Friday, June 10, 2011

A week in the Loire 3: Glorious gardens

Sometimes it is difficult to separate chateaux from their gardens. In the case of Villandry we went only for the gardens. For the garden of La Chationnier that is all they allow anyway.

Villandry is a very formal setting with several distinct gardens. On our last visit a lot of the seasonal gardens had recently been replanted. This time we got then at their best. We had a beautiful day for it weatherwise, as well.

Probably the most well known parts are the Vegetable Garden where different vegetables are used to fill the geometric patterns, all interspersed with standard roses and bordered with espaliered fruit trees. Who ever knew that a bed of red lettuce could look so good or that spiky artichokes look so decorative.

V-vegegarden1_edited-1Vegetable Garden and standard roses
The Ornamental Garden
Hedges and lavender
Vegetable garden with artichokes and lettuce
The Water garden
The Herb Garden (the herbs are in semi-circles off the path)

Some of the flowers here were stunning in themselves

Roses on a bower
Lavender spikes
Paeony in the Sun Garden
Massive poppy

The gardens at La Chationniere tended to have more emphasis on the less formal gardens. Again, they were divided into “rooms” with the leaf shaped garden being most like the kitchen garden at Villandry, using vegetables to fill the spaces in low box hedge enclosures. There were banks of roses, often in floribunda types which changed colour as they aged, maybe from gold to apricot to cream, and a stunning “Lovers Walk” an osier framework on which climbing roses grew. You could walk through the archways and tunnels created to little private spaces.

The osier walk from the inside. Osiers are willow cuttings interwoven, but they strike and grow a green fence or trellis
Leaf Garden with rose bank and topped by the Rose Walk
The Garden of France, a field of poppies and cornflowers
chat-purplerose_edited-1Unusual purple roses
Huge clematis
Roses over the osier made the Lovers Garden walk
View from the rose walk down on the Leaf Garden
Roses overhang a door in the Garden of the Senses
Through the Garden of Sciences (herbs)


And my favourite picture, the Garden of the Senses against the wall of the chateau. Photo made with three vertical shots stitched together

Next blog entry: Some of the coastline and fishing villages of Brittany

1 comment: