Unseen by the public, each year a team of gardeners works at producing thousands of young plants to enrich the collections of the Arboretum, but also those of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.
The Arboretum nursery
Every year the Arboretum team continues to enrich the collections according to a scientific program established over the long term.
Chèvreloup is part of the international network of arboretums and botanical gardens and benefits from the index seminum system: seed catalogues are distributed for free by these institutions, providing seeds collected in the wild by botanists from all over the world.
The multiplication team works with greenhouses and frames, a container gardening area and an outside nursery. The seeds are planted in spring but some species need to spend a winter in the cold to induce germination, which will only occur the following spring. When they reach a sufficient size the seedlings are re-potted. They continue to grow in containers after that. The process is long: sometimes it takes more than 10 years after receiving a seed before a young tree is planted in the earth.
In this way, some 300 young trees and shrubs are produced each year for planting in the Arboretum but also in the Jardin des Plantes.
60,000 plants for the beds in the Jardin des Plantes
The Jardin des Plantes de Paris, created in 1635, is located in the heart of the French capital. From the 19th century onwards, plants for seasonal beds were grown on nearby farmland but in the 1960s urban pressure became too strong.
These plots were parcelled out for construction in 1969 and crops were transferred to Chèvreloup where new horticultural greenhouses were built for them.
Today 60,000 plants are provided by Chèvreloup’s horticultural section: 40,000 in spring and 20,000 in autumn, representing 600 to 700 species and cultivars (= horticultural varieties), to adorn Parisian flowerbeds. Under 2,000 m² of glass greenhouses and plastic tunnels, a team of six gardeners ensure that:
- tropical and subtropical plants are produced from cuttings in autumn and planted in May;
- annuals sown in winter are planted in May, so that they flower all summer;
- biennials sown in summer are planted in October, so that they flower from winter until spring.