Once again, the International Garden Festival of Chaumont-sur-Loire has a whole host of surprising, brand new experiences in store on the concept of thought, the theme of this 27th edition, whose jury was chaired by the writer Jean Echenoz.
These gardens have all been designed by an incredible variety of highly inventive teams, whether referring to the worlds of such famous writers as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Octave Mirbeau, Marcel Proust or George Luis Borges, American Indian legends or the Sufi tale of the Conference of the Birds, or physically evoking the paths travelled by our thoughts.
Indeed, the sheer diversity of occupations encompassed by the teams behind these gardens is worth highlighting: this year, landscapers, gardeners, architects and urban planners have worked alongside set designers, directors, graphic designers and even an anthropologist, a geographer, a cabinetmaker and plumassier – all immensely talented and inspired. Their varied origins are also a guarantee for an impressive outpouring of ideas: they hark from Russia, United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Canada and, of course, France.
Among the treasures this edition will be unveiling are green architectures, real thought “bubbles”, a radically contemporary International Klein Blue Japanese meditation garden, a spectacular red anamorphosis, a sculptural book of sand, an unprecedented spiral architecture, a contemporary cloister decked out with sublime “feather flowers” and delicate kokedama representing your neurons ... In a nutshell, a spellbinding combination of ideas, inventions and plant-inspired poetry.
Alongside these gardens, the choice pickings of the competition, prestigious guests will also be attending Chaumont-sur-Loire this year, including prominent landscape artist Bernard Lassus, the famous American glass sculptor Dale Chilhuly and the remarkable team from OULIPO (which stands for Workshop of Potential Literature), who have designed an invigorating Jardin des voyelles (Garden of vowels).
On the subject of botanic excellence, the “garden fanatics” Pascal Garbe and Didier Willery will be celebrating the pansy (Viola) in all its states – a play on the French word “pensée”, which means both “thought” and “pansy”. As for the “free thinkers” of Plants and Cultures, they will be beckoning us into their luxuriant plant library where they will share with you their “claim to change the world with their flowers”.
The 2018 Festival therefore promises to be bursting with colour and ideas – and quite rightly too with the theme being “gardens of thought”!
Director of the Domain and International Garden Festival