Arts + Culture

Green Retreats

by Stephen Anderton

The garden: Jardin Plume

A tree grows in: Normandy, France

First planted: 1997

Roots: There never was a more grandiose garden than Louis XIV's Versailles: all that pompous, controlling geometry shooting off in every direction. Domesticity was the last thing the Sun King wanted for his seat of royal power. Yet curiously you can actually see Versailles's influence in simple, rural domestic gardens like Jardin Plume, seeded over the last few years by nurserymen Sylvie and Patrick Quibel. Its sophisticated mixture of massive French geometry and contemporary grasses and perennials works beautifully. A huge grid of flower beds and wide turf paths is overlaid with swathes of tall, waving late-summer grasses; occasional old orchard trees rise up through it all, surrounding a mirror-dark pool. Unlike Versailles, the effect is soft and serene—especially without Versailles's rumbling tour buses—but there's still the old royal power-gardening underneath. And so Louis lives on. Vive le roi, indeed.

Le Jardin Plume
Tel: 33 2 35 23 00 01

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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