Bucket List of French Gardens

In my last post, I featured my bucket-list of gardens in the United Kingdom, a country which I have visited twice and could easily visit again! France falls into the same category. While I know there are many wonderful gardens to visit in other countries like Italy and Germany, I would still return to France to visit more gardens!

Please note that since I haven’t yet visited these gardens, I have used photographs of my own garden or other Australian gardens to illustrate this post. Below is my daughter Jen’s Spring photo of Giverny, one of the most famous French gardens. My feature photo for this post is the beautiful Guillot rose, Paul Bocuse.BlogFranceLoveAffair20%ReszdP1190241

We visited Monet’s beautiful and very popular garden at Giverny in 1994, but I would also love to visit Renoir’s garden, Les Collettes. We own the book Renoir’s Garden, written  by Derek Fell in 1991, in which it is described as ‘a vision of an earthly paradise’ and the photos certainly support that description! It looks like a lovely relaxed old garden and you can also explore the house and studio.

Musée Renoir
19 Chemin des Collettes
06800 Cagnes-sur-Mer

http://www.amb-cotedazur.com/renoir-museum-cagnes-sur-mer/

Originally a traditional working farm with ancient olive and orange groves and an old farmhouse, Renoir bought the 11 hectare estate in 1907, and commissioned architect, Jules Febvre, to design a new villa, which was finished in 1908. Here is a map of the garden and property from Page 100 – 101 of Derek Fell’s book:BlogBucketFranceReszd2517-09-18 18.50.02BlogBucketFranceReszd2517-09-18 18.50.19Despite his increasingly arthritic hands and a stroke in 1912, which left him bound to a wheelchair, Renoir still continued to work every day with assistance, spending each Winter at Les Collettes, and returning to Essoyes, the home town of his wife, Aline, in Burgundy each Summer.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1821Wide paths were constructed to accommodate a wheelchair and were lined with Nerium oleander, a Mediterranean native. Many  shade trees were planted like oaks, umbrella pines (Pinus pimea),  Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Canary Island Date Palms (Phoenix canariensis), Irish Strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo), a Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum), hawthorns (Crataegus species), Pepper trees (Schinus molle), Spindle trees (Euonymus species), loquat trees (photo above), Broad-leaved Lime or Linden trees (Tilia platyphyllos), flowering cherry and apricot trees, a golden bamboo grove (Phyllostachys aureosulcata), Pittosporum  tobira and Eucalyptus species, underplanted with blue bearded iris, red poppies, birds’ foot trefoil and ivy-leaved geraniums.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-21-11-21-08Shrubs include Shrub Verbena, Lantana camara; Philadelphus coronarius (photo above); Pyracantha coccinea, Indian hawthorne (Raphiolepsis indica) and lilacs, Syringa vulgaris (photo below). The walls of the farmhouse provided support for Tree Fuchsias, Oleander, Cape Plumbago, Solanum laciniatum, and Brugsmansia ( both white and salmon forms of Angel’s Trumpets).blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-10-11-44-53The formal gardens contain 4 rows of citrus trees, seven to each row – mainly oranges, tangerines and cumquats, interplanted with many beautiful scented pink roses, Renoir’s favourite flower. In fact, Henri Estable, a local rose breeder, named a shrub rose after Renoir in 1909, Painter Renoir, which is naturally growing in the garden! There are many climbing roses, growing over arches, including a massive Banksia rose (photo below).blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0289Other plants include succulents like aloes, variegated agave (Agave americana variegata) and Mexican yuccas (Beschorneria yuccoides); Bearded and Dutch Iris (photo below), cannas and agapanthus;  Ivy-leafed pelargoniums;  Lavender, rosemary, santolinas and dusty millar (Senecio bicolour cineraria); Echium fastuosum, cistus and hebes; White Margeurite daisies (Argyranthemum frutescens); Calendulas, gaillardia and nasturtiums; Dahlias and zinnias; Anchusa azurea and Bergenia cordifolia; and carnations and pink poppies.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0121 There are pots of arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica), cinerarias, papyrus and spider plants. There are also vegetable gardens, vineyards and orchards. Here is a photo of Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Green Goddess’ in our hydrangea bed.BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_3039Renoir died in 1919, after which parts of  Les Collettes were sold off, so that by 1959, only 2½ hectares remained. In 1960, the house and the remaining estate were bought by the town of Cagnes-sur-Mer and turned  into a municipal museum, featuring the family’s furniture, fourteen original paintings and thirty sculptures by the master, including a version of Les Grandes Baigneuses.BlogFavNurseries50%Reszdjens visit jan 2010 051In July 2013, after 18 months of extensive renovation work, the Renoir Museum and the whole Collettes estate reopened their doors. For the first time, the museum also gave public access to the kitchen and hallway overlooking the gardens and added a set of seventeen plaster sculptures, donated by Renoir and Guion families, as well as two additional original canvasses.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.11.05Renoir’s final years at Les Collettes were depicted in a beautiful film simply titled Renoir (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2150332/), but the latter was in fact photographed in the gardens of Le Domaine du Rayol, my next bucket-list garden.

