Sunday, 29 June 2014


There's a big garden show every year at the chateau at Chaumont, from about an hour-and-a-half's, to three hours' drive from chez us, depending on who's navigating.   The chateau itself is state owned, i.e. funded by taxpayers, but it seems to be operated on more or less of a commercial basis; you have to pay to get in.  I don't know how much loss or profit it makes.

The garden show is an exhibition of small gardens designed to illustrate a theme.  This year it's the seven deadly sins.   Easy:  I'd have done sloth:  plant up a lazy garden with just a few easy-going plants and wait for the weeds to cover it.  Trouble is, it would take a couple of years for the full effect, and the gardens are re-done every year.

I guess at the end of the day, I like plantings as plantings, and am not too impressed by arty-farty "themes".   Some of the gardens were interesting enough in their combination of plants, but for example, the garden planned using peach trees (fr: pêche) as a pun on sin (fr: péché)  left me cold.

There was one, designed as a sort of confessional, where the artist had written out various sinful things on cloth strips tied to poles.   The garden itself wasn't too bad, but the sins on display showed a tragic lack of imagination.

I was faintly amused by the one shown below.  Apparently, the prevalence of nicely-tended lawns around houses in the USA is causing a water shortage from all the watering them to keep them green, plus the release of herbicides and insecticides into the environment is adding to pollution.  The lawn below uses no herbicides, insecticides nor water, being entirely made of plastic.

That's not to say that the theme gardens were uniformly unappealing.  Here's a few pics of some that I liked.  The colours of the Heuchera leaves worked well for me, and this tropical lava-like environment perfectly captured an exotic atmosphere.

On the other hand, the grounds and gardens of the chateau are magnificent, and are used to display some large-scale artworks that work well in the context.  The flower beds are also wonderfully done, and imaginitive plant combinations provide texture, colour and movement.   The exception is the vegetable garden, that is not worth the very short walk to reach it.   Overall though, the gardens are well worth a visit, and probably a re-visit.

1 comment:

CherryPie said...

The gardens in front of the Chateau look fabulous.

The way you have described the show gardens makes me think I wouldn't find them appealing...

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