Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Tulip Trees of the Queen's Grove

They are my favorite tree, too. Our woods in Maryland are full of them. From the Chateau de Versailles:
Created in 1776 to replace the Maze Grove, this ornamental garden bordering the Orangery Parterre was made especially for Queen Marie-Antoinette. The design reflects the taste at the time for landscaped gardens, combining the precision of the French formal layout, which was so popular at the French Court, with the twists and turns of the walks inspired by the new English-style gardens. 
The Queen’s Grove deteriorated considerably during the 19th and 20th centuries, and today it is a mere shadow of what it once was. Although it still retains most of its original layout, the walks with their imposing foliage have become commonplace paths and the botanical diversity has gone, giving way to uniform bushes. When the Grove is restored, it will once again have the rich variety of plant life that the Queen knew and the paths will be laid out as they were at that time. The central square will be replanted with Virginia tulips and the access paths will again be bordered with trees and flowering shrubs (eastern redbud, Virginia bird cherry, rowan, etc.). The arbours on the fringes of the grove will be decked with staghorn sumac, white fringe trees and laburnum, etc. 
This was Queen Marie-Antoinette’s favourite tree, which she also had planted in her gardens at Trianon. The Virginia tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is native to the southern and eastern regions of the USA. Introduced into France at the beginning of the 18th century, this majestic tree can live for up to 500 years and usually grows to a height of 40 to 60 metres. It is distinct for its heavily perfumed tulip-shaped flowers and broad leaves, which turn red and gold in autumn. (Read more.)
Marie-Antoinete and Louis XVI in the gardens of Versailles

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