Grandiose, inspiring and breathtaking only break the surface when used to describe the Gardens of Versailles. Versailles is the most famous garden in the world. Yet ‘garden’ is scarcely a fitting designation. The scale is monumental and there is little sense of enclosure. It is resplendent as the prime example of the French Baroque style.
There are immaculate parterres, great basins, an orangery, vast collections of outdoor sculptures and some of the grandest fountains which have ever been made.
The park and garden were designed by Andre Le Nôtre between 1661 and 1700. The Grand Trianon, another formal garden, was built on the site of a former village. Avenues project from Louis XIV’s palace towards distant horizons, enfolding town, palace, garden and forest. The Grand Trianon, a formal garden on the property was built on the site of a The Petit Trianon was given to Marie-Antoinette in 1774. She favored the irregular style, with hills, rocks and streams. The Hameau was designed in 1785, as a stage village, for Marie-Antoinette to play with her friends in the idle years before the French Revolution
How to duplicate Versailles
Although the majority of gardeners simply do not have the acreage of Versailles, duplication is still possible on a smaller scale. Baroque style when loosely translated means “ornamented with a free style”. In practical terms in your garden, it can mean placing a variety of small gardens bordered by natural barriers and boxed planters.
What to try:
Shrubs can serve as the perfect natural barriers or hedges and can be trimmed to reflect a formal feeling. Oleanders are a great choice. These shrubs are fast growers and bloom throughout the year.
Oleanders can also be used as an ornamental tree. Its smaller size makes it a perfect choice for patios or entry ways.
Boxed gardens are used extensively throughout Versailles. Try a boxed flower, herb or vegetable garden.
When you find yourself (or lose yourself) in France, ‘promenade dans le beau jardin’ of Versailles. Until then, make your way to Moon Valley Nurseries and we will help you create your own Versailles.