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A Variety of Gardens as Big as All Outdoors

July 05, 2001

The theme for this year's Les Festival de Jardins at Chaumont castle is "Mosiaculture," named for the 19th century scheme of planting to make geometric patterns.

Many, if not most, gardens are as wild as Andy Cao's "Desert Sea," such as "Anamorphosis," where the "floral mosaics of fantastic animals can only be correctly perceived though a cylindrical mirror."

"From Mosiaculture to Moldy Culture," by architects Benjamin Avignon and Saweta Clouet, features a fungal garden of molds. Entering through bands of grasses and charred trees, a hammered lead path leads to petri dishes holding about 300 kinds of fungi.

Some other exhibits are nearly impossible to describe, such as "Data-land," which is "an exaggeration of calculation, a pure abstraction." Whoa, clearly no pansies here.

Les Festival de Jardins runs through Oct. 21 at Chaumont-sur-Loire (http://www.chaumont-jardins.com), near Blois, France.

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