Prepare to be surprised
The rectilinear perspectives leading to the surrounding landscape, the perfectly traced squares, the broderies and box topiaries, the hornbeam hedges, beech trees and, more recently, trimmed hawthorns and mirror pond, together reveal the classic layout of a standard French formal garden of the 17th century. Prior to its transformation, the 3.5 hectare terrain consisted of an orchard, sheep pasture and, descending towards the forest, a prairie for calves. To magnify what remained of the former orchard, apple trees were planted to punctuate the main perspective of the garden at regular intervals.
Free to roam… under surveillance
La Vague by Hokusai, a box hedge trimmed into waves, thrusts itself into your view. Its structure seems to hold back the ethereal exuberance of the grasses and the explosion of flowering perennials and annuals decorating the first garden that was named Le Jardin Plume. The same creative flair, unique and innovative, was subsequently applied to the other gardens, with the ensemble borrowing the name of the original garden while retaining all its novelty and charm, both classic and contemporary.
Sylvie and Patrick Quibel were the first in France to demonstrate the ornamental potential of grasses, revealing the limitless possibilities that can be attained by exploiting their forms, their ability to capture light and their graceful swaying with the slightest breeze. Grasses are omnipresent in the garden in a stunning diversity of forms. From the supersized Miscanthus forming a cloister around a small pond set among square patches of wild herbs in the orchard, the delightful white inflorescences of Melica uniflora albida evoking a mist suspended in the air, to the small Agrostis tenuis that, on flowering, transform into a pink fog. The grasses come from around the globe and they invite visitors on an imaginary journey taking in the Grande Prairie of North America and the plains of Eurasia and northern Africa in a harmonious whole at Le Jardin Plume.
Three flowering seasons and more!
As for the perennials, the annuals and the biennials, they seem to have been carefully laid out by a Pointillist painter, with each colour in perfect harmony with its neighbours. The Spring Garden, Summer Garden and Winter Garden are all orientated directly south and are protected from winds by the house and the hornbeam hedges along their east and west sides. Each garden is enclosed on three sides by small box hedges, with one side left open so the plants can “frolic” beyond these bounds. The seasons, more precisely the months, blend into one another seamlessly with flowering of plants occurring in a naturally orchestrated sequence.
Off the beaten path
Like the “secret groves” of formal French parks and gardens, Le Jardin Plume piques the curiosity of the visitor, whether through spaces that draw you in such as the Flower Garden enclosed in a lattice fence, but also spaces that reward the adventurous such as the Fireweed Drive and also the Fern Garden dominated by the spectacular American fern, Woodwardia unigemmata, with evergreen fronds. This year the garden has been expanded up to the edge of the forest, in the former prairie for calves. The poor soil there lends itself to the establishment of a flower meadow. For the moment though, the winding pathways, cut in a simple manner, invite visitors to indulge in idle daydreaming, in silence and among the scents of the wild herbs, and to feel like they are in communion with the immensity of the skies.