Twice a year in May and October, Château de Chantilly celebrates new plants and International nurseries. An dualist week, Prince AmYn Aga Khan and Hélène Fustier were running around the park in their electric cart congratulating the prize winners of the season. Among whom, Belgian grower Damien Devos, won with a beautiful dark red peony and was exhibiting delightful calycanthus Aphrodite, and another Belgian, Pépinières Choteau, who specializes in Japanese maples Acer palmatum, were showing their “Ukigumo”, a ravishing tree with gray leaves.
May is generally less crowded because “real gardners” know as not to plant anything in the Spring but wait for October to enable their trees to acclimate in the fall. But the weather was beautiful all week end and enthusiastic plant growers were as cheerful as ever. I spoke with the lady from “Les Jardins d’écoute s’il pleut”, who for the firs time in three years had not won a prize, and showed me the “hypolepis rugosula”, a ravishing fern with lace like triangular leaves.
The name of this nursery, “The gardens of listen if it rains” tells it all! They are located an hour west of Poitiers in Vendée. All rhododendrons were in perfect bloom at Pépinières Kerfandol from Brittany, and of course roses were well represented at roses André Eve and roses Loubet. It was easy to find the “Sans souci” (no worry) choices on every stand to concentrate on easy gardening.
The sad news was to see Roy Lancaster give his last conference before retiring from the jury after thirty years! but Jim Gardiner, a magnolia expert and Royal horticultural society former Vice President, is taking over and tv personality Stéphane Marie gave a conference on his book “Des bouquets toute l’année” published by E/P/A with Stéphane Pennetier and Dany Sautot.
Once again, Parc de Chantilly was the seat of a reunion of garden lovers and everyone left with a few plants in the back of their car. The next edition is on October 18-20.
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