It was an extraordinary edition of the Journées des plantes de Chantilly with 26° centrigrade all week end and the most beautiful newcomers to this 32 year old garden festival started at Château de Courson by Hélène and Patrice Fustier.
Italians, British from Shropshire, many Belgians, Dutch and French nurseries came to show their new plants which took years to elaborate. Arnaud Delbard had a dwarf pear tree, Belle Hélène, and told me about his adventures in Columbia, Ecuador, Kenya where roses grow all year round in altitude thanks to the temperate climate.
There were many autumn camellias in bloom, and of course the superb hydrangeas from Pépinière de la Thyle and ferns from « Ecoute s’il pleut » which again won a prize. The Liquidambar from Belgian grower, Damien Devos were very successful and the fig trees from a newcomer, Olivier Marx at Figoli in Provence.
But what was most enchanting was the continuous presence of Hélène and Patrice Fustier with Prince Amyn Aga Khan who is passionate and has developed a real friendship with most exhibitors. During the prize giving ceremony on Friday morning, Jean Pierre Hennebelle talked about the beauty of foliage versus flowers as he won the Prix de la Presse.
I was personnally charmed by the lovely Emilie Claeys who was demonstrating her wood cutting tools at Jacklumber with particular grace. Gardener Louis Benech was in love with the plants he had acquired and Catherine de Bourgoing, very excited by all the trees and roses she had bought for Musée de la Vie romantique and Musée Bourdelle’s gardens that she volunteers for in the center of Paris.
On Thursday night, Nicole Garnier, head curator of Chantilly was showing us the new book she has cowritten with 450 beautiful photographs by Marc Walter, « Chantilly, Le Domaine des Princes » published next month at Swan Editeurs. You can order it now at a special price of 130€.
And Stéphane Marie, the divine star tv anchor of « Silence ça pousse », a weekly show on gardens, was telling us how he had discovered, at the British Library, an Italian herbarium made in 1560 by Gherardo Cibo. Its particularity is that each plant is painted in front of the landscape where it grows. The book comes out in November at Le Chêne.
The quality of the show is based on the depth and excellence of the group of people who exhibit and organise this festival twice a year and Fabienne de Sèze, among them is a very active member of the juries. The next dates for Journées des Plantes will be May 18 to 20, 2018.
The exhibition of Poussin drawings and paintings at Chantilly showing “Le Massacre des Innocents” also attracted many visitors to the Jeu de Paume and it is on until January 7.
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