For the past six years, Jean-François Fauveau has been a botanist-gardener at the Jardin des plantes in Montpellier. Between permaculture, monitoring of large trees, beehives but also communication, he tells us about his job in the video series " Rouages "produced by the University of Montpellier.

Did you know that Daubenton's cabbage is a perpetual vegetable that lets you enjoy its leaves all year round? That fennel is a perfect balance to the small inconveniences of Jerusalem artichokes, that burdock protects your tomatoes from mildew or that marigolds attract ladybirds, which are great consumers of aphids? Jean-François Fauveau, a botanist gardener at the Jardin des Plantes, provides a wealth of tips to a public that is increasingly open to the joys of gardening.

It was after the first containment that the idea of setting up a new permaculture edible garden was born, "a place where you can find fruits, vegetables but also edible flowers and aromatic plants to explain to the people of Montpellier what they can grow if they have a balcony, a terrace, a garden or a piece of land of several hectares " he explains.

In the shade of the almond tree

Located in the northern part of the garden, upstream from the Orangery, this extraordinary garden offers gourmet eyes: an Isabelle vine " an ancient variety that was once banned on the pretext that it drove people mad, but which is in fact resistant to all diseases ", artichokes and apples from Provence, onions, radishes, raw edible quince, tomatoes, chard as big as a shrub... All this in the shade of a magnificent almond tree

When he is not in the vegetable garden, Jean-François is busy in the alleys of this 4-hectare garden: monitoring the large trees, maintaining the plant collections, and ensuring that the paths are safe in order to guarantee the best possible reception for the public. " We have nine gardeners, two of whom work in the greenhouses and one in charge of the crops. The team also includes a secretary in charge of orders, a taxonomist and a person in charge of the seed collections," all under the leadership of Thierry Lavabre Bertrand, professor of medicine and director of the garden.

Four hives

For a little over a year now, Jean-François Fauveau's schedule has been expanded with the installation of four beehives in the garden by the Apiscola association, which specialises in bee-related education. " This allows us to organise activities to help the public better understand the issues surrounding our plants, food and bees in an urban context. A relationship with the public that is particularly appreciated by the man who began his career as a landscape gardener by working on roundabouts or near motorways. "When you work at the Jardin des plantes, you don't come in the morning to install plants without ever knowing what they will become. We install collections that have a thematic, agro-ecological goal and we defend the values that go with it by educating the public.

Jean-François Fauveau's taste for communication and transmission also stems from his former life as a computer graphic designer who came from the Ile-de-France a little less than ten years ago to become a landscape gardener. An experience that he now puts to good use in the garden by feeding the social networks and by producing the communication for the annual Primavera event. A unique day where nurserymen, researchers, gardeners, artists and of course the public celebrate the arrival of spring in the exceptional setting of the garden. " I make the posters, the flyers, I coordinate the day and after 3 consecutive cancellations I am looking forward to renewing this beautiful event where plants are really in the spotlight. This summer, Jean-François Fauveau will welcome the public for visits to the "Permaculture Edible Garden" on Fridays 1, 8, 22, 29 July and 5, 12, 19 August at 10:30 am.

Jean-François Fauveau's favourite plant?

Ivy, also known as Hedera helix, is a plant which, although not the most beautiful or original at first glance, nevertheless has impressive powers. First of all, it has medicinal powers: " Ivy is known to relieve bronchial tubes and headaches," explains the gardener. It is also a wonderful shelter for biodiversity. But if Jean-François Fauveau particularly admires this plant, which comes straight from the Cretaceous era, it is for "its incredible endurance. It is estimated that it could live up to 4000 years!