The Wallace Garden, Levallois-Perret

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The Wallace Garden sits behind a former hospital, built in 1871 by the British philanthropist Sir Richard Wallace.  A cast-iron fountain provides the focal point at the centre of the garden.  These iconic fountains were originally donated by Wallace to the city of Paris to provide fresh drinking water.  As part of the project, the fountain was renovated and brought back into use.

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The client was renovating their new head office made up two buildings with the garden lying between them.  The previous garden was blessed with several mature ornamental cherry trees, but there was little else bringing colour or interest to the garden.  The garden is planted over an underground car park, but 45cm to 75cm of soil, and deep planters gave enough depth to replant with shrubs, grasses and perennials.

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Being next to a listed historic building, the plans for the garden had to be approved by the Architectes de Bâtiments de France (ABF), the equivalent of Historic England in the UK.  A tree survey was carried out to check the health of the existing trees and fortunately only one needed to be removed due to disease.

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The area around the fountain was enlarged to allow space for tables and chairs for lunchtime picnics and company parties and a memorial bench was placed to make the most of evening sun.

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Two new deep brick planters were built to match the existing ones and to better frame the upper terrace.  A multi-stemmed Amelanchier lamarkii and a Cornus kousa  placed in these new planters will mature to create a more intimate space.

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Evergreen Choisya ternata ‘White Dazzler’ and prostrate rosemary were planted to screen the ventilation grills of the underground car park and to eventually soften the brickwork.  A ping-pong table was installed and will be screened by evergreen hedges of Viburnum tinus.

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The garden is very sheltered and in some places shaded by the existing trees and buildings  Plants were chosen to suit their location, with woodland edge and shade lovers such as Liriope muscari, Hydrangea paniculata and the grass Hakonechloa macra planted under the trees. Drought-tolerant and sun loving plants such as lavender, Salvia macrophylla, Nepeta faassenii and Achillea millefolium were planted in the south facing beds and planters.  Evergreen shrubs have been used to give structure, especially in winter, with winter box, bulbs and hellebores to extend the garden’s appeal through the winter.  Richard Wallace lived at the Bagatelle château, known for its magnificent English-style garden and the planting partly takes inspiration from this English garden tradition.

Sketch 1

The original sketch showing the proposed new brick planter with the multi-stemmed Amelanchier tree and trailing rosemary.

Surface area :  900 m²
Built & planted in May & June 2019
Landscape Contractor : Esprit Jardin
Architects :   aaPGR