September 2017 saw the opening of a new seven million euro state-of-the-art horticulture centre at Avenue Loverchy, Vovray, France located at the site of former slaughterhouses. The new contemporary centre replaces the out-of-date 1960's glasshouses situated at Rue des Barattes which were unable to cope with modern production techniques.
Tremendous financial investment created the enormous 5700m2 area of multi-climate greenhouses, 2,300m2 of contemporary teaching rooms and workshops and 18,000m2 dedicated outdoor growing space for in-ground planting.
100,000 flowers were produced in-house in the first year and then 225,000 from then on of approximately 800 different varieties for the 2018 municipal gardens displays at Annecy and surrounding communes. The first project was growing chrysanthemums. Growing is now well and truly underway - full steam ahead.
January 2017 saw the dawn of the region's new municipality which now comprises of six communes Annecy, Annecy-le-Vieux, Cran-Gevrier, Meythet, Pringy and Seynod; which together make up the City of Annecy. The challenge for the new centre will be to unify planting among these six communes to create cohension.
Christophe Ferlin is the Director of landscape and biodiversity at the new Horticulture Centre.
Arnaud Hudry was the Architect and Project Manager of the construction. Futur A. Architectes.
This recent You Tube video show cases the new centre with a guided tour by Anne-Laure Loyer, Animatrice Services espaces verts Ville d’Annecy:
The centre is very eco conscientious. It collects filtered rainwater in a 500m3 storage tank to water the plants. The City of Annecy signed a 'zero pesticides' charter in 2004 so do not use pesticides in municipal spaces (unless there is no other course of action available). Greenhouse heating is provided by a wood biomass boiler which helps ensure the building meets HQE criteria (high quality environmental).
If you happen to be visiting Annecy in March, April or May then the horticulture centre opens its doors to conduct free guided tours for the general public on the dates below. To book your place email: email@example.com
Wednesday 21 March 14h to 15h15
Friday 23 March 14h to 15h15
Wednesday 25 April 14h to 1515
Saturday 28 April 9h to 1015 and from 10h30 to 11h45
Wednesday 16 May 14h to 15h15
Friday 25 May 14h to 15h15
Annecy has a phenomenal commitment to horticulture, wildlife and green spaces. I have always been overwhelmed with the diversity and sheer volume of plants and municipal displays throughout the city.
(Figures taken from the official website of the City of Annecy):
114 hectares of green space
437 hectares of communal forest
36 hectares of lawns
4.4 hectares: area of Pâquier
8.5 hectares of shrub plantations
almost 10 km of hedges
27 hectares of peri-urban green spaces
7500 parks trees
5460 alignment trees
5500 ornamental trees
640 planters along the canals
460 flower boxes
186 seasonal decorative beds
270 plant beds
61 playgrounds for children
12 pools of water
3 pens for fallow deer, stags and sheep
2 aviaries (Imperial Park and St. Joseph Island) and 25 birdhouses
This dedication to nature creates a picturesque city of exquisite floral charm and certainly explains why tourism is so popular. Every inch of available public space is utilised. The city is saturated with natural beauty. It is a unique place to explore and incredibly photogenic.
There are two main public gardens in central Annecy whose floral displays change seasonally; Parc Charles Bosson situated by the Imperial Palace, a luxury hotel and casino and Les Jardin de L'Europe nearest the commercial area and medieval old town which is reached by crossing the Canal du Vasse over the Pont des Amours ('Bridge of Love') from the 17 acre Paquier which was used in times gone by as livestock pasture.
You can read my full feature about these stunning gardens on my diary post:
Les Jardins de Annecy
The new horticulture centre will certainly have its work cut out to provide the city with the vast volume of plants required to fill all these outdoor spaces. The sheer number of plants on display is simply breathtaking.
2017 was bursting with a citrus palette; fabulous hot oranges and lemons which is illustrated in the photo galley. Dahlias, zinnia and giant helianthus annuus sit alongside Canna tropicanna.