The next day we awoke to glorious blue sky and sunshine, which lit the birds-eye view of a section of one of a pair of herbaceous borders from our bedroom window beautifully! Belonging to dear friend Anna, it’s yet to reach its early summer peak, but the contrasting foliage colour and texture you see here are the result of a very sure hand. Anna has become a fine gardener and plantswoman these past years and I so enjoy her enthusiasm – we share a love of plants that I reckon neither of us quite realised in our very early twenties and it’s always so much fun to see what she’s been up to. Since my last visit a few years ago, rather a lot…she’s been through her learning phase and her plant combinations have become very inspiring indeed (note to self, cannot copy, it doesn’t work at Glenmore, I tried….which is why I so truly admire and enjoy Anna’s creation!).
So after an early morning garden walk, I packed my wellies into the suitcase once again and off we set to la belle France! Now this is what the first image on yesterday’s post was all about...Les Journees des Plantes de Courson a Chantilly. Oh my goodness, you cannot imagine the thrill of it all! I have wanted to visit this plant fair for twenty years! But excursions to the far side of the world are not that regular, and this fair never coincided with school holidays. Bound by term times for the last umpteen years, this is the first year it’s been possible to travel at a time of our choosing since we were young married things! When given the option of a couple of dates for our Highgrove visit, I realised I could combine one of them with the Journees des Plantes and Chelsea, so it seemed like a trip made in heaven!
We queued at the entrance on the Saturday morning with a great sense of anticipation, the Chateau de Chantilly lying just across the moat. And then the gates opened…to my enormous delight, the first stall contained fine specimens of herbaceous perennials and herbs displayed in wicker trays, the next scented pelargoniums (same as the one I have here!) in fruit-picking baskets, and the next, a combination of lavenders and succulents in mesh-based crates….and on and on it went. This was not style over substance, but the two combined, just as they should be, with an enormous variety of healthy plants right across the fair, displayed with simplicity. It resonated on every level, it felt just ‘right’. It was charming. Charmant!
From succulents to auriculas, heucheras to peonies and roses, acers and cornus to clematis and honeysuckle…..even tropical plants were represented by a nurseryman from Provence (with some unusual specimens to make your eyes pop right out of their sockets!). It was enough to make you want to move….or to have a car to load up at the very least!
A sea of white tents and market umbrellas, were there to greet at every turn….
Colour and foliage by the trestle load….
Clematis entwined in wicker supports, ready to climb….
And salvias for sale enclosed by pretty painted pickets.
From split willow to magnificent faux-bois furniture and old garden tools….
To box upon box upon basket of bulbs….from Dahlias to Eucomis and Amaryllis belladonna…
And bundles of willow to select for custom-built planters, structures, folies, by Monsieur le Createur Vannier….
It was truly something to see and yes, for me it was like being a child in a sweet shop, a fete of enormous fun (if you like that kind of thing!). It’s been near impossible to choose images and I fear I could go on and on, so I’ll stop here before I bore you all to tears!