Le Domaine du Rayol

Avenue of the Belgians
83820 RAYOL-CANADEL-SUR-MER

http://www.domainedurayol.org/

A 20 ha botanical garden and arboretum in the Var, between Le Lavandou and Saint-Tropez.

It was bought in 1989 by the Conservatoire du Littoral, to protect the local maquis scrubland from the development of a housing estate, and the group then commissioned Gilles Clément and Philippe Deliau to redesign the old garden. It has since been listed as a Jardin Remarquable.

It is dedicated to Mediterranean and arid and subtropical biomes and is divided into a number of regional gardens, involving five continents:

The Canary Islands, off the NW coast of Africa: Three landscapes: the Malpaïs (coastal maquis) with its euphorbia (Euphorbia canariensis), echiums (photo below), convovulus and Aeonium; the Thermophilic Grove of dragon trees; and the high altitude Pinar, dominated by Canary Pine and Cistus;BlogFavNurseries30%ReszdIMG_9316California: The Chaparral (Californian maquis), growing tough Heteromeles, Leucophyllum frutescens, Prunus illicifolia , Romneya coulteri, Manzanitas; Carpentaria, Californian lilacs (Ceanothes), oaks, Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia), Coulter Pine and Monterey Cypress; Desert landscapes with Hesperaloe parviflora, the Yuccas, the cacti (photo below), cactus candles and Opuntias, and the Ocotillos; and Desert canyons with desert rose palm trees and the Washingtonia palm groves; as well as late Spring meadows of eschscholtzias and lupins;BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 10.01.29South Africa: The Fynbos of the Cape Peninsula , characterized by shrubs of the families of  Proteaceae (including King Protea, P. cynaroides), Ericaceae (heather) and Restionaceae (which resemble the rushes of the Mediterranean regions), underplanted with bulbs and rhizomes, such as Irises, Watsonias, Lilies and Amaryllis and shrubs like Carissa, Leonotis, Pelargoniums, and Polygala; and the Karoo, dominated by thorny acacias, aloes and succulents;BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.27.36Australia: The Mallee, dominated by eucalyptus, acacias (50 varieties), banksias, grevilleas, callistemons and melaleucas, as well as Kangaroo Paws, Anigozanthus; and the Kwongan, dominated by Black Boys;BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-08 14.30.02BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2016-04-13 13.45.35New Zealand: Wet humid subtropical forests of tree ferns, dwarf palms and phormiums;  and a dry grass prairie, surrounded by Manuka (teatree) and olearias;Blog PHGPT1 50%Reszdgrampians 4 122Subtropical Asia: the bamboo groves, Cycas revoluta, glycines and fig trees from China; The photo below is an Australian member of the cycad family, Macrozamia communis.BlogBush Harvest20%Reszd2015-03-08 12.49.32Arid America: Large rock garden of Mexican plants from arid regions: Agaves, yuccas and Pipi cactus;BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmarchapril 601Subtropical America: Plants of Northern Argentina and subtropical Mexico, characterized by palms, nolines (elephant foot – photo below), beaucarneas and erythrines, lantanas, salvias, duras, velvetleons, and hibiscus;BlogPrivSpec20%ReszdIMG_2258Chile: High Moor landscapes of Puyas, including the Puya, members of the Bromeliaceae family (pineapple), Zigzag Bamboos (Chusquea species), Monkey Puzzle trees Araucaria and  the 10 metre high thorny Cactus Quisco, Echinopsis chilensis, as well as meadows of alstroemerias and nasturtiums; Savannah Espinal, dominated by Acacia caven; and the cooler inland palm groves of honey palm, Jubaea chilensis. Here are my bromeliads:BlogReignroses20%ReszdIMG_2983Mediterranean: Contains local plants: the Cistus; Arbutus, pistachio, filaria, heather and laurel. See Cistus in the right-hand bottom corner of the photo below.BlogPrivCountry50%Reszdearly nov 2010 147Cist Collection of 35 species of Cistus, as well as hybrids;blogcottagegardenrosesreszd20img_9109Marine: Underwater plantings on the seabeds of the Baie du Figuier, including the seabed covered by sand or rock; the algal herbarium (posidonia); and deep water ; and

