The magic of Journée des Plantes de Chantilly has worked again this week end with lovely weather and Prince Amyn Aga Khan, in great form, during the three day event. He is more and more passionate about gardens. On Sunday, beloved French Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, showed up « en famille ».
This plant show, which is the French equivalent of the Chelsea flower show but more scientific, attracts a very popular public as well, and received the official visit of the Friends of Kew gardens, who were marveling at the quality of exhibitors. The variety of plants with great old roses, many rare species produced by tiny nurseries, culinary herbs, lovely books published by Ulmer and old garden tools, make for a fantastic show.
Since I am not a dendrologist nor a green finger myself, I was impressed by the furniture and by the wooden house built by Jardiland on a little island in the English garden, surrounded by sheep. From there you had the best view over the castle of Chantilly, built by Prince de Condé, the temple of Venus and the lawns planted with thousands of camassias that you crossed on a wooden causeway.
Dinner on Thursday night in honor of the members of the jury (which come twice a year from Great Britain, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal and France), took place in the castle, in the recently restored Galerie des Peintures. Having dinner in front of five Poussin, a Raphaël, a Corot, a Largillière, is always a great kick…
It was the last great dinner in Chantilly by 2 star Michelin chef, Arnaud Faye, who prepared sea bass and raviolis for 80 privileged guests. He is unfortunately leaving Auberge du Jeu de Paume in July for Eze in the South of France.
Patrice and Hélène Fustier, who created this plant festival at Château de Courson thirty years ago, were beaming with joy at what the Aga Khan’s team was able to produce. And Nicole Garnier, the head curator was enjoying the gardeners’ company.
The 250 exhibitors were incredibly happy with the turn out of 20 000 visitors who had come for the scenery as well as for the discovery of new rare plants. Three young nurseries were represented among the stars, Tillandsia Prod, who specializes in rootless plants, Jardin du Beau Pays, from the French Flanders, who also has a remarkable garden near Calais, and Aurélie and Maxime van de Sande from Brittany who create plants for the shade, at Vert’tige.
It is wonderful to see that young garden lovers are passionate about growing and inventing new flowers. Roy Lancaster was there as usual and so was gardner Louis Benech who designed a new bench for the Belgian Royal Botania. I bought perfumed geraniums for my bathroom and wish I could send you the smell on this blog!
(Next Journées des Plantes are October 14-16)
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