a zen garden ‘le sentier du chimonobambusa’

The Chimonobambusa garden takes its name after a type of bamboo which is planted in it. The name sounded nice – said Martine, the owner.

It is located in the suburb of Lille, in Hellemes, nestled at the back a city house, flanked on all sides by brick walls. It is a narrow strip divided into three rooms, and the display of plants reveals true mastership in the art of plant association and pruning.

The visitor is welcomed by a smiling face – Martine invites you into the entry hall, and then you realize you are entering a private house, Martine’s house. It is a surprise, I feel like wiping my feet even more carefully as that day was a rainy day… But Martine is not fussed, and takes you in further a loooooooong corridor, past the two noisy dogs, that I couldn’t resist patting. That was the kitchen, then the dining-room, all in a line ; lovely decoration, all in the Japanese mood, you feel you’re getting transported into a different place, and eventually : waouh, the view onto the garden through the French window :


in the sun

The pond takes almost all the space, and you need to walk on the deck bridge to go across. It is 25 cubic meters, 1.5 m deep, with sides made of breeze block and a layer of resin.

All around the planting corresponds to the Japanese theme : pruning in the shape of clouds, alliance of leaf shape and colour.

opening view onto the garden






feeding time



The carps looked impressive,

and it didn’t take them long

to gulp down the pellets

Martine threw in the water

for the show !





multi layer edging


The planting is staged on different levels,

even around the pond.




ground cover planting





You think green is just green ?

A plant is like any other plant ?

Think again !


martine in situ







Behind the pond, a winding path made of stones and gravel leads you to the second room. I love the bamboo canes stripped bare and the rustle of the soft leaves above my head.

the art of staging















Looking back, I can’t help noticing the clever art of staging which is displayed : every bit of the space is filled with a feature or a plant with a goal to serve.

planting in shades and stages













At the back, a raised terrace is lording onto the plot.

More stones and wood, trees kept at man’s height,

grasses and bushes invited to raise,

but in a controlled manner.

Unity is truly achieved here.


And then, I couldn’t resist capturing shots of the heads that are scattered all around :

often in twos or threes or more, never alone, they seem to be deep engrossed into  a conversation that no visitor can perturb !

That’s all folks ! Hope you enjoyed the tour. One thing is sure : I will go back to see the magnolia in bloom !

Oct 7, 2012

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