Local Marquis Scrub including cistus, brooms (photo below), terebinths and laurustinus.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1452Yvoire:  Labyrinthe of the Five Senses:  Jardin des Cinq Sens

Rue du Lac – 74 140 Yvoire
Haute-Savoie – France

https://www.jardin5sens.net/en/  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kq2JvXAhmI

I have always loved the notion of sensory gardens, so this famous garden, which has been cultivated the past 30 years and contains over 1300 types of plants, was definitely on my bucket list!

It was designed by Alain Richert and is situated in the former 0.25 ha walled potager of the 15th century Château d’Yvoire, one of France’s many beautiful villages, in the Haut-Savoie, overlooking Lake Geneva.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-25-09-54-55On the upper level near the entrance is an alpine meadow of fritillaries (photo above), violets, alpine tulips, jonquils, saxifrages, gentians and decorative grasses. Beyond the alpine rectangle is a geometric latticework (a tisage) composed of white rugosas Blanc Double de Coubert (photo below) and balls of silvery-blue wild oats.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0262On the upper side of the garden is an undergrowth garden, created to disguise ugly neighbouring walls and containing seven lime trees, Tilia x moltkei, underplanted with woodruff, soft ferns, Polystichum setiferum and Brunnera macrophylla.

On the other side of the tisage is a green cloister garden, with arches made of hornbeam columns and walls covered in honeysuckle. It is divided by low box hedges into 4 small gardens, containing medicinal and aromatic plants used in medieval times: Rue, santolina, thyme, rosemary, peppermint, chamomile, balm, salvia, savory, wild thyme and hyssop, all growing around a central granite bird pool. Here is a photo of Calendula, used in healing lotions for skin conditions and wounds.blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-28-13-45-45The Garden of the Five Senses is a few steps down from the Cloister Garden and is laid out like a labyrinth in the design of a medieval potager. It is composed of four rectangles (representing sight, taste, smell and touch) around a central aviary (representing sound). Each rectangle is surrounded by gravel paths and are divided by hedges of hornbeam, Carpinus betulus, interlaced with sweet peas and trellised apple trees.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-23-15-09-04The ‘Jardin du Goût’ is all edible plants: Strawberries, raspberries, black currants, blueberries, rhubarb, onions, lovage, angelica and celery, as well as orange trees with edible flowers and apple trees.blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-11-03-15The ‘Jardin de l’Odorat ou des Parfums’ includes alliums, honeysuckles, viburnums, lemon balm, tobacco plants, mahonias, a medlar, daphnes and roses, including Cardinal de Richelieu and Moss roses like William Lobb and Blanche Moreau.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0457The ‘Jardin des Textures’ contains fine and coarse leaved plants in tones of silver, gold and grey: Euphorbias, mahonias, inulas, bronze fennel, wormwood and meadow rue, Thalictrum aquilegifolium, acanthus, asphodels, salvias, hellebores, irises, lady’s mantle (photo below) and Aruncus sylvester.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-05-18-45-02In the ‘Jardin des Couleurs’ are variations of blue: Campanulas, primulas, Iris sibirica, violets, gentians, geraniums (Johnson’s Blue) and Meconopsis.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0048The sense of hearing is represented by a large bird aviary, built over a fountain and an ancient tank, and containing ducks, pheasants and turtle doves. There is also a smaller aviary, overgrown with Araujia sericofera, with doves, quails and other small birds.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0813Other plants in the garden include a Clematis montana grandiflora; a Rosa filipes Kiftsgate, Acanthus (photo below), a Syringa microphylla, Gaura lindheimeri, a persimmon and a Lagerstroemia indica.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0410Jardin des Herbes, La Garde Adhémar

