Enhancing the garden of the Roquelaure Mansion (Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Maritime Affairs) – PARIS (7th arrondissement)


Completion year 2014
Contracting Authority Ministry of the Environment, Energy and Maritime Affairs
Mission Enhancing the Ministry’s garden on the occasion of European Heritage Days and designing an exhibition on September 20th and 21st, 2014
Project Management Team Landscape architects and designers Laure Planchais (mandated agent)
Surface area 5,000 m²
Budget €30,000 exc. VAT
Ratio €6 exc. VAT per m²

The garden of the Roquelaure Mansion had real potential and featured an interesting collection of trees amidst an architectural setting of very high quality. Yet it had suffered the effects of repeated ad hoc re-compositions lacking any long-term strategy. As a result, the initial garden, done in classical style, had gradually turned into a Haussmannian-style “landscaped” garden, quite unsuitable to the small surface area.

  • The undergrowth was dark and lacked sufficient flowers. The composition and the plants were fairly similar to those used in Paris’ Haussmannian squares, like viburnam, aucuba and others.
  • At the time, the garden was poorly managed, both technically and aesthetically. The Ministry wanted to open up the garden as part of European Heritage Days. To that end, we designed a temporary exhibition about the Nature Heritage/Cultural Heritage in 2014, and we enhanced the garden for the duration of the event.

A first lot of decorative borders was deployed across from the works to evoke the garden’s nature and cultural heritage: its composition, its tree collection and the featured statues.
A second lot of decorative borders, installations (birdhouses, cisterns, watering systems, chicken coops, sheep, keyhole gardens, insect hotels etc.) and educational events about sustainable development in the garden touched on a variety of issues: biodiversity, waste recycling, water and energy savings, thrifty cultural practises etc. We were grateful to Ministry employees for kindly volunteering to work as organisers during that weekend.
The garden’s re-composition should be gradual and happen in stages. The plants used for the temporary Heritage Days exhibition represented a first step. The garden was also made brighter by adding flowerbeds with light-coloured flowers and foliage.

Feedback (September 2014)

  • The large lawn, the Ouessant sheep and the keyhole gardens were the stars of that September weekend!
  • Regarding keyhole garden kits, we succeeded in finding an incredible Texan ecological farmer (yes, they DO exist!) who manufactures them. Please contact Mr W. Leon Smith http://keyholefarm.com/2014-september-update-exhibits-schools-deer/ Also be advised that he is currently seeking partners to develop his concept in Europe.
  • The garden’s overall re-composition strategy via a management plan has come to a halt, and the available gardening skills are insufficient.