around the chateau

June 27, 2013

suzuki archipel 1

In the Domaine de Chaumont – sur – Loire, there is an annual international garden festival which I ‘ve visited about 6 times since it opened 20 odd years ago; mainly to see the show gardens. Since the beginnings, other areas of the park have been developed to offer visitor facilities and to contribute to the big idea of making Chaumont a Centre for Art and Nature devoted to the “relationship between nature and culture, artistic creation and the impact of landscape, our heritage and contemporary art” – from the brochure. This year, I found it difficult to respond to and enjoy most of the show gardens (post to follow), but what I did enjoy was the selective siting of installations within other parts of the parkland as well as the creation of another landscape for more permanent conceptual gardens – the Prés du Goualoup. L’archipel (top image) designed by Shodo Suzuki  is here and is . . .

suzuki

. . . a development of his original Zen garden from early years of the festival (above). One comment was that the recent creation looked a little like a golf course. Land form is always difficult to integrate into large areas of flat grassland and maybe the strong principles behind this form of garden were sitting uneasily within this landscape – certainly with spreads of pretty wild flowers. I did find it calming however, which is important.

suzuki archipel 4

wild flower edge + kawamata

The installation by Rainer Gross – Toi(t) à terre  – visible from the Loire and offering views of the river from the parkland. This blackened wood form appears to  have gently rolled down and settled itself in a discarded manner against one of the park trees . Great scale  . . . . .

rainer gross  cone 1

. . . and the partner, Toi(t) en perspective, hangs from the giant trees. Shapes inspired by the conical chateux towers, specifically Amboise, just along the Loire.

rainer gross blackened wood  2

patrick doughertywillow 3

Patrick Dougherty designed these airy forms which looked like willow and indeed parts appeared to be sprouting. Tactile, curious and fun.

patrick dougherty willow4

nash charred wood

More serious work from David Nash – static, monumental, confident and not inviting – which isn’t a criticism just an observation. The cedars however, are monumental as well as retaining their graceful habit and character.

cedrus

stables

Within the renovated stables complex – stupendous 19th C indulgence – sits Spirale Végétale. Patrick Blanc created a green wall  here many years ago – once seen never forgotten – where the workings were visible and so helpful to all who marvelled. He’s back again with this giant curving leaf form open to the sky. Many times copied but always falling short – his planting is his mark and my pix are poor!

patrick blanc 1

patrick blanc 2

corten seats

By the Hayloft Gallery, one of the old farm buildings, a touch of contemporary amongst a wealth of quite beautifully renovated traditional elements.  Corten steel to give you a rusty, grid pattern on your backside and uncomfortable to boot. So, the implication is not to perch.

mixes

hopper

By the greenhouse, wiggley -woggley lines of box domes which are rather charming especially as they sit in the angular built environment – an image used in a previous post.

lines of box

6 stables

kongjian 1

Le Jardin de Yu Kongjian – Carré et Rond – re sited permanently in the new Goualoup area offers a curving boardwalk over water in an eyes down sort of way. More interesting in an eyes up way though is Nuage Permanent by Nakaya. The inside of a cloud within the birch grove. An imagined imagery controlled superbly.

nakaya 1

nakaya 2

Aujourd’hui l’espace est splendide!
Sans mors, sans éperons, sans bride,
Partons à cheval sur le vin
Pour un ciel féerique et divin!

Comme deux anges que torture
Une implacable calenture
Dans le bleu cristal du matin
Suivons le mirage lointain!

Mollement balancés sur l’aile
Du tourbillon intelligent,
Dans un délire parallèle,

Ma soeur, côte à côte nageant,
Nous fuirons sans repos ni trêves
Vers le paradis de mes rêves! Charles Baudelaire  Le Vin des amants

Oh, what a splendour fills all space!
Without bit, spur, or rein to race,
Let’s gallop on the steeds of wine
To heavens magic and divine!

