Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Le Damier Fleuri (a patchwork in flower)
In the 18th century, a French garden decorated an area of 2 hectares opposite the west wing of the château of Valençay.
Over the course of time and with changing fashion, in the 19th century it became simple fields providing fodder for farm animals and a pleasant view towards the English garden that Talleyrand wanted. The project wanted to recreate this disappeared French garden respecting both the passage of time and its illustrious owner: to create a garden which could link a rural character to its more recent outlook over an English park.
"Le Damier Fleuri" is a type of garden unique in the Loire Valley, arranged in a patchwork of 66 rectangles arranged in a giant multicoloured mosaic made up of specially selected meadow flowers. Thirty grassy paths cross the patchwork so that visitors can enter into a flowery labyrinth, a rural and romantic walk, faithful to the spirit of the 18th century.
Even at the beginning of autumn, this area looked pretty. It contains 30 different species of flowers and was designed and put into place by a company called Nova-Flore, which has been helping local communities to make uncultivated patches of land blossom and create flowering meadows. These areas can be centres of roundabouts, road verges, or just patches of land between cultivated fields. There are different seed mixes for different situations and all conforming to the values of the company - a passion for flowers, biodiversity and respect for the environment. The carefully chosen mixtures of flowers are now real tools in the management farmland. All the techniques help towards eco-responsible cultivation of the land.