Plants in the Great Gardens of Europe in the Modern Era

The programme aims to specify which plants, trees, shrubs and flowers were used at Versailles and in other European gardens from the 16th to 19th centuries. It consists of three phases: “research”, “establishment of a database” and “practical trials”.

We will assemble and examine, for the first time, the numerous lists of plants in European archives, which will entail studying designations, as well as harmonising names and representations of a great number of plants that have changed through acclimatisation depending on their country of origin or that have undergone genetic changes. Further subjects of study include: origins, dates of arrival and of successful propagation, sources and means of supply, methods of acclimatisation, treatment and methods of plant cultivation in the gardens, etc.


Programme to be directed by Monique Mosser, Research Officer at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Centre André Chastel (Paris-Sorbonne), art and architectural historian specialising in gardens.

>  Pierre Bonnaure, Head Gardener at the Tuileries and at the Palais-Royal, Musée du Louvre;
>  Alain Durnerin, Honorary Chief Engineer at the Génie Rural, Eaux et Forêts (Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry);
>  Gabriela Lamy, Doctoral Student at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Master Craftsman in garden design assigned to the gardens department of the Trianon at the Palace of Versailles;
>  Valéry Malécot, Lecturer in botany at the Agrocampus Ouest;
>  Felice Olivesi, Landscape Architect (DPLG) Graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure du Paysage de Versailles.

Other contributors to this programme:

>  Nicole Gouiric, Doctoral Student at the École des hautes études en science sociales;
>  Dr Cristina Castel-Branco, Professor, Landscape Architect;
>  Cristina Diai, Art Historian and Archivist;
>  Dr Ana Luisa Soares, Professor, Landscape Architect;
>  Sandra Mesquita, Landscape Architect.

This programme is financed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Research group

The Centre de Recherche du Château de Versailles is currently part of the Research group « Inventaire des espèces végétales introduites sur le territoire national : archéophytes et néophytes de France » (GDR ANF) at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique.


>  Database bringing together all sources relating to plants in the great gardens of Europe in the modern era.

>  Study days Botany applied to historic gardens. State of knowledge, 3-4 December 2007, Calouste Gulbenkian Cultural Centre.

>  Publication of articles resulting from the study days held in December 2007 in the Bulletin du Centre:

>  Participation in the Sciences and Curiosities at the Court of Versailles exhibition (26 October 2010 - 3 April 2011, Palace of Versailles) and in the exhibition catalogue.

>  Publication of articles in the section Mélanges of the Bulletin du Centre:

>  Participation in the Choisy-le-Roi project to restore the Château de Choisy and its gardens in 3D (Aristeas, 2016) : scientific expertise on gardens (in particular the pineapple greenhouse).

>  Participation in “Entretiens du Patrimoine de l’océan Indien (EPOI)” (Sept. 29 - Oct. 1, 2014, Saint-Denis de la Réunion). Text by Gabriela Lamy, “Hommes, plantes et jardins entre l’île Maurice et le Petit Trianon au milieu du XVIIIe siècle” (2020) from these interviews (in French):

Lamy G. Maurice à Trianon. 2020 (in French)

This article was translated into English and published online in June 2023 in the journal Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes , Volume 43 Issue 1 (access with subscription to the journal).

>  Communication from Gabriela Lamy “La Guyane évoquée à Trianon en 1783 à travers quelques représentations de plantes du Jardin d’Eden […] du Jardin de la Reine à Trianon de Pierre-Joseph Buc’hoz” during the XVes Rencontres Internationales du Salon du dessin (May 18-23, 2022).
Publication of this communication in De l’art des jardins de papier : concevoir, projeter, représenter, editions L’Échelle de Jacob, 2023.

Website produced with the support of:
Château de Versailles
Conseil général des Yvelines