The historical collection offers an overview of:
- the plants grown by Man from Neolithic times (approximately 3,500 BC) to the present day. Man has always exploited natural plant resources to meet his many needs: food, medicine, construction, etc.Barley, flax, peas, parsley, turnips, oats, onions, rye, vetch, broad beans, lentils, carrots, parsnips, garlic, shallots, absinth, matricaria, tansy, asparagus, lamb’s lettuce, lemon balm, rhubarb, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, sweet corn, sunflower, marrow... these are just a few of the examples of all the species on display.
- adventitious species introduced accidentally along with other plants from the 16th Century onwards. These include the American amaranth, the Canadian fleabane, the giant balsam and the goldenrod. Some of these plants have even been labelled as “invasive”, i.e. they develop to the detriment of indigenous plants.
- ornamental plants grown since the early 16th Century. They are grouped chronologically according to the first time they were used or introduced. This part illustrates the growing interest in garden ornamentation since the Renaissance.