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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Chenonceau Château Fall Kitchen

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chenonceau Château Fall Kitchen 

Don't you love seeing beautiful decorations for gardens and homes in other parts of the world? Seeing how different cultures decorate for the seasons? Discovering new ideas to incorporate into your own decorating?

Part of the lure for returning to my favorite French château, Chenonceau, is to see the magnificent floral arrangements on display throughout the gardens and in the castle. Each time I visit I see fresh innovative ways to display grand-scale floral arrangements and come away with some thoughts about how to do something similar, on a smaller scale, in my own home.

Chenonceau Château, known as the Château de Femmes, was built, renovated, and saved by women over the centuries beginning in the mid-1500s.  Diane de Poitiers, the first notable female who resided at Chenonceau was the mistress to King Henri II. She created spectacular gardens that continue to be maintained. Perhaps it is the influence of her feminine touch, and the other prominent women who followed her, that makes Chenonceau a favorite for women.

From the first sight of Chenonceau, the castle captured my heart by its beauty inside and out. Here is where I saw for the first time in my life, spectacular, larger-than-life flower arrangements that filled every room and hall, created from the flowers and vegetables grown in the château's working gardens. 

This year's Fall kitchen arrangements once again are larger-than-life, filling entire tables with flowers and vegetables grown on site. 

The room is pure French Country with its massive stone walls and fireplace, long wooden kitchen table, simple wooden chairs with just a touch of a curved design, French hutch, scrolled ironwork, hanging lanterns, and mounted antlers. Studying this room is a lesson in what French Country design is. 

The upper rooms of the château are more opulent with tapestries, massive elaborately carved stone fireplaces, elegant velvet bedding, and carved wooden ceilings with gold accents, but the kitchen rooms, where the servants worked, portray French Country.

Synonymous with the phrase French Country is the French flair for combining elegance with everyday objects. This Fall table pairs white orchids with green squashes and gourds. 

Also true to French Country floral design are the vine and moss topiary watering cans filled with kiwi, squash, and creeping vines. 

A month's worth of floral design lessons can be learned from this table arrangement. Begin with the glass top that protects the wood from the raw vegetables and plant moisture, but also allows the table to be seen. Texture comes from the green spiky kiwis, wispy plants mixed with the luscious dahlias in the short green vase, thin wood shanks in the white metal containers holding the orchids, and the varied sizes and shapes of the gourds. 

Fall white flowers include the orchids, dahlias and what looks similar to nigella, also known as love-in-a-mist. The flowers and vegetables repeat the same greens and whites which unifies the table arrangement. 

More white, green, and natural elements fill a footed oblong gold container sitting on another humble French Country hutch in the same room. The gold container is unexpected in the humble kitchen spaces, and probably was used in the upper rooms. 

Another room in the kitchen spaces has a second long wooden table filled with a Fall kitchen display with more vibrantly colored flowers, squashes, and pumpkins. The armoire in the background is simple in design which is expected in the servant areas of the castle. 

Unusual sunflowers and seed pods came from the castle's working flower and vegetable gardens. 

A short espaliered border of apple trees encloses the vegetable and cutting flower gardens. Small pebbles, a traditional French drive and walkway medium, cover the surface of the garden's pathways. 

The gardens include herbs like these growing along side the large leafy green vegetables. Birds roam freely on the castle grounds today, but the vintage hanging birdcage is a reminder of the days when birds were caged. 

Large woven baskets are also part of traditional French Country design. In the background are Fall flowers and grasses that will be used in floral arrangements in the château. 

Chenonceau is elegant with its white stone walls and dark blue tiled roofs, a color combination that is timeless, enduring as a favorite combination for over 500 years. Potted topiary trees in large white containers line either side of the front walkway and are classical French garden style with their trimmed shapes and symmetrical design.

This photo of Chenonceau was enhanced by the Waterlogue app on my iPhone and illustrates another use for a watercolor rendition of travel photos.... disguising anonymous tourists visible in your photos. Now you can view them as simply other Chenonceau admirers that blend into the foreground of beloved Chenonceau. 

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What was your favorite part of Chenonceau Château's spectacular Fall kitchen arrangements? 

Katie at Let's Add Sprinkles is hosting 20+ Texas bloggers for a Fall In Love With Texas blog tour the week of October 3-7, 2016. Mark your calendars so you do not miss any of the Fall inspiration from my good friends here in Texas. 

Botanic Bleu is sharing a 
French Fall 5 Ways to Get the Look
 on October 4, 2016. 

Please join me at these inspiring places for more joy of living. 

Dishing It and Digging It @ Rustic and Refined