Tuesday, 2 October 2012

September turned out to be garden month

On my list of 'things to do' this year, I have a number of gardens I want to visit and the weather in September is almost perfect for this so I decided to spend a bit of time looking at flowers.

The first place I went to was Floriade 2012, the once-a-decade horticultural event in The Netherlands.  From the website and map, I had a horrible feeling it would be something like Disneyland with flowers but it wasn't.  Instead, it was an impressive display of what can be done with autumn plants and lots of imagination.

A lot of the garden beds were wildly colourful

whereas others were more austere in their beauty.

There were also some wonderful examples of how modern architecture can be enhanced by stylish landscaping

and how landscaping and architecture can in fact be one and the same thing.

For those who don't have much space outside, there was this particularly original, although perhaps not so practical, example of how to bring the garden inside.  The table is a garden bed

as are the kitchen cabinets and walls.

Just when I was sure that Floriade 2012 was all style and glamour, I came across something that proved me wrong - none other than a fire breathing dragon to liven up the pool surrounds.

After Floriade 2012, I went to visit Monet's garden at Giverny in France.  It is just like the paintings

and the calendars, place mats, coffee cups, tea towels, aprons, jigsaw puzzles and all those other things that have been and still are being produced as part of the Monet business.

Here's me outside Monet's house

and here's the view from his bedroom window.  I wonder how much time he spent looking out this window thinking about what to plant where and what to paint when.

He certainly got the colour combinations right

not to mention the textures, shapes and light.

Most people walk right past this building, Monet's studio, without even noticing it

and if the day I was in Giverny is anything to go by, almost no one finds their way down the road to the cemetery to see where Monet himself is planted.  And who knows, perhaps he prefers it that way too.

My next garden visit was the Bagatelle Park, just on the outskirts of Paris.  It is famous for its formal rose garden and while many of the roses are still flowering in September

the very best time to visit is late June/July when the pergolas are covered in climbing roses and are a mass of colour.  Sadly, they don't flower in the autumn.

However, the rest of the garden was stunning

with lots of magnificent old trees

and lots of pretty combinations of colours and textures even in the very formal beds

as well as a beautiful lake with water lilies just waiting for someone to come along and paint them.

After Bagatelle, I found my way to the Luxembourg Gardens right in the heart of Paris.  It was a sunny Sunday the day I visited so lots of Parisians were enjoying sitting around doing not very much.

Here again, the garden beds were a riot of colour and having just seen some photos from Paris fashion week, awash with yellow (surely a colour no one can wear), I wonder if there's some sharing of notes between the garden designers and the fashion designers.

But not every one was off duty

although these stylish fellows managed to station themselves in front of the only garden bed to which they were colour co-ordinated - nice work, I thought.

My next visit was Versailles but the gardens are so immense and so interesting (and I have so many photos) that I'll need to do a separate blog for that.


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