In summer the green and beige landscape of the Jardin du Luxembourg is punctuated by islands of bright seasonal flowers.
Most of the lawns in the garden are out of bounds so the bedding plants have to be admired from a distance. Some island beds are a subtle haze of colour. (Smoky blue salvia with pastel pink pelargoniums.)
Others are rather more in your face. (Brilliant orange French marigolds with vermilion pelargoniums.)
Some beds are best seen from a distance. (Bright red salvia and celosia with pelargoniums and pink coleus..)
Others have subtleties that are only seen when you can get up close. (Bright zinnias and pelargoniums complemented by dark purple heliotrope and petunias)
Some combinations seem to have everything – clear, complementary colours…..
contrasting forms, interesting textures and simple flowers with nectar for the bees. (Pennisetum grass and a graceful ageratum give height and movement, lacking in many bedding schemes. Golden rudbeckias contrast with purple sage and petunias; yellow tagetes fills all the gaps.)
The island beds, subtle or spectacular, make focal points in the wide expanses of grass and trees of the Jardin à l’Anglaise (a French interpretation of informal, English garden style). Every bed is different, though the overall variety is limited by the production of the garden’s greenhouses and the same plants reappear in different combinations.
In the formal, central area of the garden (à la Française) the scale is rather different. Here the planting is bold, simple and (this summer) very pink. These beds have to show up well from a distance but there are interesting details too. When the cosmos and verbena are in full flower the petunia pink will look a little less solid.
The Jardin du Luxembourg is the garden of the Palais du Luxembourg, once the home of queen Marie de Medici, now the seat of the French Senate. The maintenance of the garden is labour intensive but compared to the elaborate designs of earlier centuries the current layout is really quite restrained. With courts for tennis, basketball and petanque, children’s playgrounds, cafés and drinking fountains, shady allées and sunny (accessible) lawns, an orchard of historic fruit varieties, an educational apiary and a well used bandstand, this public garden offers something for everyone.
Click on any photo for a closer view.