In Chilleurs-aux-Bois, the company Les Roses Anciennes André Eve cultivates the memory of the famous rose grower

It’s an amazing garden that shows whoever visits it life in rose(s)… The best showcase a thriving business can have, as The Old Roses André Eve, located in Chilleurs-aux-Bois. “More than a window, it is our DNA, our backbone”, says David Legendreproduction manager.

Keeping this space of 5,000 square meters, of which 3,500 plantations – on a six-hectare estate – he and his colleagues cultivate the memory and know-how of Loire Valley rose grower André Eve. Until the beginning of July 2022, the location is Open to the publicfree, Wednesday to Sunday, from 14:00 to 18:00..

In an area of ​​six hectares, the garden represents 5,000 square meters, including 3,500 of planting. The rest is taken up, among other things, by production. Photo Christelle Gaujard

Interview with the most famous rose grower and breeder in Pithiverais, André Ève (November 2013)

“By losing its garden, the company lost its soul”

Because the garden is inseparable from this company that, in 2016, left its historic site in Pithiviers-le-Vieil, where it was just a tenant, to another in Chilleurs, which it owns, not far from the castle of Cameroon. One move by default which was not without pain, as its director since 2018, Pascal Pinel, explains:

Communication was not good, the place no longer corresponded to André Eve, customers no longer went there. By losing its garden, the company lost its soul.”

“An English style with Japanese dominance”

Upon his arrival, Pascal Pinel therefore wanted to create a new Eden, similar to that of the famous gardener. Its main characteristics: “An English style with Japanese mastery, where natural takes a lot of work” and the absence of chemicals.

According to David Legendre:

“Even if it was necessary to adapt to the terrain, the configuration of the garden is based on the plans drawn up by André Eve. There are perennials; lightly shaded trees because, without sun, roses struggle to bloom and develop; a row of pergolas. Among the massifs, the paths are curved, the lawn has the appearance of a carpet, birch trunks mark the paths.

“We use auxiliary insects such as lacewings and ladybird larvae to control the proliferation of aphids and other rose pests. Without insecticide, it works very well. This knowledge allows us to transmit sustainable and biological processes to our customers”, adds David Legendre.

The pergolas, on which roses and clematis grow, are the hallmark of the garden according to André Ève. Photo Christelle Gaujard

Strong growth during the Covid years

Losing momentum as it moved, the Les Roses Anciennes André Eve frame caught the slack. Today, it revolves around three concepts: “breeder, collector, gardener”.

The company produces nothing less than 600 varieties. Master of hybridization, Jérôme Rateau creates new ones every year. In 2022, for 30,000 seeds sown, only a handful of varieties will be selected.

The company produces no less than 600 varieties. From hybridization to commercialization, it takes nearly ten years to invent a new variety of roses. Photo Christelle Gaujard

The company that does the work fifteen permanent employees and seasonal workers, records today a turnover of 2 million euros. Its customers are 80% individuals – who buy online, on site or at fairs – and 20% professionals.

The company experienced unprecedented growth at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. “People, confined to their homes, rediscovered the garden as a new room in your house“, highlighted David Legendre. Since then, the activity has resumed a “normal” rhythm. On the other hand, according to the production manager, the rose garden attracts new “younger and neophyte” customers. What to see life in pink(s).

Pascal Pinel presents his favorite variety: “Coraline”. A rose created by André Eve. Photo Christelle Gaujard

Open house, Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th of June.
On the occasion of its open days, the company offers various activities. Saturday: Beekeeping questions from 10 am to 1 pm; beekeeping workshops, from 1 pm to 2 pm and from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm; garden maintenance, from 2 pm to 3:30 pm; hybridization from 3:30 pm to 4:15 pm; conference “Marcel Robichon, André Eve’s guide to the land of roses”, from 15:00 to 15:30. Sunday: garden maintenance workshops, from 2 pm to 3.30 pm and from 4 pm to 5.30 pm; hybridization, from 3:30 pm to 4:15 pm; conference “Bagatelle… place of consecration of Jérôme Rateau”, from 15:00 to 15:30.
Reservation on 02.38.30.01.30.

Four gardens…

In the Loiret, four distinct places recall the work of the rose garden and specialist in old roses. André Evaarrived in Pithiviers in 1958 and died in 2015.

  • The company Les Roses André Evelocated 301 route de Courcy in Chilleurs-aux-Bois
  • André Eve’s personal garden, located 28 bis, faubourg d’Orléans in Pithiviers. Behind her house, bought in 1978, hides a romantic garden where the rose is queen. It is managed by the Associação dos Amigos de André Eva, founded shortly after his death, with the aim of keeping this place alive. It obtained the “Notable Garden” seal in 2021, to reward its historic character and its associative management.
  • Morailles rose garden, located at 1, rue André-Eve, in Pithiviers-le-Vieil. Emerged from the ground in 1996 to serve as a showcase for hundreds of varieties of old roses, this garden is what, historically, has been linked to the company. Abandoned, it has flourished again thanks to the municipality of Pithiviers-le-Vieil, the local association with 3,000 years of history, then the Roman Road Gardens, a structure of reintegration through commercial horticulture, which now manages the site. Its back-to-work employees maintain the place, which has 700 varieties of roses. There are also organic gardens at the market, a shop offering organic vegetables from the garden, a tea room…
  • The rose garden in the large garden of the Théâtre des Minuits, located on Ruelle des Barrières, in La Neuville-sur-Essonne. André Eve created one of his last rose gardens in this place of artistic creation.

In Pithiviers-le-Vieil, the rose garden at Morailles christens a new variety of roses

Anne-Laure LeJan

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