on The 30th of August is a significant date for gardeners, vegetable and flower growers because, it is Saint-Fiacre, the feast of their patron saint, which will be brightly celebrated this weekend, or the next, in many cities.

Born in the sixth century in Ireland, the son of a king of Scotland, Hackney withdrew from the world, in France, in a little wood of the Brie, with the permission of the bishop of Meaux (Seine-et-Marne), which gave him so much ground that it would be able to surround by a moat with a simple spade during a day.

a Hackney-coach was certainly helped by the most High because his spade, working faster than him, allowed him to enclose a very large area. After this miracle, he cleared, prayed and cared for the sick, leading an austere life and ascetic till the end of his life in 670.

Holy to the green thumb

But his reputation has survived to our days. His oratory was visited by most of the Kings of France and by a number of people with skin diseases. When we built the Pont-au-Change in Paris, around 1860, they removed to the river Seine a large quantity of medals of Saint-Fiacre, evidence of the worship which was rendered in the capital.

today, There are numerous confraternities, chapels and churches dedicated to this saint in the green hand. In Seine-et-Marne, in the small commune of Saint-Fiacre, which bears his name, awarded every year at the time of its celebration a large number of visitors.

To Orleans and to Sense a mass, which is attended by believers and unbelievers mixed, is celebrated in the cathedral is lavishly decorated with flowers. Various festivities and animations are also on the agenda: the celebration of the plants, competition of bouquets, corso carnavalesque, etc

Coach has finally given its name to these small horse-drawn cars, formerly leased to the race or the hour in major cities. But, there’s nothing to do with gardening! It just happens that in Paris, a large number were stationnnées in a shed located near a hotel which had the sign… of Saint-Fiacre.

Portraits of illustrious gardeners

SNHF

You love to watch each week his “Stories of plants”? You’ll love its Pantheon imagination of the gardeners of the Nineteenth century (SNHF, 271 p., 20 €). With his verve usual, his pen and alert, and its immense erudition, Daniel Lejeune, director of the national Society of horticulture of France (SNHF), traces the life and work of these men, but also of these women, who founded the horticulture modern, created of sumptuous gardens, selected new plants, or brought back, sometimes at the peril of their life, exotic species and fabulous, until then unknown in Europe. Adolphe Alphand Edouard André, Robert Fortune, father Armand David, abbé Pierre Delavay, Victor Lemoine, or the big names of the families Truffaut, and Vilmorin, to name only a few: not less than 215 biographies are collected in this book that enthrall the lovers of plants, of botany and of these places of creation and escape from it are the gardens.

M.

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