Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Through the iron bars on Rue  Ste. Catherine, Nancy, France, we glimpsed bright, orderly color.  Weary after a day of travel from Paris to Nancy and strolling around the old town, we had just enough strength to explore one more place. Formally laid out, precise beds bordered by clipped boxwood and  immaculate lawns, my first thoughts were dismissive, then I looked closer.

The beds of annuals were laced with vegetables. Blue-leaved cabbages, beets, kale, and Swiss chard were all there.
I travel to make discoveries, see new sights,  learn something new. I pore over guidebooks before going, Google gardens in each town, but nothing is more exciting than finding a treasure for oneself. It felt as if no one else knew about this garden, though a few other visitors were also wandering about and I found out the town of Nancy in Lorraine, France has won European awards for being a floral city.
Here kohlrabi were treated like jewels and pristine herbs are part of the pallette.
This small garden in the heart of the town and bordering a school and the city aquarium is free and open to the public, but has few benches and obviously doesn't encourage lolling about. All varieties are well labeled and containers abound. Inspiration for city gardeners like us? I draw my own conclusions.
We discover that this is an historic garden, named Dominique Alexandre Godron, after the man who was Dean of the Faculty of Science and rescued the garden in 1854, re-creating a Botanical College on the site where, in 1758 Prince Stanislas founded a Botanical Garden attached to the Royal College of Medicine. The current designer obviously has a sense of humor as well as an interest in education.
Carrots are planted in long plexiglass tubes so the growing roots are somewhat visible, and strawberries in rain-gutter trees.
Here's to stumbling on more fascinating discoveries here and away.
What's your favorite?


Geraldine said...

Wow, everything looks so lush. Gorgeous photos.

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Leila wrote: The way the purple kohlrabi added a spectacular splash of color to the garden was my favorite. What a terrific, eccentric find. A close second was the strawberry “tree”.
As a post script, here in our condo development there is a bylaw that one may not plant vegetables in front of a unit. An owner, with a delightful sense of spirit, has planted tomatoes and peppers among his multicolored flower array. His is a corner unit and therefore he has more area to cultivate. I have seen him out tending to his garden and he clearly takes pride and pleasure from it. This is the first year I’ve noticed veggies.

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Thanks Geraldine, There was no one around to ask, and I didn't really want to know what went in to keeping that garden in such fantastic shape.

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