In Amiens, in Northern France, there are extraordinary gardens housing monumental artistic creation. The International Garden Festival—Hortillonnages Amiens represents a new look at the art of gardening, through 140 works created over the past 10 years by landscape designers, architects, and visual artists. Check out the festival for yourself from July 14 to October 18, on foot or by boat (if the global health crisis permits).
Three hundred hectares (740 acres) of ponds, punctuated by hundreds of floating gardens, bathe the city of Amiens in leaves and petals. Shaded by willows and alders, channels—called rieux—connect these islets once dedicated to market gardening.
For ten years, selected by the Maison de la Culture and now by the association Art & Jardins Hauts de France, landscapers and visual artists have invested some fifty plots with their work. From June to October, their art adorn the banks, clearings and undergrowth of this aquatic labyrinth of gardens in Northern France.
Gardens between Île aux Fagots and Clermont pond
Over the 10 editions, 150 works have been produced by 245 landscapers, visual artists and architects and admired by 400,000 visitors.
These creations can be found in two locations: Île aux Fagots, a 10-minute walk from the train station by the tow road along the Somme, and Clermont Pond. It is accessible from the port of Camon by electric boats available for rent. Sail and dock wherever you like, taking a picnic along the banks of this picturesque part of Northern France.
In the context of health crisis due to COVID-19, the 11th edition will be held from July 14 to October 18, 2020. Continue to check back with the organiztions's official site Art & gardens Hauts de France .
The 2020 edition examines climate change and healthy eating. It will have 29 gardens, 23 installations and 1 floating architecture piece.
Five new landscaped works and 6 new visual works are installed on the site, like the "Cornélien Banquet," which illustrates the dilemma between the use of fossil fuels and climate change or the work "+2°C=43 cm", which questions the concept of "limits" and explores ecological transition.
The site also houses a new floating weclome dock for visitors on the Port à Fumier site in Camon, inspired by the Japanese tradition of oragami.
Installed for the garden festival
On Clermont pond as well as on the Île aux Fagots, the visual artist Raphaëlle Duquesnoy has created giant ceramic amplifiers ("Hortillophones") to amplify the sound of these extraordinary gardens of the North of France. When you put your ear against them, you can hear the wind in the birches, the lap of the water and the chuckle of the water hens in Amiens in the Hauts-de-France: the sweet song of the canal garens, the hortillons!