La formation des jardiniers, pépiniéristes et paysagistes au XIXe siècle au niveau européen by Cécile MODANESE – Château de Bénouville

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La formation des jardiniers, pépiniéristes et paysagistes au XIXe siècle au niveau européen by Cécile MODANESE – Château de Bénouville

Training gardeners, nursery gardeners and landscapers throughout Europe in the 19th century

The term of ‘horticulture’ only appeared in the French language in 1824. Héricart de Thury used it when creating the horticultural society three years later. At the time, horticulture was either a matter for amateurs, often rich collectors, or for professionals in emerging positions in companies that reproduced plants for sale. Nineteenth-century horticulture boasted detailed botanic knowledge, in an aim to grow, identify, acclimatise, multiply and even crossbreed plants. Such knowledge placed the activity amidst a scientific circle which led to encounters with learned societies.
Several professions were connected to the field of horticulture: gardeners, nursery gardeners and, finally, landscapers. Great gardening families (Lang, Fintelmann, Schweykert, Held, Hervy, Hardy, Thouin, etc.) worked across Europe in the 19th century.
Nurseries, landscaping and horticulture are all disciplines at the crossroads of different skills, calling upon agriculture, botany and even industry for mass production. Landscaping implies notions of architecture and hydraulic engineering. Acquired knowledge and extensive practice of these professions remained in their infancy over a large period of the 19th century for the simple reason that they did not perfectly match any of these disciplines.
How did these varying professions – some of which were barely emerging – succeed in developing and passing on acquired know-how in the 19th century?
After a review of 19th-century horticultural teaching practice, the aim is to observe the design of initiatory training paths, thanks to a European network, then what enabled know-how to be perfected throughout the lives of these nursery gardeners, gardeners and landscapers.

Cécile Modanese

Cécile Modanese is a Pays d’Art et d’Histoire (Land of Art and History) project leader for the Guebwiller region community of communes, certified since 2004. She is in charge of the Château de la Neuenbourg in Guebwiller, which houses an architecture and heritage interpretation centre. The site stands amidst a 19th-century landscaped garden, highlighted thanks to an interpretation trail.
A historian of garden horticulture, she is a doctor in contemporary history and presented her thesis in June 2020, entitled ‘The dynasty of the Baumann nursery gardeners from Bollwiller, their influence on horticulture and garden tastes in the 18th to 20th centuries.’ Her knowledge on historic gardens has enabled her to integrate the Remarkable Gardens commission at the Grand-Est DRAC (Regional Cultural Affairs Directorate). She has published a number of articles on the gardens of Alsace, on nursery gardening and horticultural professions and training, and on heritage valorisation. She is the author of La région de Guebwiller, une Alsace loin des clichés (The Guebwiller region, Alsace far from the clichés), published in June 2022. Finally, her thesis work will shortly be published by the University Press of Tours.

Further reading : 
La métamorphose des jardins européens. Les Baumann de Bollwiller (XVIIIe-XXe siècle), Presses Universitaires François Rabelais, 2022