Qualifications for a good Gardener

Le Potager du Roi à Versailles

"He should be neither too Old, nor too Young, Vigorous and Active, of good Capacity and Experience, of known Diligence and Honesty, of good Nature and Affability; and no doubt but thefe Qualifications will recommend him to any Perfon of Quality."
Jean de la Quintinie, Instruction pour les Jardins Fruitiers et Potagers, translated by George London and Henry Wise, 1699.

Jean-Baptiste de la Quintinie, the creator of Louis XIV's Potager du Roi, was trained as a lawyer. He discovered his vocation as a gardener during a trip to Italy and abandoned his law career upon his return to France. His masterpiece, the Potager du Roi, took 5 years to complete and was designated a historic monument in France in 1921. Upon de la Quintinie's death in 1688, Louis XIV reportedly told his widow, "Madame, nous avons fait une grande perte que nous ne pourrons jamais réparer." His book, a compendium of his experience and reflections on gardening, was published two years after his death, and through various translations, became a classic reference on the cultivation of fruits and vegetables. In his requirements for a good gardener, I reckon I qualify to be one, as I hope to be one day - simply a good gardener.

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