learning to share with the rest of the living world. I also get angry at listeners who absolutely want to prune their trees. They are living beings. This has to be done for very specific purposes.
As you mentioned, gardening must respect the biodiversity of animals.
Several years ago, we advised against planting lavender to avoid attracting bees and wasps. If there are flowers in a garden, they collect pollen and you can eat your melon without being bothered. What gardener has not noticed the gradual disappearance of insects and birds? You have to let them live, it’s the natural cycle.
Are there fashion habits in gardening?
Show me pictures of parks or gardens, I will give you time. In the past, we preferred tightly mowed lawns or well-structured begonias. Today we leave small flowers in the lawn, we prefer large stems that move with the wind. The colors are less screaming. The dahlia is back in vogue while the gladiolus has disappeared.
‘Every school should have a piece of land to cultivate. And that we stop felling the trees in the yards. “
Do you have a favorite season?
I love autumn. Each season has its differences. In journalists, your seasons have: choices, going on holiday, the Tour de France, celebrating the end of the year … Winter is a difficult time, but you can take your time. This is also the case in the summer, when you have to take care of maintenance. In the spring there is always something to do and everything at the same time. There is not a minute to rest. In autumn, on the other hand, the flowers and colors are most beautiful, the trees are full of fruit: apples, pears, plums … Nature has the maximum of what it can offer us.
Should we teach gardening to the little ones?
It’s so obvious. In Versailles, we receive children from Mantes-la-Jolie who have difficulty concentrating in class. Here they do not give up, they are happy to learn about nature. When I see twenty-year-olds who cannot tell the difference between an oak and an ash tree, it makes me sad. Every school should have a piece of land to cultivate. And that we stop felling the trees in the yards. I know there have been accidents, but that’s another topic.
You assume happiness by not doing anything in a garden.