Midsummer Sampler: month 6

Welcome to month six of the Jardin de Lavande, Maison de Jardinere.

 

This month we are travelling to the Dordogne in south-west France, to visit a real-life secret garden, Le Jardin d'Eyrignac.

D'Eyrignac has been in the same family for more than 500 years and Gilles Sermadiras de Pouzols de Lile - the father of the present owner - grew up playing in the overgrown gardens surrounding the 16th century chateau. After a career in interior design Gilles devoted his 'retirement' to unearthing the stone step, walls and pools from the neglected garden of his childhood and reviving the gardens. 

Gilles' design was inspired by, but not a slavish copy of, the past and is now regarded as the finest topiary garden in France, with it's elegant allées, buttressed hedges, spirals, pyramids and fanciful tiered trees in yew, hornbeam and box. All are pruned in the traditional manner - with hand-shears, skill and patience - by teams of gardeners. Up to five times during the growing season

 

The tower at the centre of the garden, the Pavilion of Rest, reputedly housed the estate's silkworms in centuries past. Silkworms are very picky eaters and insist on a diet of leaves from the Mulberry tree, which thrives in the warm, sunny climate of the south of France and made it an important centre of silk production. But we will be concerning ourselves with housing gardeners, not silkworms, and the Maison de Jardinière block we are making this month is an homage to all the gifted French gardeners we have been meeting on our block of the month journey.

 

Those of you who've sewn with me before will know that my background is in conservation architecture, so I can never resist including a house block in my quilts and adding all the little details that give old buildings their special sense of place. In this case the distinctive blue shutters (Maple Farm Birdie in blueberry) and creamy-coloured stone walls (Tiny Farm Berries in sand). We are using rosehip Wheatflower to recreate the roof tiles and windows of Gracie in Teal to reflect the sunny skies. Also included in this month's package is Tiny Farm in mauve which I want you to put aside for next month.

This month's techniques...

This month we are going to create the steep old-fashioned roof of our Maison de Jardiniere. We will essentially be using the Triangle-in-a-square technique, which I've described in detail here.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Although there is a template at the back of your pattern book, this month's notion is my brand new CakeSlice Template which will make marking the placement line on your blocks a breeze. Here is another copy of the instructions, just in case yours go astray and here is a quick tutorial.

Please note that the template is used to mark a line rather than for cutting, as tempting as that may be. I have found keeping the background piece in place as a foundation gives the most accurate results.

British designs by Nicola Dodd

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