Last time I already gave you a taste of the beautiful domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire. But besides inspiring and beautiful art, an impressive castle and a massive park it also hosts the International Garden Festival. Every year 24 show gardens are created by teams from all around the globe. This year the teams had to create a garden of thought. The results show the inventive interpretations of this theme and I really saw some very inspiring gardens. As it is not possible to describe them all, I made a selection of 4 of my favourites and this year’s winner. Doing a garden justice on pictures is always hard… to describe a garden is even harder…but I’ll give it a go !

Dans ma bulle (in my bubble)

photo-26I really enjoyed this garden a lot, not only for the wild flower arrangements, but definitely for the bubbles made of living willows. I think that this garden spoke to me as I am often residing in my own bubble as well, dreaming away and looking for a space to hide. Here the willow bubbles provoke a world apart, where you can really enter and take some time to contemplate. But also the greenery around you brings you in an idealised “natural” environment. A pond, flower meadows and some forest-like biotopes are packed here on a small area, giving you the chance to go on a journey through nature and take time to take in all aspects of that journey. Small willow bubble hang in the air as thoughts in your mind. Knautia Macedonia, Angelica Gigas, salvias and digitalis mertonensis are some of the plants in this garden. In combination with shrubs like Cornus Alba and Viburnum lantana and grasses like calamagrostis arundinacea.

( Made by Delphine Esterlingot and Hervé Paillot)


Les Sept Vallées (the seven valleys)

photo-28Another one of my favourites was this beautiful spiralled garden. As you walk up the spiralling path the tale “The Conference of Birds” gets unraveled. This collection of poems in Persian was published in 1177 and tells the story of a group of birds set out across seven valleys (the quest, love, knowledge, detachment, unity, perplexity and poverty and annihilation) to find their king. The garden is actually a ribbon of plants that are changing in color scheme and textures. The nice thing is that you are quite close to the plants and flowers and have a more intense journey upwards the spiral. The main question is How far will your thoughts take you ? What will you find ? The journey takes you along a wide range of plants like Euphorbias, Asters, Fatsia Japonica, Pennisetums and different kinds of Sedum

(Made by Sébastien Chervrier, Lydia Majcherczyk and Noémie Chabert)


Entrez dans la pensine 

photo-33Here you are welcomed by a quote from Harry Potter “But why can’t everything that is going on in our brain be reality ?” Yes indeed Harry Potter even got into the gardening world and the result is quite pleasing. The power of the “pensieve”, a magical receptacle filled with its user’s thoughts and memories, kept there in order to be free of them. Here the “pensieve” is symbolised with a round pivotal point where you can sit around a round watermirror. It separates two parts of the garden : the dark one, where a winding path surrounded with beams and climbing plants, provokes the world of shadows, and a colourful flower garden where everything is structured. Once again a garden that takes you on a journey and it seems I really like those a lot.

(Made by Bérengère Lecat and Stéphane Larcin)


Le Jardin de Proust : le cours d’un dessein (The Proust garden : the course of a destiny)

photo-16Entering this garden is quite surprising. You actually enter a living room, chairs, a piano, tables, but instead of walls, there is a grid. The “wallpaper” is a lush garden in the back of it. This is the garden of Marcel Proust, the French writer, who often wrote about the social theatre and how all artists, writers, painters and aristocrats were part of this ballet on the world stage. In this garden we follow his path of thoughts. From the lounge we step “outside” into a beautiful flower meadow dotted with fruit trees. From there the journey goes further along a low wall towards a narrow path where more tropical and lush greenery surrounds you. The path winds through this palm trees, banana plants and bamboo and ends again in the lounge area. There you stand, confronted with yourself in a large mirror… you become part of the spectacle. What first seems like a gimmick now makes sense.

(Made by students of école nationale supérieure de paysage de Versailles)


The Winner : Into the woods / Dans les bois

This years winner is not what you would think of as a real garden and that is probably also what made this project of American landscapers stand out. This garden is inspired by Jorge Luis Borges, The garden of forking paths. An adventure where the narrator is travelling through a labyrinth of lowering branches and finds himself faced with a series of crossroads. He finally arrives in a poplar grove and is confronted that he didn’t enter the garden of his ancestors, but instead was lost in a labyrinth in which all men would become lost. And that is exactly what happens in this garden. You have to find your way through dense shrubs and trees ( Acer pseudoplatanus,Alnus Glutinosa, Betula Pendula, Carpinus Betulus Populus Alba and Salix Caprea), crossroads are charred beams of wood. Will you ever make it out of here ? Are you on the right path ?

(Made by : Phoebe Lickwar, Matthew Donham, Hannah Moll and Andersen Woof)



Impressions of the other gardens :

Ceci n’est pas un jardin
Hortus Allegoricus
Réflexion Faite
La petite serre


La possibilité d’une île
Le livre de sable
Le dédale de la pansée