The Palace of Versailles is inviting members of the public to take part in an adoption campaign to revive the Queen’s Grove. Unusual in terms of garden design, it is the only grove whose reputation and opulence could be attributed to its plants – the bushes and species brought to Europe in the 18th century, such as the Virginia tulip tree. This new adoption campaign will mark the start of the work to re-establish the grove’s profusion of plant life, which will involve replanting the tulip trees in the central square of the arrangement to restore the original opulence and diversity of this garden created especially for Marie-Antoinette.
A greenery- garlanded room
Created in 1776, the Queen’s Grove was created especially for Marie-Antoinette so that the queen could have somewhere to walk that was away from the palace’s many visitors. Located in the extension to the Orangery parterre, and replacing the Maze Grove created during Louis XIV’s reign, this grove and the way it is laid are in line with the new garden styles of the 18th century. This flower garden was predominantly planted with North American species, like the Virginia tulip tree and the white fringe tree, introduced to France in the 18th century. Inside the grove, the tulip trees were arranged in a regular pattern in the central section.
The vegetation around the perimeter comprised a variety of species of trees and shrubs, which flowered at different times and in succession. The four main access paths were ideal for shaded, flower-scented strolls, while a number of minor paths wound their way to verdant arbours complete with wooden benches on which to rest. The Queen’s Grove was gradually altered over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. Its foliage-draped walkways were replaced by unremarkable paths and the botanical diversity gave way to more uniform bushes.
Restoring the grove's rich variety of plant life
The work now being undertaken to revive the Queen’s Grove will help restore the rich plant life and botanical diversity created for Marie-Antoinette. Initially, the central square will be replanted with Virginia tulip trees, thanks to the adoption campaign. The access paths will then be replanted with flowering trees and shrubs (Canadian junipers, Virginia cherry blossom, etc.)
The Virginia tulip tree
Marie-Antoinette’s favourite tree, the Virginia tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), is native to the southern and eastern United States. The Virginia tulip tree seeds, brought over in 1732, were first cultivated in the Trianon before being distributed throughout the gardens at Versailles. This majestic tree can live for 500 years and generally grows to a height of between 30 and 40 metres. It is known for its tulip-shaped flowers and broad leaves, which turn red and gold in the autumn.
How can you contribute to the effort to revive the green’s grove? By adopting a Virginia tulip tree or being a patron of the restoration of the Queen’s Grove plants.
Cost of adopting a tulip tree : €1.500. Tax relief of 66% on amounts donated by private individuals and 60% on company donations.
To find out more, visit: www.chateauversailles.fr/support-versailles