THE PLANETARY GARDEN

The Planetary Garden is a concept which views as a solidly entwined knot

-the diversity of human beings on the planet
-the role of man in managing this diversity

The concept of the Planetary Garden emerges from a triple observation:

-ecological finality
-planetary stirring
-human engagement

The notion of ecological finality dates to the middle of the twentieth century, concurrent with the ecological knowledge about our planet. The idea that the planetary biomass is limited makes life precious and precarious, incapable of eternal renewal, hence subject to depletion. Human beings, to be responsible, are therefore confronted with need to guarantee  an unconscious diversity,  dependent upon their acts. Furthermore, the limited enclosure upon which the future of human diversity depends becomes evident: the biosphere, a thin layer surrounding the planet,   frontier of the emergence of life. The word « garden » stems from the German « Garten » which signifies “enclosure”. Historically, the garden is a place where « the best » is accumulated: the best fruits, flowers, vegetables, trees, « savoir-faire », ideas….. The Planetary Garden is a place where all diversity subject to evolution accumulates. Today it is guided by human activity and hence in danger.

Planetary stirring is the result of the incessant movement around the planet of winds, maritime currents, and animal /human transhumance, all of which mix and redistribute these travelling species. Unlike man, the only species capable of traversing all climate barriers by various means (habitat, clothing, air conditioned vehicles),  plants and animals redistribute themselves according to their capacity to survive within the planet’s major climate zones ( called biomes). The image of the so-called « theoretical continent », a stack of biomes assembled in a single structure, all continents combined, although virtual, expresses a biological reality today: the intermingling of new behavior patterns, new landscapes, and occasionally new species. The garden, in its traditional sense, is a privileged site for planetary intermingling. Each garden, necessarily enhanced by species from all corners of the globe, can be looked upon as a planetary index. Each gardener can be considered an intermediary for encounters among species not necessarily, a priori, destined to meet. Planetary stirring, originally caused by the natural interplay of the elements, increases due to human activity, in constant expansion.

Human engagement applies to  the level of « surveillance » of a territory under human control. In a garden, even though all is not entirely mastered, all is known. The neglected species in the garden are intentionally so, either for convenience or simplicity, but they are not necessarily undiscovered. The planet, entirely subject to inspection by satellites, can, from this point of view, be assimilated to the garden.

The Planetary Garden is a means of considering ecology as the integration of man - the gardener - into its smallest spaces. It’s guiding philosophy is based on the principle of the Garden in Motion « Do the most for, the minimum against » The ultimate goal of the Planetary Garden consists of exploiting diversity without destroying it: continuing to operate the »planetary machine », making possible  the existence of the garden, hence the gardener.

Expressed for the first time in a book - Thomas et le Voyageur -the idea of the Planetary Garden became the object of an important exhibit in the « Grande Halle de la Villette » exhibition area in Paris (1999-2000). Several studies refer to this exhibit either directly: « The Planetary Garden of Shanghai" (2002), or indirectly: the Landscape Charter of Vassivière, 2004-2005. Although all gardens, as previously stated, are a planetary index, on a more or less sophisticated level, the example of the “Domaine de Rayol” in the Var, a garden begun in 1988 at the request of the “Conservatoire du Littoral”, is the only creation which directly confronts the question of planetary stirring in the heart of the Mediterranean biome subject to fire, considered in this case as an instrument of planetary gardening.