Muriel de Curel never could have imagined that the small seed that was planted in April 1984 would be so big. The first festival of the plant which it opened in the courtyard of his château of Saint-Jean-de-Beauregard (Essonne), “very small-scale, with a dozen exhibitors and a thousand visitors at any break, to become, 35 years later, this grand rendez-vous horticole, which gathers, every year, in his splendid domain, more than 20,000 lovers of plants and gardens.

“initially, the peonies that were brought were in one C15 ; today, we need a large van!” says the nurseryman Jean-Pierre Rivière, whose father was among the first participants. “In the 1980s, the biodiversity was very low in the gardens. It was mostly geraniums or petunias… remembers Muriel de Curel. The nurseries were doing a remarkable job, but they were, for most of them, unknown to the public, geographically dispersed, and were struggling to sell their new products. I sincerely believe that we have contributed, with others, to a better knowledge of the plants and to the distribution, in the gardens, species such as hostas, dogwoods, or the heuchères, as is well known today, but which, at the time, came out really out of the ordinary.”

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Up to on Sunday night, the edition of this spring 2019, which opens its doors this Friday morning, and of which The Figaro is a partner, will be the occasion to celebrate some of the best-sellers that have marked these 35 years: the orange tree of Mexico ‘Sundance’, the pink ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ Meilland, peonies Itoh, or Hydrangea arborescens ‘Incrediball’.

The nursery, which still represent the vast majority of the 250 exhibitors will present their latest novelties: the primrose ‘Tregor Truffle’ Barnahven, small chestnut trees of the nursery Adeline, the Aspidistra eliator ‘Equinoxe’ in the sumptuous drape of the yellow and green of the Rock St Louis, the sage shrub ‘Amethyst Lips’ Flowers and Scents, or even the gigantic arum ‘Himalayas’ of the Plant 85. Without forgetting lectures, animations, exhibitions, awards ceremony and baptisms, as that of the iris ‘Vicomtesse de Curel’ institutions Cayeux. A beautiful blink of an eye.

• Feast of plants of spring Saint-Jean-de-Beauregard (Essonne): from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 April, from 10 am to 18 pm.


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