A tour in France

??Monet?s Garden?Here’s my version of Monet’s sublime garden. ?I’ve been bopping around once??again with Linda Thorne on a tour of some of the magnificent gardens of France.It turned out to be a marvelous trip with a wonderful group who enjoyed things as much as I did.? We started in Paris where I had multi adventures which were pretty funny. And then we headed down the Loire Valley, ending up in my favourite city:? Nice.?What came out of this trip was a whole new respect for pruning.I?d love everyone to have a boo at proper French gardening techniques. Now here?s an entire nation that would like to have a pair of secateurs to hand to clip anything and everything around then. As one of our members said:? ?Well, you?ve seen what they do to their dogs.?We saw gardens so manicured, carved and created in a manner? completely unknown to nature. But thrilling as well. Villandry in the Loire Valley? will always be a favourite and we saw it with almost no one else around.?This is the potager to end all potagers:? the biggest ornamental kitchen garden ever with each square demarcated with delicate precision. And then filled with, of all things, ornamental cabbages and kale. Looks good there, though I wouldn?t recommend them for containers here.? They need good companions.The colour harmonies in just about every garden we saw:?? Gaura lindheimeri was the plante du jour. Every single garden had this plant floating lightly above swathes of blue (various salvias, or next to more shrubby things like Russian sage,? Perovskia spp)? and? pink (a huge variety of asters, amaranthus dripping all over the place and masses of dahlias).? It was as though someone had initiated 2008?s palette as pink, blue and white, and you?d bloody well better fall to.It looks absolutely great. But whenever we saw something different it was so refreshing.? It was a lesson in how quickly the eye can become jaded even in amazing gardens if you see the same colours and plant all the time. We crave being? shaken ever so slightly or even shocked upon occasion.We did see enough that was unusual and personal to make this a fantastic trip.when I got home and saw my own garden,?? I knew I hadn?t seen anything I liked better.? At home in the garden is the very best place to be.?Saturday September 20th, I’ll be on CBC’s Fresh Air with Karen Horseman between 8:30 and 9:00. Listen up and on Sunday I’ll be out at the Toronto Botanical Garden doing a reading at 1 p.m. then selling and signing books. They are having a giant book sale which promises to be incredible.