Southern Californians have the opportunity to hear yet another extraordinary European gardener, thanks to the Friends of French Art, a group that raises funds for preservation and restoration, headed by one of our own extraordinary gardeners, Elin Vanderlip.
Princess Greta Sturzda has created one of the more magical gardens in Normandy, France--her own Le Vasterival --featured in the July issue of House and Garden. Le Vasterival covers 18 acres and there are over 10,000 plants of note growing there, including a remarkable collection of magnolias, about 1,000 maples and another 1,000 rhododendrons.
This garden was the first in France to receive the Veitch Memorial medal from the Royal Horticultural Society and many of the plants are so rare in France that they are part of the French National Collections. It is not open to the public, though the petite princess does conduct seminars on gardening and horticulture to small groups, often standing on a little platform so she can be seen by all.
At the Friends of French Art event, there will be two projectors so everyone can see the slides of the garden that illustrate her talk. The garden, by the way, is an organic one, perhaps the largest, with only the lawn receiving anything that is not natural.