To celebrate their 20th Anniversary, Terre Vivante, an educational garden farm in France held a special open day. Terre Vivante means “living earth”, and I’d wanted to visit ever since one of their lovely little preserving books fell into my hands. There was no public transport to the closest village. Simon and I thumbed a ride from a young couple, who went 15 minutes out of their way to drop us off to quiet, quaint little Mens, and our awaiting Couchsurfing host, Myriam.
It was going to be a blistering hot day. We hitched another ride from the village to Terre Vivante early on, with a lovely older couple who confessed they’d never picked up hitchhikers before.
They chatted with us on the way in, pointing out things to see, and insisting on going out of their way to show us where the restaurant was. It was very important, they stressed, to get there early. The lines would be very, very long from 12pm, they said gravely. They were right. We ate early, and oversaw the long lines smugly for hours thereafter.
The gardens were made all the more impressive by panoramic snow-capped mountains, which did seem all too far away under the hot sun. Huge crowds of eager punters listened to various talks, taking tours, punctuating the schedule with icecreams, beers, wine, du café, and a delicious home-made buffet lunch.
Terre Vivante turned out to be a different model to what we’d been envisioning with Stellar Violets to date. There was no way to visit anymore on a daily basis: it was only open to group bookings. The main revenue seemed to be generated by the publishing arm of the organisation. It all provided food for thought.
Experiencing the beautiful gardens, educational talks and workshops, and the people enjoying it all confirmed our own vision to create a beautiful, inspiring place for people to visit and enjoy.
We’re excited to be creating a place with similar values in our part of the world. Check out Stellar Violets Placemaking to read more about our current aspirations.