Nature in its entire splendor! A podium, photographers… On Friday, May 19, for three days, the magnificent venue of the Domaine de Chantilly hosted the 7th edition of “Les Journées des Plantes de Chantilly” Flower Show. Sublime collection plants to the great classics were presented by their high quality European nurseries, along gardening tools and accessories, arts & crafts and traditional know-how, conferences, signings, events, workshops and advice. On that day, some of them were rewarded for their know-how in horticulture and the arts of botany.
The Cannes Festival for the gardening world is a first stop to enjoy botanical excellence and the essential role of nature in our lives. It attracted 33,000 visitors, a record attendance for this edition bringing together 250 exhibitors, all subject to a Selection Committee and an Exhibitors’ Charter. Several categories of awards – Merits, Botanical Certificates, Coup de Coeurs and Recommendations – honored plants ranging from trees to roses, tropical plants, ferns and perennials for example.
Among all the prestigious prizes, let us mention the Coup de Cœur of the members of the Jury unanimously awarded to a tree called Chilean lanterns, the ‘Crinodendron hookerianum’, exhibited by the Kerfandol Nursery. Delightfully, the audience was treated to a description of the tree delivered in the manner of a haute couture fashion show described aloud: “Being able to reach five metres in its natural environment, do not rely on its exotic silhouette, it is a plant of undergrowth in temperate forests. Persistent, its flared shape is linked to the base made of multiple rods. Original, its dense and rather narrow dark green foliage overhangs a brilliant bloom. Globular drooping flowers with long stalks and shades of red make them attractive once they are once they have bloomed as well as when in buds. To perfect its portrait, the plant offers us a second flowering in the fall. Of rather slow growth, its relative rusticity (-10°C) predestines it for milder regions. It will be comfortable in pots as well as in the ground and will enjoy in cool places in acid soil. What a suspended time inviting the audience to enjoy the fabulous work of nature!
Cultivating collection plants as a way to cultivate wisdom
The excellence of collection plants can be regarded as an art of living, even as “a wisdom of life” inspired by nature. That was a point of view defended with passion, that day, by Henri Delbard – son of the founder of the renowned Pépinière et Roseraies George Delbard – during his speech for the baptism of the rose “Henri Delbard”. In addition to the decorative aspect of the plant world, the gardening world is nurturing “a new philosophy that teaches us the wisdom of life, namely biosophy (“bíos” from the ancient Greek meaning “life” and “sophia” meaning “wisdom”)”. The rose-breeder called for “a teaching of nature” : “an education of sensitivity” carried on by “a language of the senses and the heart” learned from his masters. The idea is “to offer men the return of wisdom of life enabling to cultivate our land as a gardener of the five senses, to flourish in a healthy natural environment that should not be a luxury reserved for privileged elites, but made possible to all populations on the five continents. The first of human rights is the right to nature, the first of human duties is to conduct ourselves as usufructuaries who will leave the generations of the third millennium a world worthy of being lived. That is the very respect for creation: to be attentive to the rights of nature, for they are the relay of humanity. And it is in this perspective that the word of humanism of nature is justified in times of ecology in crisis. »
This was an invitation to enlarge our field of vision and consider the entire world through the baptism of this rose made of a bright and frank orange-yellow color, its fruity mango scent, both intense and intoxicating, topped with a light base of grass and ivy. Enough to cultivate our spirituality byawakening our olfactory taste buds and enchanting our visual perception!
A way of life that honors craftsmanship
Beyond the vegetable world itself, ephemeral but renewed every year, the Journées des Plantes at Chantilly highlighted the practice of crafts in the service of an art of living: a plethora of olfactory, gustatory, clothing or decorative creations evoking, in one way or another, our relationship with nature. All are the essential companions on the road to contemplation in nature. One artisan was showcasing furniture sets and landscapes in fake wood, fake rocks, or fake stones. All are born from the traditional know-how of the artisan rocker who appropriates nature by imitating it with cement, mineral and vegetable elements. An art of imitating nature that is both stunning and disturbing by reducing the experience of nature to a purely visual experience, devoid of the richness of its natural element itself!
The trompe-l’oeil effect of the furniture nevertheless enhances the know-how of the cement at work: the welding of the iron reinforcements, followed by a treatment of the rust, then an application of the cement by hand at first, then in successive layers until imitating the way of the wood. For only twenty minutes, the hands of the craftsman adorned with brushes and knives can sculpt the fresh cement… After twenty minutes, it is impossible to sculpt in the cement that has become dry. It is necessary to be fast enough by proceeding in small portions. This very process makes the cement waterproof and protects the parts from rust. To achieve this technical feat, there is no training.
“Rocailleur work” is a profession that does not exist any longer,” explains J.P. Wyckhuys, a craftsman, and previously mason. “I have a perfect command of the subject, and at 50 years old, I made a professional turn. I have always been intrigued by these cement structures. I have studied old works destroyed by time, and we can see how they were made at the time. I have developed my recipe.”
Among the many know-how that were showcased, let’s end up with the one of the rose grower André Eve for a hint of fashion. On its stand, the beauty and voluptuousness of these roses were revealed in soft pink colors, adorned with milky white and large satiny petals with surprisingly graphic lines. This collection of roses is reserved for the production of Dior cosmetics. And even if the Haute Couture silhouette of the “femme-fleur” of 1947 by Christian Dior seems far away, these splendid roses, skillfully stamped “Jardins de Granville” in reference to the heritage history of the fashion house, succeeded in causing a sweet sensation: a touch of Haute Couture so well matched to the excellence of the creation embodied by the Journées des Plantes de Chantilly.
Site of the Flower Show ” Journées des Plantes de Chantilly “