Now like two angels off the track,
Whom wild relentless fevers rack,
On through the morning’s crystal blue
The swift mirages we’ll pursue.

Now softly poised upon the wings
That a sagacious cyclone brings,
In parallel delirium twinned,

While side by side we surf the wind,
We’ll never cease from such extremes,
To seek the Eden of our dreams!  trans. Roy Campbell

1 door

In a village in Normandy, faded French Navy paintwork and glorious mixed tones of iris – I really don’t care about the chain link fence as the tones of the flags are so rich and complimentary. Cayeux irises maybe . . .

3iris

2 iris

4 iris

5 sign

. . . and they’re in a garden in Rue de la Messe. Beautiful calligraphy on the road sign – it’s France, of course. Further south on the Loire, more constrained planting here by the donkey stables in the Domaine of the Château de Chaumont-sue-Loire. The box balls sit in corten circles lining the well raked path network.

6 stables

And nearby in Blois, box and other evergreen shrubs are planted and clipped to form green pillows on the sloping bank between road and château.

7 blois

8 blois

9 blois

In the small park opposite, the planting is older, maybe early 1900’s, but thoughtful in the composition of shape and form. The tree planting in France always causes me to catch my breath in wonderment . . .

10 blois

. .  on the higher level are the Jardins des Lice with combinations of plant forms spread below the avenue of limes. This is the only part of the three parts of the Les Jardins du Château de Blois which remains incomplete but what is here is well maintained.

10.5 blois

The completed parts designed by Gilles Clément contain Jardins des simples et Clos des simples zodiacaux. Below is the Jardins des simples viewed from the terrace above  – one of my favourite town parks – a gem of the contemporary treatment of traditional elements. Simple structure, cherries, crab apples, box + yew and decorative infill planting with classical limestone. So simple, yet so effective – it’s all in the detail.

11 blois

12 blois

13 blois

14 blois

Another are that sits midway between Jardin des lices and Jardins des simples et Clos des simples zodiacaux is the Terrasse des fleurs royales with the squares of iris – the flower of  Franςois I – at the end of the flowering season now but still effective with the papery brown flags en masse.

14.5 blois

14.7 blois

15 blois

Perfect planting of philadelphus to shoulder the gated entrance. And the view from Clos des simples zodiacaux to the established and mature trees below and, even more faded French Navy, showing me once again that style, finish and detailing are second nature here.

gate blois

finalblois

finaldoor

Viens-tu du ciel profond ou sors-tu de l’abîme,
O Beauté? ton regard, infernal et divin,
Verse confusément le bienfait et le crime,
Et l’on peut pour cela te comparer au vin.

Tu contiens dans ton oeil le couchant et l’aurore;
Tu répands des parfums comme un soir orageux;
Tes baisers sont un philtre et ta bouche une amphore
Qui font le héros lâche et l’enfant courageux.

Sors-tu du gouffre noir ou descends-tu des astres?
Le Destin charmé suit tes jupons comme un chien;
Tu sèmes au hasard la joie et les désastres,
Et tu gouvernes tout et ne réponds de rien.

Tu marches sur des morts, Beauté, dont tu te moques;
De tes bijoux l’Horreur n’est pas le moins charmant,
Et le Meurtre, parmi tes plus chères breloques,
Sur ton ventre orgueilleux danse amoureusement.

L’éphémère ébloui vole vers toi, chandelle,
Crépite, flambe et dit: Bénissons ce flambeau!
L’amoureux pantelant incliné sur sa belle
A l’air d’un moribond caressant son tombeau.

Que tu viennes du ciel ou de l’enfer, qu’importe,
Ô Beauté! monstre énorme, effrayant, ingénu!
Si ton oeil, ton souris, ton pied, m’ouvrent la porte
D’un Infini que j’aime et n’ai jamais connu?

De Satan ou de Dieu, qu’importe? Ange ou Sirène,
Qu’importe, si tu rends, — fée aux yeux de velours,
Rythme, parfum, lueur, ô mon unique reine! —
L’univers moins hideux et les instants moins lourds?

