To Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons on a glorious Indian summer Friday to congratulate to Anne Keenan MSGD (pictured, far left) and David Love Cameron (pictured, second from right), winning garden designer and scholar respectively of Raymond Blanc’s first Heritage Garden Competition, set up to help raise awareness of organic gardening methods, preserving knowledge and safeguarding rare varieties of vegetables.
The two acres of productive and ornamental gardens at this Oxfordshire elysium are in the early throes of Autumn production, with orange and green pumpkins and squashes popping above the leafline and fungii surely expanding quietly in Mushroom Valley, monitored by the lifelike willow pigs woven by Emma Stothard.
As we stood in front of the impressive new greenhouse, being expertly constructed by its Hartley Botanic team, Anne’s design was revealed. Using heritage seed from Garden Organic, a series of eight circular beds make it possible to garden using a five-year rotation, and the vegetables to be clearly displayed before ultimately being harvested to be used in the two-Michelin-star restaurant at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. Breaking ground is due any day now, and the garden is expected to open in June 2014.
Selecting the winning team “was not an easy decision for us”, said M. Blanc, who was joined on the judging panel by fellow creator of the competition, Bob Sherman (pictured, centre right) of Garden Organic, and by Juliet Sargeant (pictured, centre left) of the Society of Garden Designers. “Anne’s design fully incorporated the Hartley Botanic greenhouse as the main focus of the garden, and is aesthetically pleasing yet practical, while David showed a commitment, enthusiasm and determination [about the project] which I loved,” M. Blanc added.
Photographs, Paul Wilkinson