Place de l’Église, 26700 La Garde-Adhémar, France

http://www.parcsetjardins.fr/rhone_alpes/drome/jardin_des_herbes-1234.html

I have also always loved herb gardens, so this garden, listed as a Jardin Remarquable in 2006, was very much on my radar! The Jardin des Herbes is a 3000 square metres terraced garden of a 12th century church at the foot of the ramparts of the village of La Garde-Adhémar.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 11.58.57Created by Danielle Arcucci in 1990, it has two levels, with 300 medicinal and aromatic herbs. On the upper level, 200 species of medicinal plants, which are still used in the pharmacopoeia of the 21st century, are arranged in a square and are identified and their uses and effects described with coloured labels. This is feverfew, used to treat headaches.BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-19 10.08.10The lower level contains a collection of aromatic plants including yarrows, lavenders, roses, salvias, geraniums, rosemary and thymes, arranged in a design of a sun (the centre filled with begonias and other annuals) and its rays, the beds delineated by box. It is a place of great tranquillity and beauty with lots of colours, tastes, textures and fragrance.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0425Herb gardens were also very much a part of monastery gardens, so I would also love to visit this next very inspiring venue, the medieval priory gardens at Orsan, 50 km south of Bourges :

Le Prieuré Notre Dame d’Orsan

18170 Butonnais, Berry, southern part of Loire Valley

http://janellemccullochlibraryofdesign.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/prieure-dorsan-garden-created-by.html

https://www.thegoodlifefrance.com/beautiful-gardens-of-france-prieure-dorsan/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzZ74BQ4HPw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_yqgZJHFMs

Begun in 1991 and opened to visitors in 1995, it was created by Patrick Taravella and Sonia Lesot, who bought the ruined monastery with 40 acres of land and stone and turreted buildings from the 12th and 17th centuries. With the help of Head Gardener, Gilles Guillot, they created a 5 ha garden , based on the art of gardening during pre-Renaissance times, and made up of a series of square and rectangular formal garden rooms, partially enclosed with hornbeam hedging with peepholes and doorways.

Gardens include:

Medicinal Herb Garden with four raised beds of 52 different medicinal plant varieties, labelled with both botanical Latin and French names;BlogAutumn colour20%ReszdIMG_0545Cloister Garden: Including four rectangular beds of Chenin blanc grapes surrounding a central square fountain; glazed urns containing clipped box bushes, and woven wooden seats, each sheltered by quince trees (photo below) trained into hood-shaped arbours;BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2016-04-15 15.41.46Two Formal Parterres of early food crops, including 3 old varieties of wheat, rye and fava bean; chards; leeks and cabbages;BlogChinasReszd20%IMG_0207The Mary Garden, a rose garden dedicated to the Virgin and inspired by the Songs of the Songs (Hortus Conclusus of Secret Garden) with two cloister-like enclosures: a square of pink ramblers (including Cécile Brunner (photo above)and Mme Caroline Testout), and a square of white roses (Aimée Vibert and Reines des Belges). The pink square has an arch of white standard Iceberg and Gruss an Aachen, while the white square has an arch of pink Cornelia (photo below) and The Fairy.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-03-10-04-21 The roses climb over the arches, arbours and tunnels that are constructed of the typical wooden poles. Madonna lilies also grow here as roses and lilies were virtually inseparable in medieval illustrated manuscripts and paintings. Other roses in the garden include Pierre de Ronsard, Mme Alfred Carrière, Albertine and Marguerite Hilling;BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 08.43.39Kitchen Garden with 24 inch raised beds of alternating layers of manure and  soil; supporting teppes and trellises; and a modern drip irrigation system. Here, they grow organic heirloom tomato cultivars, aromatic herbs, sweet peppers, carrots, salad vegetables and aubergines;BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 18.54.58Maze Garden, lined by walls of plum cordons: Greengage, Nancy and Saint Catherine. On each side of the paths are beds of pears, quinces, grapes, herbs and flowers like sweet peas, nasturtiums, cosmos and giant sunflowers. Rhubarb is encouraged upwards in bottomless cylindrical baskets woven from thick lengths of vine and clematis;BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 19.57.50BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2486Berry Avenue with espaliered gooseberries, grown on espalier fans; raspberries trained on wooden poles in V-shaped rows; black, red and white currants trained on diamond lattices; and blueberries, blackberries and strawberries;BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0681blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-13-18-47-54Orchard of three ancient pear trees and over 20 varieties of apples, planted in a quincuncial pattern, including Querine Florina, Patte de Loup, Drap d’Or, Belle of Boskoop, Short Hung Gray, Yellow, Big Locard, Judor, Reine des Reinettes, Reinette clochard, Reinette de Caux, Reinette fom Holland, Golden Reinette, Gray Reinette from Canada, and Starking;BlogEndofSpring20%Reszd2015-11-19 08.14.34BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-23 17.43.51Three Orchard Cloister : Three orchards of pear (planted concentrically with lavender beds on each corner and including pears: Duchesse d’Angoulême, Belle du Berry, André Desportes; sorbus and cherry trees (Marmotte, Burlat and Cœur de Pigeon); and aBlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_7074Wildflower Meadow and a Woodland with an outdoor sculpture gallery;

