France, the country that perfected the art of formal gardening, features thousands of flourishing flowers. French flowers have been captured on film and in literature, and play an integral part in landscapes across the country, from those displayed at the most extravagant castles to the most humble of countryside cottages. Minimum average temperatures in France range from zero to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, the equivalent of U.S. Hardiness Zones 6 to 9, which allows for many a flower to flourish.
Napolean's wife, Josephine, popularized roses in France, amassing a large collection in the 1800s to enjoy their colors and fragrance. Gallica, or French tea roses, are still gardeners' favorites. According to Texas A&M University Department of Horticulture, tea roses are upright, branching bush types that grow three feet tall or more, have large flowers and are the most commonly cultivated. The first hybrid tea roses were bred in France and England in the 19th century, the Heritage Rose Foundation states. Parisian hybridizers continue to offer more varieties.
This flowering herb, renowned for its pleasant fragrance, sports dusty blue flowers and soft green foliage. It is widely grown commercially in France and cultivated in many Parisian gardens, according to the University of California-Davis. Full sun and well drained soil are necessary for good plant growth. Warmth is also essential for this Mediterranean species, which southern France abundantly provides. Native lavender varieties mainly grow in the southeastern hills of France, and until the mid 20th century, it was harvested wild by families using sickles and cloth sacks.
Claude Monet's garden in Giverny, just outside of Paris, features this fragrant flowering vine draped over a Japanese bridge that spans the pond where the famous artist created his iconic "water lilies" paintings. White and mauve wisteria blooms appear there in the spring. The twining, deciduous vines require full sun, very sturdy climbing support and gardening commitment, via hard and regular pruning, to keep them in check.
According to Paeonia.com, these spring flowers are thought to have originated in China. Europeans first grew them for medicinal purposes, and in the 1700s began cultivating herbaceous varieties for their ornamental value. French hybridizer Louis Henry is credited with creating the first yellow tree peonies. Other French breeders cultivated the majority of new introductions in the 1800s and 1900s that remain popular today and can be seen in gardens such as those found in Menton along the Mediterranean.