Jardiner les racines, une urgence pour un avenir végétal by Véronique MURE – Château de Bénouville

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Jardiner les racines, une urgence pour un avenir végétal by Véronique MURE – Château de Bénouville

Gardening roots, an emergency for the future of plants

The 2022 edition of the Rendez-vous aux Jardins garden encounters highlighted the importance of changing gardening practice in line with climatic change, in particular to enable plants to withstand the impact of drought during periods of intense heat, a phenomenon encountered virtually on a yearly basis over the past decade.
Within this context, the way root systems function is of considerable importance. Whilst a long time convinced that the role of roots was simply to help the plant attach to the soil and to absorb water and mineral salts, advanced research has brought us to revise this definition to now consider them as the nerve centre of the plant, capable of receiving and transmitting chemical and electrical signals, hence regulating stress and external disturbances through adapted growth strategies. From their roots, trees, and all other living things, weave a huge underground network where, not only nutrients, but also information circulate on a permanent basis. This gigantic subterranean web plays an essential role in how plant communities work and how they are structured.
Based on this observation, we will see how all gardening practice should now adopt the priority aim of accompanying roots towards a level of autonomy, with regards to water in particular, but also to offer them a living soil, hence facilitating the symbiotic associations that enable them to form a society.
‘One must cultivate one’s garden,’ Voltaire wrote almost three centuries ago.
And today, I dare to add,  ‘We must garden our roots…
It’s a matter of urgency!’

Véronique Mure

Véronique Mure, a botanist and engineer in tropical agronomy, has been defending the heritage value of Mediterranean gardens and landscapes for 30 years, via their history and the botanic dynamics they embrace.
A vast share of her career has been in the public domain.
Today, she works as an independent expert and consultant in botany, gardens and landscapes. Founded in 2010, the private company Botanique-Jardins-Paysage, established in Nîmes, specialises in the study of flora, in particular of Mediterranean origin, and its links with gardens and the landscape, be they from a naturalistic, historic or prospective point of view.
She regularly intervenes on natural heritage sites (listed sites, World Heritage, ‘Grand Site de France’ policy, etc.). Hence, she has worked on the many botanical facettes of the MuCEM’s Garden of Migration (Marseille), conducted the study on the renewal of the alignments alongside the Canal du Midi, a Unesco World Heritage site, accompanied the historic gardens of the Fort St. André Abbey in Villeneuve-les-Avignon and the Prafrance bamboo garden, and conducted the historic study on the tree heritage of the former ‘Pichon’ nursery in Nîmes.
Whether during analytic missions, or consultancy and interpretation, Véronique Mure strives to offer living things their rightful place in gardens and landscapes. Such is the conviction she loves to share and to transmit, and the one that has spurred her to publish several works and to teach botanics at the ENSP (National School of Landscape Architecture – Versailles).

Further reading :
Evasion botanique, Véronique Mure, Atelier Baie, 2021
Conversation sur l’herbe, Véronique Mure, Atelier Baie, 2013
Les jardins de la Bigotie, Atelier Baie, 2010