The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Organisation of French botanic gardens

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260. The system of botanic gardens in France is superior to that of every other country. The Paris garden is intended to serve at once as a perpetual school of botany and vegetable culture, and as a reservoir for the reception of new discoveries in botanical and horticultural science, and of new plants from every country in the world. In every department of France there is a botanic garden, situated in or near the largest town; which serves the same purpose for the department that the Paris garden does for the whole of France, and, indeed, for all the rest of the world. These departmental gardens receive whatever it is thought can be of use to their department from the garden of Paris, as soon as it has been rendered sufficiently abundant there; and have each a director, who gives lectures on botany and general culture, and whose duty it is to solve all the botanical, horticultural, and agricultural difficulties of the district. This system is at all events very perfect in theory, and we are not aware that it has been yet found defective in practice. The cause of the slow progress of science in rural matters in many of the departments of France is to be attributed to the general ignorance which prevails among cultivators, rather than to any defect in the system itself.