Hot off the press comes news of the 21st edition of the Chaumont Festival of Gardens, held annually in the grounds of the Domaine de Chaumont, a chateau perched high above the River Loire, in central France. The Festival, which attracted 210,000 visitors last year, opens its doors to an eager audience of professional and amateur gardeners on 26thApril 2012.
The “must see” contemporary garden venue, Chaumont has excelled itself this time, with twenty-six new show gardens to be installed and nurtured for the six months of the event, which runs until 21stOctober. Each year gardens are built to a theme, sometimes obscure, often a play on French words and phrases – they do not always translate well. For the 2012 season, top international designers and artists were invited to submit projects on the theme: “Jardins des délices, jardins des délires” or Gardens of delight, gardens of delirium. Expect the unexpected, as extraordinary sights are guaranteed! The gardens selected for the Festival this year are the creations of designers and landscapers from twelve countries, including one from the UK highlighting the political rights of garden gnomes.
2012 is also the inaugural year of a number of exciting new projects including an extra 500 sq.m. of exhibition space and a 10 hectare addition to the permanent gardens of the Domaine. Close to the Festival site, this new park has been designed by the celebrated French landscaper Louis Benech in neglected parkland above the chateau. It incorporates a number of spaces in which, over time, will be built a series of 1000 sq.m. permanent gardens. The first was created last year by scholar and architect Che Bing Chiu in a contemporary style which recognises centuries of classical Chinese garden-making tradition. This is destined to be an important European garden as it grows and matures and will be joined by another garden to be built this year by Chinese landscaper Shu Wang.
From modest beginnings under the control of the local authority, the Domaine de Chaumont has rediscovered its place in history as one of the most important centres for contemporary garden art. A castle has existed on this remarkable site since the 10th century. It was once owned by Queen Catherine de Medici and by Diane de Poitiers, and in the 19th century by the Prince and Princess de Broglie who constructed the model farm buildings and the park. More details on the Domaine and its Garden Festival, including detailed descriptions of the show gardens since 1992, can be found on the site: Loire Valley Gardens
The Garden Design Academy will be including a visit to the unmissable Chaumont Festival of Gardens in each of its study tours of Loire Valley Gardens this year. More details here: Garden Design Academy
Watch this space for more details of each of this year’s show gardens…..