La place du potager dans l’art des jardins occidental by Yves-Marie ALLAIN – Archives du Calvados

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La place du potager dans l’art des jardins occidental by Yves-Marie ALLAIN – Archives du Calvados

The role of the vegetable garden in western garden art

We all more or less have our own image of the vegetable garden – be it the one that nourished a forefather or the one that one visits over a fine castle tour. A subsistence garden, a nourishing garden, a market garden, a vegetable or fruit garden or a combination of both… there are so many ways to evoke those plots of land devoted to edible plants. Since the Middle Ages, the vegetable garden has been glorified and admired or, in contrast, decommissioned, despised and rejected… to finally disappear, before reappearing in a number of different forms over recent decades. Abundantly covered in horticultural literature, these gardens are somewhat missing from written sources on garden art, without for as much being totally absent. It is precisely the analysis of their role in the spatial and social organisation of gardens that will offer the common thread of this presentation, based on texts and plans drawn from landscapers’ creations over the centuries.

Yves-Marie Allain

Yves-Marie Allain is a horticultural engineer and D.P.L.G. certified landscaper with extensive experience of the King’s Vegetable Garden at the Palace of Versailles. He initially worked as director of green spaces for public authorities before joining the National Museum of Natural History, in charge of plant collections at the Paris Botanical Gardens and the National Arboretum in Chèvreloup. He concluded his career as general inspector for the environment. From 1998 to 2005, he was a member of the superior commission for historic monuments (parks and gardens sector) for the French Ministry of Culture. He is the author of a number of works on the relationship between humans and plants, including Une histoire de serres, Une histoire de jardins botaniques, published by Quæ, or as co-author of Art des jardins en Europe, l’évolution des idées et des savoir-faire, published by Citadelles-Mazenod.

Further reading :
Une histoire de jardins potagers, Quae, 2022
Jardins d’hiver, jardins divers, éditions des Falaises, 2021
La fleur et le jardin, (toute) une histoire, éditions Petit Génie, 2018
Les plantes exotiques, une réputation perdue?, éditions Petit Génie, 2014
Le jardin suit-il des modes? 90 clés pour comprendre les jardins , Quae, 2013
Les serres, le génie architectural au service des plantes, Actes Sud, 2013
Une histoire des jardins botaniques : entre science et art paysager, Quae, 2012
Une histoire de serres : de l’orangerie au palais de cristal, Quae, 2010