About the gardens > The history of the Gardens
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The history of the Gardens

Broceliande Gardens were created in 1993. At the time, little did we think that we would become the 8th most visited tourist site in Ille-et-Vilaine,, one of the first parks to obtain the Tourism and Disability Label, and even be the subject of the television programme "Silence ça pousse" in 2010.

At that time, Gérard Brière, founding director of the Centre d'Aide par le Travail Le Pommeret, was looking for an idea to enhance the work prospects of disabled people. Passionate about botany, he imagined the creation of an "agripark" where the wealth of both human and botanical interest could be experienced through a collection of apple trees and the creation of landscaped gardens.

With the help of an architect, Jean Sébastien Boutruche, and the Rheu Agricultural College, André Ravenel and a team of disabled people constructed a road network, lakes and different zones, installed the different collections and plantations, carried out landscaping improvements with extra help from several other CATs.

  • In 1995, whilst the Park was still under construction, the French Society of Iris' and Bulbs (Franciris) entrusted a duplicate of the Marc Simonet collection to the Gardens, half of today’s collection
  • In 1997 the Mesnils Farm and adjoining land, which forms the reception today, was purchased. The Gardens opened to the public.
  • In 2002 Franciris was organised at the Gardens providing further recognition of the work carried out by André Ravenel, Virginie Fur (in charge of collections) and the team of disabled workers.

Since then, year after year, our plant collections have been enriched by the addition of specimens from professionals, amateurs, other parks and French professional plant breeders to result in the collections that we know today. Little by little the different zones have taken shape (Asiatic garden, royal jewel box, meadows).

15 years after their inception, Broceliande Gardens has reached a botanical maturity revealing its' multiple facets and the creation of a floral park "ex nihilo".

To balance the budget and also to sustain its training role and the employment of people with disability, Broceliande Gardens is increasing its actions by integrating a new recreational and educational concept: " what if we, the able, were disabled in our 5 senses". The sensory pathways "Wake up your feet and Awaken your senses" were born in 2008 and 2010, and completed by the introduction of games areas unique in France

A site for environmental education, biodiversity, relaxation and exploration of the 5 senses, Broceliande Gardens is first and foremost a wonderful training and awareness-raising facility for people with disability. Alongside this primary goal, we also seek to provide a truly satisfying experience for our visitors.

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