I recently attended the autumn edition of Les Journées des Plantes which is held in the grounds of the Domaine de Coursons every autumn and spring. The Domaine is 35km from Paris and attracts nurseries from France, Belgium, Holland and Germany but still retains a village fête sort of feel. A beautiful autumn misty morning was followed by bright sunshine setting off to perfection the autumn colours. Many visitors went away laiden down with bags and trolleys of nodding plants. I queued up behind Patrick Blanc (the green wall designer) at a nursery specialising in shade plants. His bright green hair wasn’t hard to miss!
An elegant combination of green, white, burgundy and dusky pink plants including Anemone × hybrida ‘Königin Charlotte’ AGM, Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Pink Elephant’, Heuchera ‘Beaujolais’, Astrantia Major ‘Star of Passion’, Aster latiflorus ‘Prince’, Echinacea purpurea ‘Green Envy’ and Gaura lindheimeri.
Many of the stands featured hydrangeas showing off to perfection their autumn colours:
A nursery specialising in mediterranian plants exhibited this fine display of Echinacea. The pink one to the left is called E. ‘Solar Flare’. Their advice was approriate to France – “surveiller les escargots”.
Transport: If traffic is light, Coursons is just over an hour’s drive from central Paris. However, returning to Paris on Friday evening, the traffic was terrible and it took me 2.5 hours to get back. Next time I will leave earlier – I left at 5.30pm. The other option is to get the RER to Massy-Palaiseau (lines B and C) and the domaine organise a navette coach from the station. I think I will try the RER/navette at the next edition in the spring.
Facilities: There were two refreshments tents selling sandwiches, cakes and hot and cold drinks. Bring your own picnic if you’re broke or a gluten-freer. There is also a more upmarket restaurant in the Chateau stable courtyard for a proper French lunch. The toilets were music festival chemical portaloos. There is not much shelter from rain so come equipped if rain is forecast and I would advise wellies or waterproof boots as the show is mainly on grassed areas and can be muddy.
The next Journées des Plantes will be held on the 14th, 15th and 16th May 2014. For more information : www.domaine-de-courson.fr