Just a short hop, crawl or flight from the wild space of the Petite Ceinture, the new Jardin Charles Trenet offers a variety of habitats to local wildlife.
The long, narrow pond is artificial but evokes memories of the river Bièvre that crossed the quartier on its route to the river Seine, before it was piped and diverted early in the last century. The pond is fed with rainwater from surface drains and roofs of the new eco-quartier built on the old railway sidings of the Gare de Rungis. Rainwater is also collected in underground tanks for watering the ornamental parts of the new garden.
Deliberately created wild space in a urban setting needs careful design and planning if it is to avoid looking like a space the gardeners forgot. Here the crisp lines of the lawned terraces, neatly edged gravel paths, a well maintained playground and an elegant decking bridge make it clear that the luxuriant wild vegetation at the water’s edge is intentional.
The notices are a little optimistic, at least in that position. The reeds, bulrushes and purple loosestrife are growing so vigorously that the water can barely be glimpsed from the path. From the bridge several green frogs could be seen sunning themselves amongst a shoal of young goldfish. The frogs are genuine wildlife. The goldfish are probably the offspring of pet fish that outgrew their tanks and were quietly liberated when the pond was filled last year. Not good for the ecological balance but part of the urban scene.
This small green space already looks an established part of the neighborhood, though it’s only a year old. The pictures here show the site last spring.