Jardins de la Paix, Le Quesnoy

The Peace Gardens project at Le Quesnoy consists of creating some fifteen perennial gardens in 2018 in the Hauts-de-France region on the theme of peace. This new memory trail will pay tribute to the countless deaths on French soil between 1914 and 1918, and bear witness to the number and diversity of the countries involved in this conflict.

This project is initiated by the Association Art & gardens – Hauts-de-France and by the First World War Centenary Partnership Program. Association Art & gardens – Hauts-de-France produces, on the initiative of the Hauts-de-France region, a festival of contemporary gardens in public spaces, in agreement with the French Ministry of Culture. First World War Centenary Partnership Program is a public interest group established in 2012 by the Government for the preparation and implementation of the commemorative program for the First War centenary.

Created by landscape designers from countries which fought in the region, these artistic gardens will be grouped in clusters of three to four gardens, each located near Great War memorial sites and tourism routes. These gardens were be created in the spring of 2018, presented to the public in summer and inaugurated in autumn 2018, one century after the end of fighting in the Great War.

One of these clusters is located in Le Quesnoy, in the Nord department of northern France and will commemorate the contribution of New Zealanders to the liberation of the town. Resolutely forward-looking, this Peace Garden will be a testimony to the vitality of artistic creation in New-Zealand as well as the French-New Zealand friendship since the end of the First World War.

Our entry employed time-honoured symbols and motifs from the New Zealand natural world to create a deep sense of connection with the faraway land, and proposed planting that would be experienced intimately, encouraging meditation. The centre of the garden represents a transition from one path (conflict) to another (cooperation).

Left: The site is set in the green belt surrounding the town created by its historic defences. It shows the typical star shape and used moats as well as walls.

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