All the beautiful garden structures and furniture are made in the medieval way from home-grown saplings and the garden produce is used in the hotel restaurant or preserved for later use. Wheat is ground into flour to be made into bread and a white wine produced from the grapes. The Table d’Orsan restaurant is open from March to November (book in advance). The medlars below were a popular medieval fruit.BlogAutumn colour20%Reszd2016-04-15 15.39.40You can also tour the gardens or attend workshops of one to three days focused on themes such as creating wooden structures like the ones in the gardens. There is also a small shop with a comprehensive range of traditionally-made products for sale, including jams, chutneys, and fruit juices, all made with Orsan Gardens produce, as well as baskets, natural soaps, and a range of books on cuisine, gardening or fine arts.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0004As keen organic gardeners and environmentalists, we would also have to visit the French version of the Centre for Alternative Energy (http://www.cat.org.uk), Machynlleth, Powys, Wales, which we visited in 1994:

Centre Terre Vivant

Domaine de Raud – 38710 MENS

http://www.terrevivante.org/

A wonderful ecological education centre with an organic garden, orchard, apiary and wilderness, 1 hour south of Grenoble and 2 hours from Lyon. It began in 1994 to trial and showcase everything to do with alternative farming and ecological living, reporting the results back to the readers of its founding magazine, Les Quatre Saisons du Jardinage. The 50 ha property lies in a broad river valley at an altitude of 750 m, surrounded by forest and high mountains.

The mudbrick Blue House contains the administrative centre, a shop and a library, specialising in alternative lifestyles. Nearby is a restaurant, Table de Raud, and an energy centre; a composting centre; a playground; a wildflower meadow; a garden shed showing four different methods of construction using earth; an aromatic spiral; a school garden; a handicapped garden; a plant nursery; two orchards; a poultry house; a marequarium to observe pond life, lots of other small pools and an artesian well; a solar beehive and numerous vegetable plots.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0175Gilles Clément was invited to help plan the gardens eg the Water Walk and the Garden of the Five Elements, as well as a series of woodland clearing gardens. There are lots of different irregularly shaped potagers: a special garden for curcubits; the 100-square-metre exploit, based on plant associations recommended by Gertrud Franck; a garden for the preservation of endangered heirloom vegetables; a garden for little-known varieties, which should be used more widely eg violet carrots; Jerusalem artichoke; Swedes, blue potatoes; Italian broccoli rab, parsnips, kale, hyacinth beans; amaranths and red and green orachs. The beds are delineated by split logs, paths covered with home-shredded bark and wood chip and flowers used as companion plants.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1255The 200 square metre Family Garden contains vegetables; a flowering hedge; a cutting garden; a small fish pond; a shade tree with bird houses; an orchard; a herb plot; a compost corner with bins of nettle and comfrey tea; a wild flower strip to encourage bees; and a lawn for children to play.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1563The centre holds many conferences and workshops eg Traditional Dyeing with Anne Rigier, who rediscovered ancient methods for dyeing cloth with plant juices using lactofermentation, rather than boiling; Creating living buildings with willows; Permaculture; Organic gardening and cooking; Solar ovens; Crop roatation, pests and diseases; Seed saving; Composting and mulching; Worm farming; Making casein paints and homemade natural shampoos; Basketry; and Bee keeping.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%ReszdIMG_1764There is also an Open Day (with talks on pallet gardening, biodiversity, and organic flowers; a conference on ecology and biomimcry; music and kids’ entertainment; a photographic exhibition; and tours of the centre); Children’s Wednesdays (first three Wednesdays of August, involving gardening with kids, fishing, making seed bombs and natural play with large wooden games, tunnels and willow huts) and an event called The Great Lizard, with yoga workshops, outdoor Qi-Gong sessions, massages, a caravan sauna, siestas, icecreams, and music. In short, everything to promote relaxation!BlogEducationgardens25%Reszdoctober 2 135At the base of the web page are lots of recommendations with respect to the garden, home building and ecological living. There are also recipes, a climatic map; organic gardening and moon calendars; and articles on crafts in the garden (making nest boxes, garden tables, garden benches, chassis, dry stone walls, willow hurdles, compost bins and planters); encouraging birds and wildlife (pools, hedges, insect hotels, feeders, nest boxes and companion planting); keeping animals (best chook breeds; natural medicine for cats and dogs); permaculture and garden forests; water saving (rainwater tanks, mulching, water conservation) and pests and diseases.BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.13.27And now for my final garden, the private home of Nicole Arboireau:

