I IS FOR?
INTERNATIONAL GARDEN FESTIVAL!
Inspirational, invigorating, individualistic, innovative ~ all that and more were the impressions we took away with us after visiting the International Garden Festival at Chaumont - sur - Loire in France last July.
This garden festival was unlike any that I have visited in the U.K. The event it does not last just for a few brief days. Instead once installed the gardens are left to mature over a period of six months. The exhibits are selected from entries from all over the globe submitted by landscape architects, garden designers and artists. Entries interpret a different theme each year. In 2010 the theme was 'Body And Soul'. There were over 300 applications for last year's show but only a small number were selected for inclusion. The displays were also illuminated for some special evening openings. This year the theme will be 'Gardens of The Future Or Happy Biodiversity'. There are also permanent features including 'Vallon des Brumes' or the 'Valley Of The Mists', 'Sentiers des Fers Sauvages' or 'The Wild Iron Pathway' as well as patches of permanent planting from previous festivals. The event has run since 1992.
On a practical note admission charges were most reasonable especially in comparison to the prices involved in visiting the major Royal Horticultural Society shows. There were a couple of restaurants but like a lot of visitors we enjoyed a picnic taking in the views from one of the plentiful benches. Although busy it never seemed unpleasantly crowded. There was very little in the way of merchandise for sale apart from a shop on the way out which sold some horticultural sundries, books, stationary, calenders and a few plants. In itself this made for a pleasant change and allowed visitors to concentrate on and think about the gardens.
Before we reached the festival itself we savoured the castle, various outbuildings and the idyllic setting. Arriving early in the morning I followed in the footsteps of himself the intrepid expedition leader. You can see that by the end of the day that he had the idea to indulge in some idle contemplation..
All in all there were some 25 individual gardens to wend our way round in what were ideal conditions for such activity ~ dry with sunny intervals and a slight breeze. There was of course what struck me as the weird and wacky entries but I will save them for another day. Instead in this post I am concentrating on what we were enchanted by ~
Finally a few images of the gardens that made the most impression on me of the day which included a most imaginative and simply breathtaking floating garden as well as a decidedly quirky vegetable plot. For me this visit from beginning to end was the ultimate in self indulgence!
If you would like to investigate the letter I further you are invited to visit ABC Wednesday forthwith.