French Tradition: French Gardens
In 2009 in France, the garden was voted the second most important room in the house, just missing out to the living room but beating the kitchen at the post! According to Néo-Conservation, French gardens cover more than two and a half billion acres of land. They are often made up of several different spaces, each with their own characteristics: a terraced area, where people can socialise and enjoy a drink, a space set aside for amusement where children can play and run around, and allotments, mixtures of fruit and vegetables grown in a more natural environment.
Many surveys have been carried out in recent years surrounding the French and their fascination with their gardens. For instance, a marked increase in the number of rooftop gardens has been noted in previous years, yet the rose still remains the favourite flower of the French. Looking ahead to the future, in a study carried out by Promojardin to debate the role that gardens will play in France in 2020, it was revealed that their impact is expected to remain just as important, offering a space of escape, relaxation and conviviality.
To celebrate their love and passion for their gardens, the concours des villes et villages fleuris (the town and village flower contest) was created in 1959, a competition organised throughout France to encourage the development of sustainable green spaces. The winner receives the Fleur d’Or trophy, rated on a scale between one and four. Free to take part and open to the entire country, this celebration of French greenery has grown in popularity over the decades. With 5,300 participants by the early 1970s, this figure has since more than doubled to 12,000 in the last decade.