Sunday, July 09, 2006

Back and full of ideas

We got back from our holiday early this morning and despite the rain I have been raring to get things sorted all day.
We were staying in the Loire Valley, in a small village on the Indrois river, within easy visiting of all the chateaux and their gardens. For Euan and I it was a bit of a regression holiday - we both spent most of our childhood holidays in France and it was great to spend time with the girls doing things that we did as children. By the end of the holiday they were well trained at making coffee and going down to the boulangerie to buy pain-au-chocolate.
I took it all a bit further, buying them the DVDs of the first tv series of Little House on the Prarie which was my obsession when I was 8. The idea was that it would give them something to watch during afternoon siesta time but it turned out going much further into an elaborate role playing game which left us with supernaturally well behaved children who cleared the table and tidied their rooms without being asked. A great investment.
Our favourite visit (Children and adults) was to the Chaumont Garden Festival where show gardens are created which have to be innovative, to a theme and most importantly - have to last and develop over the season. The theme was Play in the Garden and there were gardens with water-squirting hopscotch, enormous inflatable balls to push around rails and spinning tables and chairs. It was all very interactive, spirited and miles from Chelsea.
Surrounding all this is absolutely fantastic planting - the photos above are of a large flower bed alongside a central path - it is exactly what I want to achieve in my flower arrangements - height, texture, colour, and some kind of airiness.
I think that the plants I love probably goes back to childhood as well - my parents first garden was regular grass paths between lots of rectangular flower beds planted with herbacous lupins, asters, delphiniums etc. and I remember loving that the flowers were taller than me. Now that I have come home after a short spell away everything seeme to have shot up - the plume poppy is 8 feet at least and sways around with stipa gigantea, some massive euphorbias and thalictrum aquifolia. I am completely dwarfed.


Heather said...

Nice to hear you're back - we planned to cycle the Loire valley in the summer of 1987 - but my daughter made her appearance that year so scuppered the plans - have never made it there yet!!

Lovely photos - I thought it was your garden!


Jane said...

We did the cycling thing in 1988! Our eldest was 1 so could go on the back of the bike and it was one of those deals where the travel cot and bags were transported between hotels by the tour company. Zoe learned to walk in the long gallery at Chenonceaux.
My garden has wierdly disappeared under chickweed while we were away - it must have germinated in the mushroom compost and then romped away in the hot wet weather - taking it out is a bit like spooling in pondweed - each plant fills a barrow.