Saturday, 21 February 2009

Saturday Photo: Marie-Victorin, Montreal's Jardin botanique and Shovel-Ready Projects

Another botanical garden photo this morning: Brother Marie-Victorin, the Quebec botanist and cleric who championed a botanical garden for years. So convinced was he of the need for a garden for teaching, study and pleasure, that in the early 1930s he convinced Henry Teuscher, then working at the New York Botanical Garden, to start planning one for Montreal even though financing seemed a wistful dream.

But when several million dollars were advanced for make-work projects in the mid-1930s, the plans were ready to go, and, Teuscher later said, work started at the beginning, the middle and the end of the project. Today Montreal's Jardin botanique is one of the largest in the world and a delight in any season.

What is now the San Francisco Botanical Garden got a similar start in hard times: plans for such a garden in Golden Gate Park had been on the drawing boards for years when the Works Project Administration put men to work, digging, levelling and planting.

Today we're hearing a lot about the need for "shovel-ready" projects as the world struggles with another horrific economic downturn. There is a lesson to be learned from both botanical garden projects:

It pays to dream in detail,

and

The positive effects of stimulus packages will be with us for a long time.

Let us hope there are a lot of similar projects out there.

For more about Marie-Victorin and the Jardin botanique see my book Recreating Eden: A Natural History of Botanical Gardens.

2 comments:

patàmodeler said...

I was catching up a week of Recreating Eden reading and when I thought the week had ended, a Saturday surprise was waiting for me. Have a lovely week-end!

Mary Soderstrom said...

Glad you liked the "surprise".

It is a good weekend for being outside!

M