Le Jardin de la Pomme Ambre

64 Impasse de l’Ancienne Route d’Italie – La Tour de Mare – 83600 Fréjus

http://www.lapommedambre.com/  and  http://jardinlapommedambre.blogspot.com.au/

An imaginative, intimate and eclectic 2000 square metre garden, developed since 1985 by owner, Nicole Arboireau, at the foot of the Esterel Massif. The steep block has been remodelled into a labyrinth of narrow curving terraces, supported by drystone walls and weathered railway sleepers.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-11 09.56.33The garden is managed organically with no chemical use, plenty of compost and a strong emphasis on recycling and the encouragement of biodiversity. It is a refuge for the League of the Protection of Birds and is home for lots of local wildlife from toads and frogs and  lizards, snakes and geckoes to squirrels, hedgehogs, badgers and many birds (including tits and wrens, magpies and jays, and owls), as well as a dog and 7 cats.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-28 19.23.45I love her use of old earthenware pots and ancient sewing machines, repurposing china crockery, like darkened casserole dishes for bird baths and tea-sets for cactus. She also grows plants in bicycle baskets and old clogs and has made an experimental dry garden from broken bricks, shells and clippings. She also likes to play with colour eg her Brazilian Terrace, based on fuchsia and orange tones.Blog Gardenwakesup20%ReszdIMG_0386The garden contains over 700 species. Nicole focuses on the conservation of the native flora of the Provence coast, as well as the heritage exotic plants of the old Belle Époque gardens of the Côte d’Azur. She also loves the cottage garden plants of her grandmother’s era, writing about them in her book: Jardins de Grand-mères, published in 2000.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-23-18-31-29Trees include: Cork oaks, a giant pepper tree, 13 types of acacia, eucalypts, Aleppo pines, tamarisks, oleanders, a persimmon, Arbutus unedo, palm trees and ficus, many of which support climbers like roses, bougainvillea, jasmines and wisteria.BlogPrivSpec50%Reszdmar 2010 008Shrubs include Viburnum tinus; Erica arborea and Medicago arborea; lilacs and ceanothus; japonicas and kerrias; cassias; beauty bush and spireas; and the roses bred by Nabonnand. Other roses include: American Pillar, Albéric Barbier, Rosa laevigata and Mermaid and R. indica major, used extensively in the Grasse perfume industry.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.28.16Other plants include: the local Cistus of the nearby maquis scrub; Acanthus; Helleborus niger and H. argutifolius; Ayssum maritimum and Bellis perennis; Rosmarinus officinalis; Mahonias; Solanums; Flowering salvias (photo above); Euphorbia myrsinites; Echiums and Euryops; and salad vegetables and herbs.BlogAutumn colour25%Reszdaprilmay 128All her plants have a history, having been given to her or rescued from old decaying gardens. I was interested to read that Scilla, a bulb common to the old gardens of the Riviera, used to be made into omelettes to poison rats! Nicole is a well-known garden historian, an intervenor at the Mediterranean School of Gardening in Grasse, and the President and founder of Friends of Mediterranean Parks and Gardens, as well as being the organizer of many local plant festivals.BlogPrivSpec20%Reszd2014-04-06 12.22.05You can stay at her Bed-and-Breakfast or visit her garden for the day to learn all about the history of gardens of the Côte d’Azur, as well as the floral  and perfume industries and the history of herbs. She also runs workshops:

Botany, Ecology and History: Using native plants or subtropical plants from other Mediterranean climates in the garden; and the plants of the Belle Époque;

Using Native Flora in the Kitchen: Making tisanes (the photo below shows peppermint cut and tied into bunches for drying for future peppermint tea!), elixirs and wines;

The Scented Home: Making floral scents; herb cushions; scent collars; pot pourri and pomanders; and bouquets and tussie mussies;

Propagation: Taking Cuttings and Seed Saving.BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-26 12.06.26My final bucket-list garden post next week is focusing on roses and because of its size, it is divided into three sections, to be posted on consecutive days: United Kingdom (Tuesday); France (Wednesday); and Italy and Germany (Thursday)!

