Image from Jardins du Roi Soleil
The Versailles Planter is one of the most distinct and recognizable garden containers. The planters were created for easy transportation of Louis XIV’s orange tree collection to the Orangerie during colder months at Versailles. The planter was designed by Andre Le Nortre, the original designer of the Versailles gardens, in the 1600s and were made entirely out of timber, but in the 1800’s were redesigned to feature the cast-iron frame.
Image from Jardins du Roi Soleil
The distinct features of the planters include:
- Cast-Iron posts and banding
- Pin construction allows for sides to be removed
- Wood Panels – Typically oak, but can be other hardwoods
- French Pomme de Pin adorning posts
- The official planter has no bottom, but most reproductions include bottoms
Given the quality of the construction of these planters, they are typically very expensive and are often seen at hotels, restaurants and public gardens. The official Chateau de Versailles tree box is made by Jardins du Roi Soleil and features the same construction methods as the redesigned 1800’s boxes. You can also find versions created by Authentic Provence and Inner Gardens. Here is a selection I have found:
For what to plant in your Versailles Planter, you can always follow Louis’ lead and plant citrus trees. But with the weight of the cast-iron, you most likely will not want to move yours for the winter months. Below are some suggestions:
- Boxwoods (both clipped and on standard)
- Hydrangea on a Standard
- Olive Tree
And finally here are some more photos of Versailles Planters to get you inspired:
Image from Giannetti Architects
Image from Paris on Demand
I had a question posted about which would be better suited for a zone 8, small clipped hedge; Green Mountain or Green Velvet boxwoods. Similar to use in this garden.
My recommendation would be to use the Green Velvet Boxwood. These are low growing boxwoods that stay dense and continue to hold color through the winter. I also have this vesitale boxwood used in my landscape at home. The Green Mountain Boxwood, is a larger boxwood that you typically seen clipped into larger ornamental shapes.
Green Velvet Boxwood. Low growing, bright green leaves.
For planting the Green Velvet boxwood here are some pointers:
- Plant on about 2ft centers. In the south your boxwoods will grow faster than up here, however expect them to fill in within two seasons.
- When trimming, clip only the tops for the first few trims. This will force growth horizontal first, and them give you more height after it has hedged.
- When planting, amend the soil with some organic matter (such as leaf compost). In South Carolina thesoil is more sandy and the boxwoods are heavy feeders and the organic matter will help promote growth.
- Mulch the roots, this will help keep the roots cool during the hot summers.
Green Velvet Boxwood
Comparing Green Velvet's growth over the years.
The greenhouse is cleared of the winter storage and organized to start planting; and just in time since last week our order of seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds arrived.
I ordered a variety of vegetables and flowers to grow for both my own and client’s gardens. Some of my selections were based on companion plants, such as parsley, tomatoes and nasturtiums. When planted together the plants naturally deter bugs from each other and partners the heavy feeders with plants that replenish the soil. A common companion method combination of Corn, pole beans and squash is called ”The Three Sisters Method” and dates back to Native Americans. Other vegetables were ordered for their heirloom qualities or ingredients in favorite recipes. I will share progress of the veggies once they are started.