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Garden - Expo Paris 1889

Garden at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889

The 1878 Exhibition could be criticised for being too puritanical and too severe. It was, if you like, the flat of a millionaire, but a serious millionaire. It was full of useful and comfortable things, of rare and precious objects, but not of uselessness, not of trifles, not of knick-knacks, - and in general there was only the bare minimum. Flowers in particular were rare. The Exhibition of 1889 largely made up for this shortcoming of its predecessor. It wanted to be always and for all the blue Exhibition, where the beams of the engineers are painted with the colour of the poets, and opposite the Eiffel Tower and the gallery of machines, it installed at the Trocadero the trees and the flowers. So flowers have become for a few years, one of the elements of the Parisian life. Like the ancient divinities, they accompany us everywhere and take part in all our solemnities: they welcome us at our births, mourn us when we die, and, less indifferent than many friends, they even go to the cemetery. But they are above all the friends of women: in their hair or on their blouses, in the large vases of their salons, in baskets on their tables, Parisian women, on themselves and around them, always want to see flowers and more flowers,
The first visit of women will therefore be to flowers which are, in the art of delighting and charming, not their rivals but their collaborators. This will have the advantage of bringing together in the gardens of the Trocadero all the pretty visitors of the Exhibition instead of scattering them throughout the galleries.
It is, in fact, in front of the Palais du Trocadéro that the arboriculture and horticulture exhibition has been set up. There is everything there, greenhouse plants, garden plants, fruit trees, vegetables, and all this, in beds, baskets, hedges, espaliers, flowerbeds, goes down the slopes to the Seine.
At the end of the Aima bridge, as far as the basin, on the right and left, are rosebushes of all kinds: there are no less than 4,500 of them and the view will be truly magical when all this is in flower. Next to these beds, large tents with white and red stripes and rising almost to the palace, shelter the instruments, knives, serpents, rakes, etc., in general the whole horticultural industry. These instruments are sold by women: it was thought that men should not be a blot on the flowers. Along the Seine, on the left, is the exhibition of fruit trees. They are all there, peach trees, apple trees, pear trees, almond trees, fig trees, apricot trees. At the moment they are in flower, and for a length of 500 metres the fragrant spring snow has fallen. All these trees are being worked on, directed, their branches guided by wires. Some of them have been given bizarre and tormented shapes. Others are shaped like geometrical figures, like cones or pyramids. It has long been noted that the best fruits do not correspond to geometrical shapes. So why do we go to all this trouble?
On the right is the vegetable exhibition: peas, beans, asparagus. There is also a large collection of strawberry plants. This forms a small garden similar to those of the market gardeners in the vicinity of Paris. The irrigation system tried out in Gennevilliers has even been applied there. The water from the city sewers rises, spreads out, follows the gutters, and surrounds the vegetable beds and squares, so that each of these squares is transformed into a small island where the water infiltrates, serving as fertiliser and fertilising the soil.
Then there are groups of collections of conifers (pines, firs, cedars, cypresses, junipers, etc.) whose elegance and regularity ensure them a distinguished place in the ornamental plantings; there are also curious collections of climbing shrubs (clematis, jasmine, wisteria, ivy, roses, etc.).
On the way up to the palace on the left is a clump of ferns with wonderfully serrated leaves. Along the walls supporting the colonnade of the palace, there is a very nice collection of high-stemmed fruit trees and in the hemicycle gallery the horticultural industry and press have been installed. This gallery is entirely decorated with garden plants.
As you walk along the palace, there are still clematis and baskets of peonies. In front of the ruins of a castle, a magnificent massif of Japanese maples; it is the exhibition of Mr. Chassaing and next to it, magnolias with white and mauve flowers.
Further down, we come across a magnificent maple, under whose foliage are Japanese conifers; first of all, the sciadopitys and, at the end of the massif, a batch of "araucaria imbricata" and "welingtonia gigantea pendula". These three tree species represent the three plant giants of Japan, Chile and North America. Then there is a grotto lined with green trees of all kinds, which leads to a small labyrinth where one encounters a large number of aquatic plants, "nymphea, nelumbium, lotus", etc., and above all the series of magnificent hybrid nymphea of Latour-Mariac.
In front of the labyrinth, there is a massif of azaleas where all the samples of these marvellous plants are gathered, and, close by, a small group of heathers with their spindly foliage and their small pink and purple flowers.
Finally, near the Seine, a beautiful group of date palms with slender palms that come from our Mediterranean crops.
Nor should we publish the exhibition of pansies, whose flowers run the gamut of the warmest and most tender tones. Here you will find pansies that are absolutely black and others that are golden yellow with black fibrils, which are beautiful.
In the middle of all this, greenhouses of all shapes and sizes, circular, underground, raised, or on the same level, with very curious collections of vines and orchids.
Also worth mentioning is the Japanese horticultural exhibition. Japan, moreover, wanted to continue the traditions of 1878. Let us mention its very beautiful series of lilies. The plants are enclosed in white Japanese porcelain vases with blue decorations which make the garden very picturesque. The exhibition of dwarfed conifers is also noteworthy. These are hundred-year-old trees which, in the wild, reach prodigious heights, and which have been prevented from growing, like the feet of Chinese women. There are maples there that are fifty years old and not more than fifty centimetres high. The Japanese garden is surrounded by bamboo fences which give it a very picturesque local colour.
To the right of the Japanese garden is the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg's rose collection, which will be much admired, and in front of the pond, Holland has planted its most beautiful tulips.
As all the flowers last, if not only one morning, at least only a few days, during the whole duration of the Exhibition they will be renewed according to the season, and there will be several competitions. We are giving here a summary programme; all the information will be provided, moreover, by the newspaper Le Jardin, whose director, Mr. Godefroy-Lebceuf, is one of our most distinguished horticulturists. These competitions, where cut flowers will be sold, will be held under large tents, towards the end of the Boulevard Delessert which leads to the Trocadero. They will take place in the following order:
From 6 to 11 May. - Roses from hot countries, forced roses, azaleas, rhododendrons.
From 24th to 29th May. - This competition will be above all a triumph of roses. There will be two thousand five hundred varieties of roses, from France to the pale Bengal rose, and nearly five thousand rosebushes.
From 7 to 12 June. - Roses again and especially greenhouse plants.
From 21 to 27 June. - Bouquets and cut flowers.
From 12 to 17 July, -All the plants used to decorate parks and gardens, bedding plants and baskets, verbenas, heliotropes, geraniums, etc.
From 2 to 7 August. - Gloxinias.
From 16 to 21 August. - Bulbous begonias.
From 6 to 11 September. - Daisies, gladioli.
From 20 to 25 September. - Dahlias.
From 4 to 9 October. - Fruit and foliage plants, dracenas, cyclamen, etc,
From 18 to 23 October. - Chrysanthemums.
And then it will be autumn; the golden leaves will be ready to blow away in the slightest wind and, with the last Chrysanthemums, the Exhibition will close.

© Guide Bleu du Figaro et du Petit Journal 1889