Jardin de Lavande: month 8


Welcome to month eight of the Jardin de Lavande, Brouette.


We have reached the penultimate stop on our garden tour of France and this month we return to the Loire valley to visit a garden that has taken ornamental kitchen gardening to new heights and inspired us all to plant our winter window boxes with frilly, purple cabbages: Villandry.

Like many renaissance chateaux, Villandry's formal gardens were swept away in the C18th. Two centuries later Villandry was rescued by Spanish doctor Joachim Carvallo and his American wife Ann, who restored the chateau and painstakingly reinstated the gardens.  


The Carvallos created a music-themed ornamental garden - a symphony of lavender and box - a water garden, themed parterres, a maze and a splendid herb garden, but it's their re-imagining of the potager décoratif (or ornamental kitchen garden) with its complex geometry which steals the show and could inspire a quilt all on its own, as a satellite photograph will attest. 

Our highly decorative wheel barrow will look perfectly at home, adorned with Maple Farm's Pauline in teal and umber Wheatflower prints. There are also FQs of Gwendolyn in umber and green Farm Flowers - to set aside for the border - and our notion this month is a Hera marker, which we are going to use to create the wheel barrow's handles and stand. As well as the Fat Quarter of off-white background fabric for the Brouette block, you will also have a separate half-yard cut of off-white in your parcel, which you will use when you assemble your quilt.


And here's where it gets a bit confusing (not least for Andrea and I): if you are in North America you will also have a half yard of the pine green Meadow print in your parcels; Australian ladies, you will have a half yard of Meadow lilac, which arrived too late for last month's parcel; here in the UK I am still playing fabric-delivery-chicken - and my Meadow pine will actually be arriving tomorrow - so rather than hold up the parcels, I'll send it next month!

This month's techniques...

Although I am fond of using a bias tape maker, for wider or shorter strips I prefer to use a Hera marker...









Holding it like a pen, I use the curved edge to mark a crease ¼” in from the edge I want to fold over. I then finger press that seam allowance, before pressing with a hot iron. An optional spritz of starch will help hold the crease.