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  • Chaumont International Garden Festival

    9th August 2015Places to VisitStephanie Donaldson

    It’s some years since I last visited the garden festival at Chaumont and my goodness it has upped its game in the intervening years. Last time I went it was more concept than realisation – and the chateau gardens beyond the festival were nothing remarkable. This year it’s an event of a different order – the majority of the twenty nine Festival Gardens are well-designed and well-planted and meet the challenge of looking good for 6 months rather than the week most show gardens need to last.  The French do like their gardens to be thought-provoking – this year’s theme is Collector’s Gardens- which is interpreted in very diverse ways from La serre de victorias a lovely intrepretation of a traditional French greenhouse (in plastic!) filled with giant waterlilies  to Le Jardin du Teinturier (The Dyer’s Garden) that is based on the tanneries of Marrakesh.

    Chateau du Chaumont

    Chateau du Chaumont

    La serre des Victorias

    La serre des Victorias

    waterlilies in greenhouse

    The Dyer’s Garden

    The Dyer’s Garden

    flowers and string jars of seeds the dyers garden Each garden has an explanation at the entrance in both French and English which is very helpful and definitely worth reading to get the most from the gardens.

    Nuances - a huge frame surrounds an area of blue planting and visitors view it like a painting

    Nuances – a huge frame surrounds an area of blue planting and visitors view it like a painting

    attention to carnivorous pants

    Carnivore Parc with its caged carnivorous plants

    Carnivore Parc with its caged carnivorous plants

    Les Jardin des Bougainvilliers - a garden filled with bougainvillea in all their diversity - I particularly liked the soft pink variety

    Les Jardin des Bougainvilliers – a garden filled with bougainvillea in all their diversity – I particularly liked the soft pink variety

    tinged bougainvillea

    Jardin Sauvage with its many-layered dense mixture of luxuriant vegetation.

    Jardin Sauvage with its many-layered dense mixture of luxuriant vegetation.

    jardin suavage tropical garden

    L’arche de Linne - a modern Noah’s collection of plants for his ark

    L’arche de Linne – a modern Noah’s collection of plants for his ark

    layers of vegetation succulents and cacti weathered deck

    plant lost luggage

    Le collectionneur de l’ombre – apparently the plant equivalent of lost luggage at an airport – presumably better cared for the suitcases!

    crates of plants

     

    The Festival runs until November 1st, but the extensive chateau grounds are open all the year round and feature  numerous art installations as well as some wonderful seasonal planting in the gardens leading to the chateau.

    cool garden border cool tones for planting bronze fennel going to seed productive garden

    I just wished I had allowed a full day at Chaumont – I based on my timing on my previous visit – a big mistake.  Until the end of August the gardens are also open from 10pm to midnight for Jardins de Lumiere when both the chateau and its gardens are illuminated. www.domaine-chaumont.fr

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