DESTINATION-CHATEAU DE CHENONCEAU GARDENS

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The chateau de Chenonceau & gardens, extends across the river Cher, within the Indre et Loire region of France. It is situated close to the Loire valley, having both medieval and Renaissance style buildings and exquisite elegant grounds containing delicate shades of pinks, purples and whites within the lush greenery, lawns, circular boxwood and formal pathways & statues. Roses are grown as standards with beautiful pink flowers that hang downwards and purple lavender growing below in a row of borders. The Chateau was first constructed during the 13th century and was occupied by the Marques family until it was set alight during as an act of revenge. But was again reconstructed with a water mill before it was purchased by Thomas Bower, the senior royal official to King Charles V 111 in 1530 to which he completely built the chateau again from scratch, demolishing most of the original. After Thomas Bower’s death, the chateau was confiscated by the king (Francis 1st) because of money owed to the state. Diane de Poitiers was later given the property by Henry the 2nd during an liaison with him, she loved the chateau so much that she consigned the architect Philibert de L Orme to construct a bridge so that the chateau could have easier access to the other side of the river. She also had magnificent large scale gardens created alongside the river in formal designs with pathways that meet at right angles of 90 degrees & two straight lines joining opposite corners that form triangles containing lawn and aromatic Santolina plants with yellow or white flowers, roses also grow over the elevated terrace that shields the gardens from the overflow of water from the river, other flower borders include Enonymus europaeus spindle hedge plant with bright pink flowers, Viburnum tinus, (Laurustinus)an evergreen hedge plant with leaves very much like a bay tree with white flowers, followed by hibiscus which blooms during the summer months, a fountain is also located in the centre of the garden.
But it wasn’t until after the kings death that his wife Catherine de Medici violently requested that the chateau be returned to her, in exchange for the chateau Chaumont in Chaumot sur Loire. After Catherine gained ownership she resided at the estate regarding it as her most cherished home. She added many costly additional features to the chateau including a grand gallery along the bridge. The overall design of gardens contains a large circular water pool surrounded by five rectangular lawn panels with a line of flower beds and rounded boxwood. Flowering Roses are grown as standards with lavender underneath. & in another part of the garden roses climb over the trellis near to a pathway by the moat. A maze was also created in Italian style using up to 2,000 yew trees, with classical urns planted with ivy and boxwood and a gazebo in the centre made using wicker.
Others who owned the Chateau de Chemonceau at some point in history include Louise de Lorraine (wife of Henry 3rd), Cesar de Bourbon ( son of Henry 4th and François de Lorraine his mistress), Louise Dupin the daughter of Samuel Bernard (financier) and also Marguerite Pelouze during the 1800’s who renovated some parts of the Chateau adding statues of ancient Greek heroes, gods and goddesses.

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It is believed that the countess of Villeneuve had the chateau in her possession in 1825, assigning lord Seymour to create the green garden which is situated to the north of Catherine’s garden, it contains many old trees that surround  the grounds  providing shade and elegance with oak trees, redwood, walnut, chestnut, fir trees, cedar and catalpa trees. By the mid 1900’s Gaston Menier and relatives assigned the architect Bernard Voision to renovate parts of the chateau that was badly damaged during the 2nd world war.
In the flower garden a wide range of flowering and fragrant plants are grown to provide cut flowers for the chateau’s floral workshop for displaying a beautiful array of flowers for the living room, office, kitchen or gallery, the layout is arranged in squares and adjoined with apple trees. There is said to be approximately 400 different types of  roses, 100 flowering plants and various vegetables. There is also events & entertainment such as for private rental, groups and school parties and a restaurant known as the Orangeries that is situated within the green garden.
Reference:https://www.chenonceau.com/en/gardens/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Château_de_Chenonceau

Scented gardens

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Scented flowers and leaves have many benefits for your health, well being, positive energy and also for providing beauty and fragrance to your home & garden.
Flower petals and scented leaves can be used to make perfume, essential oil, pot pourri, soap, rosewater scented candles, incense, a bouquet of flowers as well as for food and beverages. Recent research have shown that the aroma from scented leaves and flowers can influence our feelings and mood, by reducing stress, anxiety, fatigue and to improve memory and relaxation. The purpose of the flowers fragrance in nature is to attract bees, butterflies and moths, & the scented leaves to deter insects away from the plant.

