Sunday, July 15, 2012

Versailles, Volume 2

Versailles' gardens are also justifiably famous. We spent as much time in them as we did in the "house," and with good reason, as you will see below. 

As a gardener, the gardens were endlessly awe-inspiring and inspirational, both the formal "rooms" and the less formal tracts of forested land. Unlike other gardens we've seen on this trip, these were immaculate. It probably comes as no surprise then, that we actually saw gardeners working in teams to trim, rake and weed these immense grounds.

Below, a view towards the chateau through the south parterre.

It was nice to see that even at Versailles the yews are not trimmed exactly the same. Apparently nature can be shaped, but not bent.

Below, two views of the Orangery, which was one of my favorite spaces to look down upon from up high. The first image is taken from a terrace near the chateau, the bottom is a detail from the same spot. 

Versailles reinforced that a garden can be immensely interesting and visually pleasing when working only with evergreens. Many areas of these immense grounds were only green, but the textures, variances in tone and leaf shapes made the spaces optically interesting.

Two above is Dave in front of the chateau, at the base of one of the long grassy fields (just mowed) forming a vertical between the "house" and the water you see below, known as the Grand Canal, an apt name. This body of water is enormous! See those small forms out on the water above? They are row boats that can hold at least 6 adults. This is a serious body of cross-shaped water, whose full extent is very hard to grasp from photos, and indeed, even from being there it's hard to comprehend how huge it is.

These manicured yews are interspersed with classicizing sculpture lining the pathways and grassy field you just saw above. In fact, if you look closely you can see them behind Dave. I loved these!! This is the sort of thing I hope to one day do in my yard. Even one such yew would feel like such a triumph. Again, it was nice to see that nature doesn't always cooperate. These weren't identical to others cut just like them, but the gardener had to deal with what nature provided. Good for me to remember!

Below, a pathway leading from the grand canal to the Grand Trianon, one of the other chateaux here. This one was used primarily by court ladies and is built to take advantage of summer breezes for the purposes of cooling. The gardens, which you see me in below were more human in scale, although still enormous. This was also one area where color was allowed (see the detail of one bed below). Interestingly, a sign at the start of the garden recalled, by quoting a missive from one court lady to her servant, that guests the night before left early complaining of the strong perfume of flowers from the garden! (Or perhaps they were just bored to death of the tedious conversation...)

The long walk back through the drizzle...still beautiful. 

(Also, below, a detail of one bed we passed in this area close to the house. The colors here were cooler, more blues and less red, as you can probably see.)



  1. Such beautiful gardens. I love seeing you in them. Have a safe, happy trip home. Love.

  2. We will do our best! We are packed and ready to leave bright and early tomorrow. Keep checking the blog though...we both have more photos to post before concluding. It's been a great trip and an amazing last week.

    Hope you are all well,
    Love, Heather