After 30 years (1992-2022) of creations fostered by historical, poetic, educational and ecological themes alike, has the time not come to give thought to what could or should constitute the “ideal garden”, now that our relationship with nature and the plant world has evolved so much due to intensive urbanisation, global warming, an increasing yearning for nature, and concerns over food security?
An artwork? A nourishing vegetable garden? A therapeutic space? A showcase for organic cultivation? Can the ideal garden unite all our expectations and requirements, whether philosophical, aesthetic, ecological or gustatory? Be beautiful, good, organic, healing, comforting, innovative, and water and energy efficient all at the same time, and above all glorify harmony and taste, and generate wellbeing and happiness?
Might it be possible to bring all these properties together or is the idea merely illusory? Realistic or contradictory? Such was the challenge thrown down to garden designers for the 2022 edition, who had to propose projects attempting to synthesise all these qualities and provide a concentrate, a synopsis of what humankind and other living organisms can create together in order to generate a better world.
In these ideal gardens they were called upon to invent, designers had to envisage and include all the properties and qualities inherent in gardens, and all the constraints imposed by the times we live in, nor could they forego any opportunity for innovation or any premise that might make their plot a concentrate of beauty, emotion, bounteousness, knowledge and knowhow. New materials, new plants, new mises en scène and new techniques were all welcome, to amaze and enthral visitors. Through their extraordinary inventiveness in this anniversary year of the Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Festival’s creation, the 2022 edition’s designers have shown themselves to be fully worthy of an event recognised for its resolutely positive, unfettered and groundbreaking vision of what is nothing less than an art form in its own right.
Director of International Garden Festival