As I have just recently spent some time in France, I thought I’d share with you my impressions and photos of some of the fabulous gardens I had the opportunity to visit.
The gardens I visited are situated in the Perigord Region about 2 hours east of Bordeaux. The Dordogne River meanders gracefully through this beautiful region rich in history both pre-historic and medieval.
The garden of EYRIGNAC Manor is one of the few truly French gardens that exist today. This formal garden was opened to the public in 1987 and is an amazing testament to the art of topiary. What impressed me most is that all the pruning, trimming and lawn edging is done entirely by hand using tools and skills mostly absent these days in garden maintenance.
The Hanging Gardens of MARQUESSAC are quite different. Designed for walking, the garden overlooks the entire Dordogne Valley from its chalky cliffs. The late eighteenth century Chateaux sits comfortably within the more intimate part of the garden which can best be described as a ‘Folly of Boxwoods’!
Boxwoods (Buxus sempervirens) are omnipresent, used in their wild natural shape within the park and pruned to free flowing round organic shapes and hedges within the more formal gardens. The flowing shapes conceived over years of pruning are truly amazing!
And last but not least there were the gardens of Chateaux LOSSE. This elegant Chateaux dates back to the 15th and 16th century, it is a great example of Renaissance architecture. I just loved the oak parquetry floors and enormous but elegant carved stone fireplaces! The renaissance style gardens are of a very different kind again. Formal but intimate and very pretty. Divided into large walled gardens, a welcoming forecourt, dove cotes and a shaded bath house (back in the days when having a bath was something exceptional not to be taken lightly!), it ticked all the boxes.
With all this inspiration, we are all set to go and design some more fabulous gardens for you!