The Stalingrad shared garden is managed by the association Génération Citoyen, a signatory of the ‘Main Verte’ charter. Budding gardeners grow vegetables and flowers in raised containers which isolate plants from the ground in order to reduce potential risks of soil pollution. The grassy area provides a convivial space for members and local residents to meet together.
The “Main Verte” (green fingers) programme run by the City of Paris facilitates the establishment of community garden projects for residents on public land. There are more than eighty community gardens located in the capital. Local community associations initiating and managing community gardens on city lands comply with the “Main Verte” programme’s regulations. It stipulates that these gardens be open to the general public on a regular basis, the organisation of events should be open to all, and the sites should be managed in an environmentally sound manner. The "Main Verte" programme promotes environmentally friendly practices and on a local level, works towards the city’s policies for sustainable development.
The trees lining our streets
Today there are 100,700 avenue trees lining Paris’s streets. The boulevard is bordered by plane trees (Platanus × acerifolia) which are valued for their tolerance to pruning and air pollution. It is the most common variety planted on the capital’s streets. The trees are closely monitored because of the Sycamore lace bug (Corythucha ciliata) which prowls around Paris; originally from America, this insect is just a few millimetres in size and lives on the underside of the leaves which it punctures in order to draw the intracellular liquid, provoking a discoloration of the leaf and causing it to drop off. Encouraged by the summer heat, the number of sycamore lace bugs has multiplied rapidly over the past few years. The City of Paris’s forestry services keep a close watch on the trees’ state of health and are engaged in a biological battle against the parasites, calling in the aid of a microscopic worm, the nematode Steinernema feltiae.This is a parasite and predator not only of the adult sycamore lace bug, but also the larvae of fungus gnats, leafminer flies and thrips. Additionally, green lacewings larvae (Chrysopa lucasina) are used on the leaves to get rid of sycamore lace bug larvae, aphids, cochineal insects and acarids.
There are 1590 streets planted with 100,700 trees of over 250 varieties, covering over 200 km (124 miles), which promote the circulation and development of wildlife in Paris. New species such as holm oaks, hazels, honey locusts, hackberries and cherry trees have joined the traditional horse chestnut trees, planes, maples, locusts, etc. This diversity reduces the risk of spreading species-specific diseases or parasites and supports adaptation to climate change. Street trees are very vulnerable; they are subject to an unfavourable environment of possible drought, soil compaction, pollution, car impact and so on. Their average longevity of 60 years is shorter than that of park trees. Improvements in the planting and the maintenance of urban trees increase their life expectancy. Between October and March, tree surgeons employed by the City of Paris practice light pruning in a manner specific to the various tree species. This pruning strategy is adapted to the pressures of the urban environment; it causes less wounds, maintains the trees’ natural habit and helps preserve nesting sites.