Continental flower festivals 2018


Floral treats with continental flair

Keen gardeners will need to take only a short hop by train, car, bus or plane to reach flower shows which more than rival the great UK events. The continental shows have a certain je ne sais quoi because the settings are wide-open lawns set against picturesque and inspiring backdrops. The stall holders are frequently small, specialist nurseries and their stands are spread out a little more than at many UK shows so you have the time and space to fall in love with plants and, finally, you’ll find more than enough seating and nourishment to lift the heart.

FRANCE
JOURNÉES DES PLANTES DE CHANTILLY

 
 
The Journées des Plantes de Chantilly for trees to perennials, classics to rarities and tools to talks (photograph: Jean-Pierre Delagarde)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When
Spring: 18-20 May, 2018
Autumn: 19-21 October, 2018

Why
The main event for European horticulture in France. It could be described as the French Chelsea but that would really do it a disservice. The twice-yearly show is held in the 115 hectares of the awe-inspiring and historic Chateau de Chantilly – the stalls are laid out on the spacious lawns making it easy to get around. It attracts gardeners, plantsmen and women, collectors, landscapers, designers and horticultural associations. Organisers describe its main purpose as “enhancing the know-how of horticulture and botanic arts”. Among the 250 exhibitors from around Europe you’ll find plants displayed by small to large nurseries; wonderful rare old roses from small, specialist producers; herbs; books; gardening tools and accessories; talks; workshop; book signings; and events for children. Chantilly also has a Le Nôtre-designed garden; an Anglo-Chinese and English garden; and the chateau is open and includes the second largest antique paintings collection after the Louvre.

Where
The Domaine de Chantilly is 20 minutes from Charles de Gaulle airport and 40km north of the centre of Paris and is easy to reach by car and train.

More information
http://www.domainedechantilly.com/




FRANCE
CHÂTEAU DE SAINT-JEAN DE BEAUREGARD

 
 
Château de Saint-Jean de Beauregard – this year’s spring show will highlight unusual plants (photograph: Carole Desheulles)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When
Spring: 6-8 April, 2018
Autumn: 21-23 September, 2018

Why
This has been described as an informal event, rather like a village flower show. And that could be true if the local “big house” was a 17th-century chateau and potager surrounded by a park. Château de Saint-Jean de Beauregard hosts about 250 exhibitors at its Perennials Festival in spring (Fête des Plantes Vivaces) and the Forgotten Fruits and Vegetables Festival in autumn (Fête des Fruits et Légumes Oubliés). The privately owned historic house has a restored two-hectare walled kitchen garden where the gardeners grow rare and forgotten flowers, fruit and vegetables and grapevines. For adult visitors there are guided tours of the kitchen garden, workshops and talks and for children workshops and drawing and colouring sessions. The spring event will highlight unusual plants, which the organisers hope will attract visitors who want to spice up their garden with plants that are as strange as they are original. There are also lectures (on April 7 at 11am there is a talk in English about the plants brought back from China by missionaries), book signings, a stand introducing new techniques for bedding and mulches for a natural garden and a company that will repair your broken tools.

Where
30 minutes south of Paris.

More information
http://www.chateaudesaintjeandebeauregard.com/




HOLLAND
KEUKENHOF

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When
22 March to 13 May, 2018

Why
More than seven million bulbs are planted over Keukenhof’s 32 hectares each autumn and the design changes year on year. Not only do they plant 80 varieties of tulips, plus hyacinths, daffodils, grape hyacinths and so on but they also have three exhibition areas (the Beatrix, Oranje Nassau and Willem-Alexander pavilions) where they showcase other plants grown by the industry, such as orchids, Amaryllis, Freesia, Gerbera, carnations and summer flowers, cut flowers and pot plants. The exhibits change weekly so if you have a passion for a specific plant do check the event’s website for information. During Keukenhof’s final 12 days it also hosts the world’s largest lily show. If you are taking the children along, the organisers put on events for them too. You can buy and order bulbs online at two shops during the show.

Where
Lisse, between Amsterdam and The Hague and easily reached by car and train or bus from the airport.

More information
http://keukenhof.nl




BELGIUM
BEERVELDE GARDEN DAYS

 
 
Beervelde Garden Days – take your time to wander about the stalls selling plants, food and antiques (photograph: Beervelde)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

When
Spring: 11-13 May, 2018
Autumn: 12-14 October, 2018

Why
Because it leaves Hampton Court in the shade, according to recent visitors. This is a show with a difference – the plantsmen and women from the Continent are out in force, but they have plenty of space to show off their botanical treasures so it’s a relaxing day out for everyone. For those who want a little more, there are also stalls for flower arrangers, food-lovers will find culinary experts and anyone with an artistic bent will admire the artisan craft items and antiques. There is also musical entertainment and plenty of children’s activities.

Where
90 minutes from Calais (very near Ghent), easy to reach by train, car and bus.

More information
http://parkvanbeervelde.be






March 2018