Thursday, 13 October 2011

Chaumont sur Loire Garden Festival

Lots of pictures of the Château de Chaumont Garden Festival. 

After exhibiting at Chelsea for the past two years I was really looking forward to visiting Chaumont, and it didn't disappoint. The main thing that struck me about the gardens on display here was how they had a sense of permanence after settling into their surroundings for the past 5 months. The plants had grown, withered, taken over and nestled making each garden seem more real. It always seems such a shame when at Chelsea, after months of preparations, the gardens are on display for less than a week and the tickets more often than not sell out. At the Chaumont garden festival you could walk through the gardens and examine the planting and detailing up close, what a treat. The theme of this years festival was 'Happy Biodiversity'.

La Laboratory Garden by Meryl Fanien, Philippe Guillemet and Cyrille Parlat. This garden was all about life after a catastrophe, one man's world of collections and rebirth, lost fossils, animals and plants. The garden was a representation of a laboratory of experimentation for a new world and a new biodiversity. The garden was filled with curiosities and ideas - lovely. Hederas, Hostas and Dryopteris created the central green structure with Fallopia aubertii, Dicksonia antarctica and Rodgersia podophylla adding texture and interest.

I was quite partial to this palette decking in the 'I miss you' garden by Jacob Vilato and Marc Cunat. 

The worm's transparancy by Anne Blouin and Alessandra Blotto. This garden invites you to imagine that you have become a worm and entered into the earth's skin, slightly bonkers but one of my favourites. It engulfed you within lush planting, a snaking mismatched boardwalk and lovely living willow archways. 

View towards the Chateau

The garden of extinct plants by Denis Valette and Olivier Barthelemy was described as a warning garden. Black plaques inscribed with botanical names allow is to wonder how many of these plants are now extinct. It reminded me of the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay and was powerful in it's message. A pared back planting scheme with height and drama given by Salix matsudana 'Tortuosa'.

Colourful planted oil drums in the Pixelated Garden


The Handle with Care garden by Jeroen Jacobs and Maarten Jacobs. A garden as a metaphor for the threats hanging over nature, how long can our fragile biodiversity last in the face of more natural disasters and depletion of natural resources? A big message for a small garden, blood red bags fed the lush green vegetation with bright red splashes of Hemerocallis 'Crimson Pirate', Impereta cylindrica 'Red Baron' and Monarda 'Cambridge Scarlet'.

'Let's celebrate and weave biodiversity' by Sandra Dufour, Simon Visconti and Manon Bordet-Chavanes. This garden used nature as a source of inspiration for form, texture and a life full of fun. The fabric patchwork canopy was reflected on the ground plane through numerous potted plants clustered along a boardwalk with a central tree and seating area. I loved the fabric canopy but the pots reminded me of my ramshackle collection of old pots that I always mean to do something with but end up getting pushed up against a wall.

The Between Sky and Earth garden, I remember very little about the planting but it was one of the most fun to walk through.

The Lucy in the Sky garden by Sativa paysagists. This garden was showcasing what could be achieved in an urban soilless rooftop garden. The garden adapts to its location and situation - taking resources from technology, soilless cultivation, range of epiphytes, hydroponics, plant carpets and solar energy. I really liked the use of what looked like reclaimed wooden boxes as wall cladding, being taken over by planting. The images of a Tokyo skyline were also rather effective in the space.

The Take-away Garden by Jo Chapman and Jackie Bennet. I love this simple idea of an instant garden that can take over a space quickly and cheaply. Temporary landscapes that could make the most of redundant urban spaces awaiting development or car parks that lie empty for the majority of time. It would have been nice to see this garden slightly fuller but the idea is a good one. 

Exuberant Pollen by Yekaterina Yushmanova and Ruth Currey. A garden celebrating the importance of pollen. A web of transparent balls stretched across the garden like pollen on the wind. Planting told a story of agriculture and heritage with Linum usitatissimum, Chinopodium quinoa, Ptilotus exaltatus and Pennisetum glaucum 'Purple Majesty'.

The Dining Room Garden which showcased the benefits of the orchard and the vegetable patch at the heart of the garden. The food chain as a happiness system! I can certainly understand that - food and eating is central to my happiness - and I want to now go and paint plates, knives and forks onto park benches.

Giant chicken wire mushroom composters in the Sculptillonnage garden

A twisted organic wooden shelter

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