 

 

11 thoughts on “Bucket List of French Gardens

    1. What a lovely place to visit on your honeymoon- an extra special memory! Giverny is also amazing, though very crowded, especially when bus tours arrive! My husband was so proud of his photography skills, as there is not one person shown in any of his photos of the garden! It is certainly a beautiful sight when the roses are in full bloom!!!

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  1. My mother just returned from France with her two sisters. She went to Versailles on this trip. It happens to be one of the gardens that I would be interested in seeing in France because citrus trees were so prominent there when the garden was originally designed with ‘orangeries’, the greenhouses built to accommodate the tubed citrus trees. (I grew citrus in the early 1990s.)

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    1. We visited Versailles on my first trip overseas in 1984, but I would love to revisit it, now that I know more about its history, as well as gardening! I would also love to visit the Petit Trianon, which we missed out on that visit. Like you, I love citrus and am delighted that we can grow them here in our current garden. Luckily, they are all recovering well after the severe frosts last Winter and I am sure they will be fine once they get a bit bigger. Our old cumquat trees certainly love the climate and are so productive! We adore our homemade Cumquat Jam- a bottle of pure sunshine and it tastes delicious!

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    1. I love quince trees too! Delicious fruit and such pretty blossom! Unfortunately, our small tree, which we purchased two years ago at an organic fair, has not yet flowered. Admittedly, it is not growing in the perfect situation of full sun, but rather dappled shade from a Pepperina tree, but quinces are tough and it certainly hasn’t had any detrimental effects on growth or foliage cover. We bought another lovely specimen, which had been grafted, for a friend and it flowered straight away, so I was wondering if our tree was not flowering because it was grown from seed and is on its own roots? And if so, how old will the tree be before it finally flowers? I have a similar non-flowering scenario with our Chimonanthus, which is also growing in the shade of a deciduous maple tree, a similarly pressing situation as I’m growing it specifically for its Winter fragrance! Do you know anything about them either? Looking forward to any thoughts and suggestions!

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      1. I am not familiar with chimonanthus. Quince should be able to bloom when only two years old. It may not be much to look at, but should bloom even when very small. However, because you commented on the bloom, I am wondering if your quince are the flowering quince, which are very different from the fruiting quince. Both produce good fruit, but the flowering quince fruit is smaller, softer and milder, and there are not as many of them. Fruiting quince has pink blushed white flowers that bloom along with the foliage.

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      2. No, it’s the fruiting quince, but I need the flowering for the fruit!!! We will see what it does next Spring!!! I also have three types of Flowering Quince, which I love- a beautiful clear red; an apple blossom pink-white combination and a pure white one, all growing very happily in dappled shade and flowering like mad in early Spring!

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  2. Fabulous posts. Such an enticing list of gardens just waiting to be visited and great photos. I’ve always hankered after a medlar, very handsome trees, but never had sufficient space left after I had squeezed in all the other ‘must have’ trees. My current garden boasts a four year old quince, it’s looking beautiful but no edible sized fruit yet, I’m hopeful for this year!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, it would be wonderful to visit them one day! I grew my one-and-only medlar back in our larger Armidale garden. Now that we are on a much smaller block, I get a bit frustrated with having to be so selective and occasionally yearn for that little bit of extra space for that extra tree too, even though I realize that larger gardens equate to more work! Has your quince flowered? I’m still waiting, but hopefully, it will flower next year! I just love eating cooked quinces, as opposed to medlars, which I definitely grew for their novelty value, history and attractive-looking blossom and fruit, rather than their taste!

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      1. It’s flowered beautifully the last two years but the fruit aborted, maybe the tree just too small. It’s growing into a nice shape though so I won’t start complaining yet. In my mind there is always space for a new plant but after I’ve trawled around the garden three times with a pot in my hand I realise i was mistaken!

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