Whether you choose to grow your scented plants near to the house, along a walkway in the garden which releases fragrance as you pass by, in a container garden on a patio, on steps, close to a dinning area, a pot full of herbs or grown along a wall or trellis they can bring great joy and pleasant aromas to your surroundings.
Planting aromatic lily bulbs in deep containers near to the home, or by a doorway or window box can be very inviting to your friends and neighbours with its strong sweet heavenly scent like the L. regale, L.henryi, L. longiflorum, L.casa blanca, . L. auratum, L. candidum, L. hansonii and various oriental lilies.
Scented flowers and herbs which have been cut and taken indoors to be dried in spring or late summer, are edible and can be used in cake making, tea, in desserts and drinks as well as for sachets, bath water, potpourri, dyes and candle & paper making such as marigold, violas, lavender, cornflowers and roses.
Fresh edible flowers such as hibiscus, honeysuckle, lavender, lilac, nasturtiums, pansies, citrus flowers, roses, violets and daisies can also be used for cake decoration, desserts, liqueur, mousse, salads or as a garnish. The flowers usually have a delicate flavour so it will not effect the overall taste of the food and can also look appetizing & artistic.
An arrangement of freshly cut scented flowers in a vase can not only lightens up a room with its array pastel shades or exotic colours but also emits a delightful fragrance.
Other scented plants ideas for creating more fragrance within your garden space include a Lavender hedge, sweet peas for their scented flowers or a rose garden.

A garden full of pleasantly rich highly scented plants can be captivating & uplifting, especially when they fill the air with perfume bringing tranquillity and relaxation to your surroundings while encouraging wildlife and creating a peaceful environment.

Scented plants can be grown not only in the garden by the side of a walkway, in a flower border or low growing varieties around stepping stones but they can also do well in containers & window boxes which is especially lovely grown close to a window, doorway or gate or archway
Frangipani has a very strong beautiful rich sweet fruity floral fragrance which come in a choice of pastel colours of pinks, white, yellows and oranges and is associated with love & romance which can also be used for essential oil, skin care and perfume, It originates from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, so it needs a hot & sunny position and in cooler countries it may need a green house or conservatory.
The Lily of the valley (convallaria majalis) has sweet scented delicate bell shaped flowers which is used for perfume, for bridal bouquets and has medicinal properties. In Greek mythology this plant was discovered by the god Apollo and is also the national flower of Yugoslavia and Finland. Gardenia has large white flowers with a strong sweet fragrance and is used for essential oil and perfume, it has been customary
in France to use the flower for decoration on tuxedos and suit jackets and also as a garnish for Tiki cocktails in bars in the South Pacific. but the downside is that it requires humid conditions in acidic soil as it is native to tropical regions.
The peony flowers range in shape with colours of purple, pink, red, white or yellow and some are more strongly scented than others usually with a sweet delicate rosy scent which is used in perfume, skin care, and has medicinal properties. The petals can also be used for making peony water, tea, salads, drinks and is also popular for cut flowers, and is a symbol for the twelfth wedding anniversary. Sweet peas have a rich intense fragrance & pastel coloured flowers of purple, blue, white or have two colours, the scent can range from low to very highly scented and is used for bouquets, essential oils, perfume & skin care and has medicinal properties. Lathyrus Odoratus ‘Matucana’ is said to have the strongest perfumed flowers of the sweet pea.

Having the luxury of growing beautiful & colourful fragrant flowers in your garden or in containers can be captivating, but they can also be used to add beauty and taste to your food and beverages such as syrups, cakes, iced drinks, teas, ice cream, salads, cocktails, jams, desserts, mousse, lemonade, stew, with cheese or simply for decoration especially if they are grown naturally without the use of pesticides.
Scented leaf pelaroniums like the P. tomenosum mint scented leaf, P. citronellum lemon scented leaf and P. capitatum rose scented leaf can be used in cake making, jellies, desserts, to flavour drinks and ice cubes more. Anise Hyssop has lavender coloured flowers which has a light liquorice like taste and is related to the mint family, this plant alone is said create up to 90,000 flowers which attracts bees and butterflies, the leaves have medicinal properties which has been traditionally used by the native Americans and the flowers can be used in hot tea, iced tea, salads, pies and sweets. Carnations are believed to be originated from the Mediterranean when it was described by Theophrastus an ancient Greek botanist 2000 years ago. The native colour is purple pink but are also available in colours of white, yellow, red, blue & green and the flowers and scent is often used in beer, wine, vinegar, sauces, salads, yogurt, cakes and desserts. Lavendula is a very popular culinary herb because if its very strong feminine floral fragrance which is also used for essential oil, L. Angustifolia ‘Munstead’ is the most usual lavender for its use in cooking which include cupcakes, sponge, scones, dressings, desserts, salads, buds in tea, honey, marshmallows, jam and can be mixed with rosemary in savoury dishes. Elderberry has white or cream colour flowers usually in clusters with a fruity floral scent and is part of the honeysuckle family, the berries when cooked are used to make wine, juice, dye and for the treatment of cold & flu. The flowers are used to flavour jam, ice-lollies, cake, desserts, marshmallows, honey and is used to flavour the french liqueur ‘St Germain and ‘Halland Flader the Swedish distilled spirit known as Akvavit.
Flowers which are used for food and beverages include Angelica, Bee balm, Begonia, calendula, carnations, Chamomile, chicory, Chives, Chrysanthemums, Clover, Cornflowers. Daisy, Dandelions, Day lilies, Elderflower, Apple/Pear/Plum or Citrus blossom, Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Honeysuckle, Lavender, Marshmallow, Lilac and Nasturtum.

