The perspective squares
The survival of many wild plant species is linked to pollination. Worldwide, 225,000 species of flowers are pollinated by 200,000 animal species, mostly insects. They collect nectar and pollen to feed themselves or their offspring. This also allows the pollen to be transported, resulting in the fertilisation of another flower of the same species. Many pollinators are generalists, moving from flower to flower, carrying pollen on their hairs. They collect nectar from flowers that have shallow corollas. Other species only visit a small number of flowers or even a single species: these butterflies’ proboscises and these bees’ tongues are long enough to reach the nectar at the bottom of corollas that are inaccessible to other insects.
"He who has sage in his garden does not need a doctor"
There are more than 700 wild species of sage (Salvia), annuals, biennials, perennials and shrubs, spread over all continents except Australia and Oceania, plus hundreds of horticultural varieties. From the Lamiaceae family, these are aromatic plants with medicinal virtues that have been used since the Middle Ages in infusions and decoctions (Salvia comes from the Latin salvare, which means "to save" or "to cure"). The most commonly used are common sage (Salvia officinalis) and clary sage (Salvia sclarea). In America, sage is used in a number of Indigenous American rituals. Soothsayer sage (Salvia divinorum), which is native to the south-western United States and Mexico, is used by Mazatec shamans for its psychotropic effects, while white sage (Salvia apiana) is used by North American Indians as a purifier.
Grubbing and planting
A change of season!
Twice a year, gardeners dig up what they have planted and replace it. When the weather is fine, summer flowering plants are transferred to flowerbeds. In the autumn, they are replaced by biennials and bulbs, which will bloom as early as next spring. All the plants on display are propagated in the Museum's greenhouses at the Versailles-Chèvreloup Arboretum. Some of them will be removed in the autumn and then put back to spend the winter in the warm.
Please do not pick them.
No wild boars, but crows!
The damage that can be seen in some places on the lawns is due to crows looking for insect larvae. This observation, which has also been made in various other gardens in the capital, is not currently being solved by scaring or capturing the birds. A behavioural study of these birds is currently underway and may provide a means of limiting the impact on our crops in the future.
Digging over with manure
As part of the sustainable development efforts carried out by the Jardin des Plantes, the manure from the Menagerie is spread over the unplanted beds in the winter (crop rotation), and then the soil is turned over with a spade. A few months later, once it has decomposed, this straw manure will provide nutrients to the soil, and compensate for those taken up by the seasonal crops, without needing to add any fertiliser.
Nesting boxes for pigeons
Victims of a fungus, the plane trees in the Jardin des Plantes are gradually being replaced, depriving the pigeons of natural hiding holes or nesting places. To make up for this lack, nesting boxes have been mounted high up, just how the pigeons like it. They can also be used by other inhabitants of the area, such as the tawny owl or the marten, who also like their privacy.
These nesting boxes can be occupied as early as February, when the first males start their courtship displays. The female will lay two almost round white eggs. In France, the pigeon is a sedentary species. It is joined in winter by its migratory northern cousins.