Friday, September 6, 2013

Vegetables at Versailles

Jean Baptiste la Quintinye was hired by Louis XIV to create a potager or kitchen garden at Versailles, in order to feed the enormous household. From My French Life:
The gardeners and students at the little-known kitchen garden at the Chateau de Versailles in France strive to maintain King Louis XIV’s rare fruit varieties and experimental gardening technics. Once a mosquito infested bog, the potager is now a national treasure.

When the French King Louis XIV moved his court to the Chateau de Versailles in 1682, the kitchen garden in the grounds was too small to satisfy the legendary appetite of the King and his court, where there were often several thousand people to feed.

The King commissioned Jean Baptiste la Quintinye, a court lawyer, to create the Potager du Roi on the site of a mosquito infested bog, behind the famous chateau. It took more than five years to drain away the stagnant water and bring in rich fertile soil from the Satory forest nearby to make the site fit for use....La Quintinye fell in love with gardening during a trip to Italy, so with the creation of the potager he was able to indulge this new passion by creating the nine hectors of geometrically laid-out gardens in the French style, complete with a central fountain. (Read more.)

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