Initiated by the Klorane Botanical Foundation, the Botany for Change awards are a competition aimed at students of botany, horticulture, architecture and landscaping. Each year, the participants are asked to imagine the Urban Garden of Tomorrow, an urban greening project that puts plants back at the centre of our lives, towns and cities.
In 2018, the "Nymph Garden" imagined for the city of Marseille by Mathilde Clément and Nicolas Delporte, won over the selection panel for the Botany for Change Award.
What has become of the "Nymph Garden"?
Nicolas Delporte, one of its creators, visits it one year later to see how his "Nymph Garden" project has evolved.
An opportunity to run a workshop with Marseille's official city gardeners – Service Espace Vert de Marseille.
Based on the principle of promoting Mediterranean biodiversity, this garden harbours a strong ecological dimension as it uses an ingenious system of basins to limit irrigation and water loss.
Displayed in Marseille's Prado Spa Park, the "Nymph Garden" raises the public's awareness of the richness of this biodiversity which must be preserved at all costs.
Continuous observation and transfer of the Garden designer's knowledge
To guarantee the long-term sustainability of the "Nymph Garden" and carry on the Foundation's Knowledge Transfer mission, three key actions have been taken in the field this year.
For the first meeting, on Tuesday 9 April 2019, Marseille's official gardeners and technicians (Service Espace Vert de Marseille) who are in charge of maintaining the garden, met to take part in the workshop held by Nicolas Delporte.
An initial positive finding and avenues for improvement
This first workshop was very beneficial and concluded that the plant selection (hardy plants adapted to the climate) and the watering system were wise choices:
- The plants are voluminous and vigorous, and some are even reseeding spontaneously (lavender, euphorbias...).
- A diverse fauna was also observed (birds, lizards, bees, beetles...).
- The gardener in charge of irrigation was surprised at the infrequent need to water the garden.
- Lastly, the weeding proved to be time-consuming, mainly due to bindweed invading certain parts of the garden.
Nicolas Delporte applauded the adaptability, diligence and great work done by the Service Espace Vert de Marseille team.
The programme of upcoming workshops and the continuing work of the gardeners will consist of improving weeding techniques (by aeration and soil drainage using sand, as well as the use of appropriate tools); preparing the garden for the summer drought; and deciding whether to replace any plants.
They are also looking at a new plant labelling system to satisfy the public's curiosity...