Garden Inspiration From Travel:  Berms Along Champs-Élysées in Paris

Garden Inspiration From Travel: Berms Along Champs-Élysées in Parisfeatured

It’s the time of year when there is very little to do in the garden outside (finally), but I start planning ahead.  How can I make my gardens better this year?  Did I find any inspiring gardens last year?

Well, my husband and I were lucky enough to take a vacation to France last summer.  We did a bike tour with the Tour de France and had a great time visiting our former exchange student and his family in Bordeaux.  We also squeezed in a few days in Paris.  As we strolled the beautiful city, we didn’t seek out any public gardens–our time was limited.  I noticed that flowers and gardens were generally scarce in the bustling city, as we stayed in the 8th arrondissement, and I was a bit surprised by that.  I even found strips of dandelions right adjacent to the Grand Palais!  What???

Maybe the dandelions and weeds in my own yard aren’t such a big deal….they have them in Paris, too!dandelions in front of Grand Palais

However, I was visually struck and really inspired by some garden berms adjacent to a very busy intersection of the Champs-Élysées, near the Place de la Concord.  Do you look for garden ideas when you travel?

I found inspiration in these mounded gardens for three reasons:

  1.  They are adjacent to a very busy street, and easily could be a forgotten strip of concrete—but instead these were made to be beautiful.
  2. The linear plantings and uniform color choices of flowers were visually appealing.
  3. My biggest inspiration was that they merged the concept of sculpture and garden by building up these berms into interesting shapes.  I could see no other reason for this except making garden into art.

Can you think of a space in your yard where you could intentionally build up your landscape to make it more interesting?  Mounds, curves, berms:  always more interesting than just a flat garden bed.

Here are my photos of these interesting road-side berms.  First, the real scene, and you can see some of the berms on the left side of this photo:Garden berms along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees

Close-up views.  It was an unusually cold and rainy day in July.  Plants they used were mostly annuals, and probably started by seed in a large greenhouse somewhere in the spring, or perhaps even directly sown.  Look at their color palette, staying with whites, pinks, and silver foliage.  There is also a hint of purple.  Color choice here is the reason this is visually pleasing.  Imagine how different this would look if yellow or orange or red or blue were added to the mix–other colors would make it too busy.  Plants I see here are cosmos, phlox, geranium (pelargonium), different grasses, Salvia (I think ‘Blue Victoria’, as I have started this from seed before and I recognize it).  The biggest reason for success is the use of Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria) for the silver foliage, interspersed throughout.  Enjoy!  And remember to look for garden inspiration wherever you are….Garden berms along the Avenue des Champs-ElyseesGarden berms along the Avenue des Champs-ElyseesGarden berms along the Avenue des Champs-ElyseesGarden berms along the Avenue des Champs-ElyseesGarden berms along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees


About the author

Stephanie Koski

Stephanie is a retired physician, mother to three boys, and an avid gardener with many hobbies and interests. She lives outside of Salem, Oregon, in the mid-Willamette Valley.
Stephanie does all of the photography and writing for this website, and all content is original and copyrighted.

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