Friday, 7 May 2010

Christian Dior's French Fragrant Garden

Being involved in a show garden at the Chelsea Flower Show,  I was interested to see the ‘Christian Before Dior’ garden. Not only because of my love of all things French but because Ian & I were lucky enough to happen upon the garden that inspired it one day late last summer. We were holidaying on the Normandy/Brittany border and decided to drive up to Granville. Whilst walking along the sea front we noticed a sign for the Christian Dior Museum & Garden at the bottom of these amazing steps. So up we climbed.
We discovered that it was his childhood home, Les Rhumbs, and it was perched on a cliff-side facing out towards the Channel Islands. First we arrived at a raised stone terrace, which has a spectacular view of the sea and Granville.
The wooden seats & pergolas are a pale oyster-grey, and the terrace is surrounded by hawthorn bushes and roses - the pink and grey scheme, was one of Dior's favourite combinations. Nearby is a walled garden which contains a simple rectangular pool. Jasmine, honeysuckle, peony, hydrangea, palms, passion flower and roses are planted and an adjoining wooden pergola, designed by Dior, supports plum trees and more clambering pink roses. 
At the end of the garden, perched on the clifftop, is a rose garden, breathtaking in its position. You reach it along a path covered by a second pale-grey arched pergola, another of Dior's designs, which creaks under a mass of climbing roses.
Huge swaying bamboos are planted near the entrance of the garden and guide you past a maze-like knot garden containing box and hazel hedging planted with a mixture of lilies, camellias, hydrangea, roses, geranium and lots of other colourful and beautifully scented planting.
An amazing house & garden in a stunning location. I'll  look forward to seeing how the Chelsea show garden looks in a few weeks time.

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