from The Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner – intelligent garden design software
There are some things the French seem to do effortlessly. Crème de cassis and white wine. Raspberry tarts. Shabby chic. The careless and uncontrived juxtaposition of faded elegance and modern buildings.
And what is it about the French and flowers? Their streets are a blaze of carefully designed colour and a visit to a public park feels like an outing to the botanical gardens.
Grasses and sedges add movement and airiness to the designs. In a park near the railway station, fluffy lagurus ovatus contrasts with statuesque canna leaves. The pretty, delicate Gaura lindheimeri adds a light touch to many of the flowerbeds. I want to whip out my camera and analyse the plant combinations.
At every roundabout, there’s a new combination of flowers to admire. It’s hard to resist pulling up and leaping out of the car to admire the planting plans close up.
Outside the Hôtel de Ville, vertical height lends structure to the schemes, while the vibrantly contrasting rich purples and yellows are a source of inspiration for flower beds anywhere.
Perhaps it’s the French sense of style? Certainly, their street containers are so much more than an attempt to add a splash of colour. The designs are vibrant and contemporary, but there’s a restrained colour palette which avoids the often garish effect of summer bedding in some of our British parks. There’s no hint of municipal planting here – just a careful mix of perennials and shrubs that would look at home in someone’s back yard.