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The gardens of the National Assembly 🇫🇷

The garden of the Presidency  

Fontaine du jardin de la Présidence

The garden, with an area of ​​just over 4,000 m², has a large central lawn, in a free planting scheme with trees and shrubs forming a border. Originally, it consisted mainly of gravelled walkways, flower beds and grassed areas.

As in most historic parks, the water element is represented by a pond and its fountain. The windows of the reception rooms of the Hôtel de Lassay overlook this green space which is the place for receptions on sunny days.

We note in particular a majestic platanus acerifolia (plane tree with hardy and fast-growing maple leaves that can reach 40 m), several aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut trees), an aesculus carnea (chestnut tree with red flowers), a fagus sylvatica "purpurea (purple beech that can also reach 40 m and the first specimen of which was discovered in the 17th century), a prunus serrulata “kanzan” (Japanese cherry with a habit that spreads with age), a betula pendula (weeping birch) , an acer negundo (ash-leaved maple), two pinus nigra (Austrian black pines).

Purple beech from the garden of the Presidency

The garden, like all the green spaces of the National Assembly, is cared for with respect for the environment: mowing with electric equipment, use of electric blowers, transport with a small electric vehicle, manual weeding…

Austrian black pine from the garden of the Presidency

At present there are about thirty trees which are between 25-30 years old for most of the young subjects and 40-50 years at the most for the oldest subjects.

Japanese cherry blossom in the Presidency garden

The “grand massif” of the garden of the Presidency

The trees and shrubs at the bottom of the massif give an impression of "undergrowth". The decision was made to create a “natural” zone there to attract and provide a habitat for a whole underground world that is very useful to the garden.

Large massif of the garden of the Presidency

For example, earthworms allow aeration and drainage of the soil, participate in its neutralization thanks to their digestive system rich in bacterial fauna which amends the soil, and earwigs for their part feed decomposing plants and pests such as aphids and psyllids that attack fruit trees (psyllids are biting-sucking and look like little cicadas). This fauna deserves to be looked at with much more indulgence despite an appearance that is not always flattering.

Large massif of the garden of the Presidency

Deliberately, the soil is not turned under the trees so as not to destroy its ecosystem: the last leaves picked up in the fall are simply spread out under the trees, forming a colorful carpet, and that is a few months later (9/ 10 months approximately) that they are partially buried after decomposition by carrying out a light picking. Thus they bring valuable nutrients to the soil.

Garden of the Presidency: Japanese anemone

Priority is given to the most honey-producing plants and the insects whose intense activity is noted in this part of the garden (bees, bumblebees, butterflies, etc.) can thus fully play their role as pollinators.

Garden of the Presidency: silvery celosias

On the flower side, the large massif wants to be "solar" both by the dominant yellow color and by the diversity of the plants, whether they are bulbs, annuals, perennials or grasses. Summer or winter it must warm the eyes.

An island of flowers

The decorations follow one another according to the rhythm of the seasons, but also according to the aesthetics sought at a given moment: the gardens are also experiencing fashion phenomena.

Garden of the Presidency: fucshias

This parterre features an island in bloom, surmounted by a palm tree and a Japanese cherry tree, in the middle of a green sea.
It is also structured by perennials and a few shrubs (fuschias in particular) where bulbs (tulips, narcissus, hyacinths, etc.) and a few biennials (flowers put in place at the end of autumn for a flowering next season, such as pansies, primroses, wallflowers), replaced by annuals (plants that flower only once and in the same year they are planted) for summer flowering that blooms until fall .

Garden of the Presidency: petunias and sage

Everything is implemented here to tend to perennial flowering which thus makes it possible to participate in the preservation of the environment. To the very orderly flowering that was traditionally practiced in “French-style” gardens from annual plants, we prefer a rural massif which at the same time attracts many pollinating insects that are very useful to the garden.

Garden of the Presidency: amaranth

For example, there are begonias and New Guinea impatiens in shade and partial shade, while ageratum victoria (ideal plants for borders), some purple amaranths (annuals from Mexico, India and Africa, of which there are around fifty varieties), salvia (red, white, etc.), snapdragons, gauras, Buenos Aires verbena, petunias, alstroemeria (Inca lilies of which there are around fifty known in different sizes and colours, cousin of the daylily), cosmoses, blue nepetas, a few cleomes… offer themselves to the rays of the sun.

Garden of the Presidency: palm tree

Shadow and light

This part of the garden adjoins the building that welcomes the public who come to attend a screening or simply to visit the Palais-Bourbon. You can clearly see it from the Galerie des Fêtes. It is a very shaded area where the sun only pierces through the foliage of the trees.

Garden of the Presidency: shadow and light

On the right, at the foot of the step of the Galerie des Fêtes, there is a group of trees adapted to shady situations: an acer platanoides (flat maple or Norway maple most of the time native to the Far East) and three acer pseudoplatanus (sycamore maple or false plane tree which can be very long-lived, sometimes beyond 100/150 years), as well as a tilia cordata (small-leaved lime tree). These deciduous trees are particularly resistant to urban pollution and cold; their use is very frequent in parks and for the alignment of avenues.

The light, hardwood sycamore maple is used to make musical instruments, furniture, and flooring. Three other large subjects line the public reception building: two aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut trees) on the left and a fagus sylvatica “purpurea” (Scots beech) on the right.

Garden of the Presidency: flower bed

At the end of the building, on the side of the Galerie des Fêtes, you can see a pinus wallichiana (Himalayan weeping pine) with persistent needles that can reach 20/40 m, and finally, isolated in the middle of the lawn on the left, stands a sequoia sempervirens from California: this is a gift made by the American Committee on the French Revolution and the FA Bartlett Tree Expert Company on the occasion of the bicentenary of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the United States "Bill of Rights" in 1989. A central flowerbed features two sycamore maples and one Norway maple. For the flowering of the beds in this area, there are mainly New Guinea impatiens, hostas, begonias, coleus, and other plants that accept shade.

Garden of the Presidency: statue "the source of love"

The statue "The source of love" represents a young woman drinking from the source. Dating from 1905, it is the work of Marie-Antoinette Demagnez. It has been installed in the garden since 1906 and has found its green setting on the facade of the building.

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