The International Garden Festival, hosted by the Domaine de Chaumont-Sur-Loire, is an exposition of 25 gardens which takes place each year from April through November. In order to determine the designers of the gardens, the Domaine holds a juried competition. This year, the theme of the competition was the 7 Deadly Sins and each competitor or team created a garden design or art installation submission in response to the theme.
My Master’s project advisor and professor at Kansas State University, Jessica Canfield, entered a personal submission to the Garden Festival competition last fall. After the jury narrowed their selections and conducted brief interviews, Jessica learned her submission, Green Without Greed, was selected as one of the gardens to be built and shown in the Festival. Each entrant is responsible for determining who will construct the garden and how it will all come together. Jessica then began tracking down all the necessary building materials and gathering a construction crew. I joined the construction crew at the beginning of the year and in mid-March we set off on a fantastic adventure.
We spent two weeks at the Domaine in order to construct Jessica’s garden. Accommodations and food were provided on site and only a short walk from the Green Without Greed plot. Jessica’s design challenges and mocks the typical American lawn, which uses many precious resources to achieve the perfect shade of green. Two tones of artificial turf create a “quilt,” which serves as the “lawn,” while a gazing dome acts as a substitute for a water feature and berms serve as a play and seating feature.
One of the most interesting aspects of the whole experience was seeing all the other plots in various phases of construction. Some of the gardens were designed and built by large landscape architecture firms with dedicated professional construction crews, while others were individual artists, architects, or landscape architects on their own or with small crews, and some were even student led teams.
We also enjoyed touring the interior of the Chateau and learning of its history, as well as exploring the Domaine grounds which feature many different gardens and art installations. Additionally, we were able to do a brief tour of landscape architecture sites in Paris at both the beginning and end of our incredible journey.
You can read more about the Green Without Greed construction process and crew through Jessica’s blog:
For more information about the Domaine de Chaumont-Sur-Loire International Garden Festival: