The fan of forgotten French fleurs

Virginie Quéant, a committed advocate of growing rare or traditional plants and varieties, is pictured in her garden

After 20 years of photographing gardens in France, Virginie Quéant began to realise that many of the traditional flowers she remembered from her childhood were missing.

So she feels it is time to bring back the old, simple classics, often neglected nowadays for more exotic hybrids and rare plants. She thinks flowers like aquilegia, cosmos, hollyhocks, asters, mock orange blossom and forget-me-nots deserve at least a corner in our gardens: “I photograph beautiful gardens, many of which are open to the public and they are often mostly interested in rare, exceptional plants and varieties with unusual colours. There seems to be something of a race to get hold of out of the ordinary plants and the more simple plants are regarded as old-fashioned and banal.

“But when I walk through a village in the countryside and look over a wall and see perhaps zinnias ...

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