RENAISSANCE OF THE GARDENS
The building site was immense, but was done and dusted within five months. A hundred people worked tirelessly to restore the French gardens to their eighteenth-century splendour. The gardens were a late addition to the grounds of Chambord as the soil is largely soft wetland and marsh, difficult to develop even with the right techniques, impossible at the time the château was built, when the surrounding landscape would have looked quite wild and untamed.
The first real work began in the seventeenth century, stopped due to the technical difficulties, but then resumed during the stay of the King of Poland, Stanislas Leszczynski, who settled in Chambord between 1725 and 1733. The Polish sovereign was particularly concerned by the malaria-carrying mosquitoes that affected the summer months, and decided it was time to clean up the marshlands. Works began in earnest from 1730 onwards, with bridges, dikes, a canal and a terrace relying on the latest technical expertise being built.
When the land had been drained and sanitised, Chambord was ready to have a real French garden. In 1734 plantations were carried out on 6.5 hectares, later enriched with some surprising and exotic species, for example 250 pineapple plants, 121 orange trees, a lemon tree and a lime tree. After the French revolution, the garden fell into disrepair until only large flat lawns remained at the beginning of the twentieth century. This remained the case until 2016, when the project to recreate the gardens of Chambord was launched.
BRINGING THE LOST GARDENS BACK TO LIFE
The grass lawns, flowerbeds and rows of trees and hedges were restored to their original form and size in just five months. Certain species were replaced by others - the Indian chestnut and boxwood trees are today threatened by disease, and have been replaced by similar but hardier species. The pineapples and citrus trees are back!
In total, this gigantic project mobilised a hundred people, replanting 618 mature trees, 840 shrubs, more than 15,000 border plants and nearly 11,000 flowering perennials. The project was carried out with sustainable development in mind, using perennial species requiring low maintenance and no phytosanitary treatment.
Since Spring 2017, 176 rose bushes have bloomed each year in a magnificent display.