Freshly cut fragrant flowers picked straight from your garden for an elegant bouquet arrangement for your dinning area, living room or bedroom can be exquisite especially when they fill the air with their heavenly scents while adding beauty with many colour varieties to your living space area,
Flowers such as Chrysanthemums, Sweet pea, lily, sunflower, tulips, gladiolus, roses, corn flower, peony, carnations, dianthus and gypsophila, eucalyptus and succulents can be grown from seed, bulbs or plants from a garden centre or nursery, When you cut your plant for a bouquet it is best to cut the stems at an angle so that the ends will not settle at the base of the vase and to remove any leaves and branches from the stems which will go in water, Place the flowers up against the vase and measure the length, cutting the correct size you desire, the flowers will last longer if the vase has been cleaned frequently after use with the removal of previous plant debris. Spread out the flowers evenly around the vase removing any dead blooms, the primary flowers are the ones you wish to show up the most in your arrangement such as large or colourful ones and the secondary flowers are usually smaller in size, you also need to add interesting plant leaves to create a balance of flowers within your bouquet. Place the flowers into a vase which has been half filled with water add a table spoon of sugar or mix in plant food to your vase to help to preserve the flowers for longer and it is advisable to change the water every three days.
Zinnia, which is part of the daisy Asteraceae family with brightly coloured flowers of white, yellow, orange, red and lilac, native to North & South America and is said to be the longest lasting flowers in a bouquet, followed by orchids ,carnation, delphiniums, chrysanthemums, alstroemeria and gladiolus.
Succulent types such as Scabiosa flowers that forms a rosette shape in various colours of purple, red, Pink and orange, goes well with roses in a vase. Echereria are greyish blue succulents that has flower stalks with brightly coloured rosettes which can make a bouquet look more sculptural and elegant, another is Aeanium a low growing succulent with leaves that form a rosette also know as the house leek, there are a number of species and cultivars some with dark reddish brown leaves.

Highly scented fresh flowers and herbs can be used to make essential oil from your own garden for treating a range of aliments, relaxation and massage.
Flowers such as chamomile, geranium, clary sage, jasmine, juniper berry, lavender, rose and more are made for floral scents so you can make your own face or body cream, soap, face mask, massage oil for aromatherapy or to add it to your bath water.
Collecting fresh flowers, leaves or herbs from your garden and adding them to a steam distiller with water which is heated from underneath, the steam from the plants goes through the chambers of the pot and then drips out as essential oil, it can be purchased in a range of different sizes.
Cold pressed essential oils are made from citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons and limes which are peeled and placed in a cloth, then crushed to release the essential oils.
Maceration is when the flowers are infused in a carrier oil such as sunflower or almond, then placed into a copper pot and heated underneath for a few hours and the remaining essential oil is filtered.

Enfleurage is the oldest method where essential oils are extracted using the hot or cold method for more fragile flowers like jasmine and rose, this can be done by using a glass frame with a coat of animal fat or fatty oil, the frames are stacked on top of one another and after a few days to weeks the flowers are replaced with new ones, later alcohol is added with the fat and then separated to create essential oil.
Blue tansies are perennial herbs with yellow flowers that resemble a button in shape, the essential oil is dark blue and has a fragrance similar to apple which is great in skin care for delicate and irritated skin and making it look more glowing. It is also used as an insect repellent and to flavour sauces, omelettes and puddings & the Cherokee also used this plant for medicinal uses.
Ylang Ylang also know as the perfume tree is native to tropical Asia and is part of the custard apple family. The leaves are oval and shiny with yellow star shaped flowers which face downwards. Essential oil is pale yellow beige in colour with a custard like fragrance and a dash of jasmine & neroli, used in perfume and aromatherapy.
Jasmine meaning ‘gift from god’ derived from the Persian word Yasanen is popular for its highly scented flowers and is part of the olive family, the flowers are white or pale yellow and grows as a shrub or vine. The essential oil has a sweet exotic floral scent and is used for perfume, aromatherapy, for favouring tea and for religious ceremonies. Other flowers include helichrysun (sweet rich fragrance), bergamont (floral citrus), neroli (sweet spicy floral), rhododendrom (fresh light scent) and yallow (fruity herb).

Pelargonium inquinans

Pelargonium inquinans also known as the scarlet pelargonium because if its brightly coloured red flowers,  also has light pink & white flower varieties but these are less common, The flowers have larger lower petals than the upper ones and each flowering stalk has about 10-20 flowers.
It grows well in full sun or with slight shade to a height of 2 meters as an upright woody shrub which is native to a large area of the Eastern Cape to Kwazulu Natal & has medicinal uses such as for flu & headaches.
This plant can look striking growing next to lavender and seeds of this plant will be available very soon at http://www.pelargoniumspeciesworld.com