Do you come from Heaven or rise from the abyss,
Beauty? Your gaze, divine and infernal,
Pours out confusedly benevolence and crime,
And one may for that, compare you to wine.

You contain in your eyes the sunset and the dawn;
You scatter perfumes like a stormy night;
Your kisses are a philtre, your mouth an amphora,
Which make the hero weak and the child courageous.

Do you come from the stars or rise from the black pit?
Destiny, bewitched, follows your skirts like a dog;
You sow at random joy and disaster,
And you govern all things but answer for nothing.

You walk upon corpses which you mock, O Beauty!
Of your jewels Horror is not the least charming,
And Murder, among your dearest trinkets,
Dances amorously upon your proud belly.

The dazzled moth flies toward you, O candle!
Crepitates, flames and says: ‘Blessed be this flambeau!’
The panting lover bending o’er his fair one
Looks like a dying man caressing his own tomb,

Whether you come from heaven or from hell, who cares,
O Beauty! Huge, fearful, ingenuous monster!
If your regard, your smile, your foot, open for me
An Infinite I love but have not ever known?

From God or Satan, who cares? Angel or Siren,
Who cares, if you make, — fay with the velvet eyes,
Rhythm, perfume, glimmer; my one and only queen!
The world less hideous, the minutes less leaden?   Charles Baudelaire   Hymn to Beauty

9 stairwell

At the De la Warr Pavilion to watch live opera on film. An opera within an opera (and in this case, Jesse Norman would have made all the difference). Wandering around this building in its setting is always a pleasure . . .

3 window

4 window

. . the bandstand, known as the bus shelter,  without the usual skateboarders . . .

1 window

. .  I glimpse a figure pulling red shopping trolley. I have seen this lady before,  in St Leonards maybe . . .

6 bag

7 bag

11 bag

. .  and watch her inhabit the space, stare out to sea and eventually exit stage right.

14 bag

13 sea portrait

gladwell

Some folks take the opera tradition seriously and sip their champagne looking out to sea . . . while other younger inhabitants stand with the correct paraphernalia and look out to sea too as the roof area is shut this evening.  Shaun Gladwell has provided installations to use and to view that conflict with cultural practices and traditions.

17 onlookers

16 scooter

This is ‘Triumph Daytona 675 Intersection’ and on the roof he’s provided ‘Ride + Skate – mini ramp intersections’. You must book a time slot for BMX riding and skating depending on weather.

2 gladwell

18 ride + skate on the roof

In the school room by the installation . . .

19 school room

. . useful and relevent tools are laid out for creativity.

20 school room detail

Scampering back down the staircase to catch the rest of the opera, I thought, goodness only why, of Betjeman. What would he have made of Ariadne? He’d have liked the saucy bits but would have missed the lack of poetry and sensitivity I feel. Oje, das ist traurig

21 stairwell

opera

Hark, I hear the bells of Westgate,
I will tell you what they sigh,
Where those minarets and steeples
Prick the open Thanet sky.

Happy bells of eighteen-ninety,
Bursting from your freestone tower!
Recalling laurel, shrubs and privet,
Red geraniums in flower.

Feet that scamper on the asphalt
Through the Borough Council grass,
Till they hide inside the shelter
Bright with ironwork and glass,

Striving chains of ordered children
Purple by the sea-breeze made,
Striving on to prunes and suet
Past the shops on the Parade.

Some with wire around their glasses,
Some with wire across their teeth,
Writhing frames for running noses
And the drooping lip beneath.

Church of England bells of Westgate!
On this balcony I stand,
White the woodwork wriggles round me,
Clocktowers rise on either hand.

For me in my timber arbour
You have one more message yet,
“Plimsolls, plimsolls in the summer,
Oh galoshes in the wet!”  John Betjeman  Westgate-on- Sea

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