Today, the “Urban Farm of Saint-Denis” is composed of the two winning projects: the Sensitive Zone (run by artist’s collective The Poetic Party – Parti poétique) – a 2.5-acre farm in permaculture around a project “nature-culture-food” and a cultural program, and the Open Farm of Saint-Denis (run by Gally Farms) – an educational and heritage farm including animals.
Herculean, Pharaonic and other Garden Superlatives One of the Seven Wonders, for which the specific location has never been established, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are said to have contained a large variety of trees, shrubs and vines planted in tiers on raised terraces in an extraordinary feat of engineering. While visiting the Remarkable Gardens (see other garden studies with this label) of the Château du Champ de Bataille, I drew a parallel with these mythical gardens, beginning with the symbolic notion that they are said to embody: The Seven Degrees of Creation from the Mineral, Vegetal, and Animal to Humanity, Conscience, Light and Spirit, in that order. Jacques Garcia, renowned decorator, acquired the château in 1992. Working with landscape architect Patrick Pottier, they carried out the herculean task of conceiving and planting more than 240 acres of formal gardens consisting of groves, French parterres, boxwood topiary, basins, terraces, steps and fountains complimented by temples, theaters and sculptures. Hidden at the end of the garden is the “pièce de résistance” (flourish); a genuine 18th century Indian palace, reconstructed stone by stone, complete with an artificial lake: the Palace of Dreams. From the Material to the Immaterial, visitors pass from the … Read More
A Woodworker’s Dream | Visiting the Saint Gabriel Flour Mill Contemplating current trends in gluten-free bread, flour-less cakes and slow food, it was thought provoking to step back to post-war France and learn about technology and engineering during the industrial revolution. This opportunity arose during a weekend visit to the town of Saint Gabriel de Brécy, Normandy. The Saint Gabriel Flour Mill, now inscribed into the Industrial Patrimony of the Calvados region, is a magnificent example of a once-working flour mill that is being carefully restored by its owners. Closed permanently in 1975, the mill was purchased in 2012 by Isabelle Laïlle and Benoît Lechevallier (carpenter/cabinet maker). Isabelle and Benoît have rallied local inhabitants, many of whose family members once worked at the mill, to revive the memory of this working environment and an association has been created for this purpose. The diverse professions of this group have enabled the successful restoration to impeccable working condition of a hydraulic turbine engine fabricated by Ruston & Hornsby (UK), of which only two remain in the world, regulated by a Watt Ball Regulator. It is interesting to read in Flour Milling, A Theoretical and Practical Handbook of Flour Manufacture by Peter Kozmin … Read More