Print Posted By Lost in France on 7 Nov 2010 in Travel to France - France Travel Guides

Parks and gardens in Normandy

In Normandy, the water, the light, the colours, the gentle landscapes and the rich heritage all lend themselves perfectly to the gardener's art. Every new garden is a source of wonder.

Conservational kitchen garden at Château Beaumesnil, Eure

Château BeaumesnilA bold project is underway at the foot of the spectacular Château de Beaumesnil. With a view to preserving culinary heritage, a conservational kitchen garden has been created. Open to the public, the garden contains over 500 varieties of ancient vegetables, including unusual varieties like devil's ear lettuce and rainbow corn. This is coupled with market garden production and the sale of organic vegetable boxes. Visitors can participate in workshops on vegetable growing and in September the 1001 Vegetables Festival is held.

Hanging gardens, Le Havre, Seine-Maritime

Perched on the cliffs high above the Seine Bay, the 19th- century Fort de Sainte-Adresse has been granted a second life as the city's hanging gardens. The four bastions of the fortress are dedicated to displaying rare plants from across the globe discovered by both famous and contemporary botanist explorers. Giant greenhouses in the central courtyard contain collections of unusual plants whilst trial gardens allow the Le Havre gardeners to experiment with new plant types to eventually be planted in the gardens and flowerbeds of the city.

Jardin Plume, Azouville-sur-Ry, Seine-Maritime

Jardin PlumeCreated in 1997 by Sylvie and Patrick Quibel, the Jardin Plume is a stunning contemporary garden combining structure and nature set in a typical Norman orchard. The garden includes huge plantations of grasses and perennials as well as a central square pond, seasonal gardens and a vegetable garden. In 2008, the Jardin Plume was announced winner of Gardens Illustrated garden of the year in association with the Garden Museum.

Jardin d'Argences, La Manche

Jardin d'ArgencesThe 17th century Manoir d'Argences is surrounded by nine superb gardens each with their own distinct atmosphere thanks to the choice of plants; from herbaceous borders and topiary, to formal rose gardens and woodland walks. These gardens are also noted for their dramatic water features incorporating ponds, fountains and waterfalls and for their installations of natural materials winning them the 1999 Prix Bonpland and in 2004 an HSBC national prize.

Roseraie du Château de Miserey, Eure

Chateau de MisereyInspired by Dante, Miserey is a symbolic garden representing the promises of the after-life: heaven and hell. Under the watchful eye of the serpent - a boxwood surrounded by poppies and marigolds - the cross-shaped garden showcases a collection of rare plants from across Europe. Hell is composed of everything that stings and scratches: plants that irritate the skin; thorn-covered brambles; prickly bushes; pepper plants and hogweed. Purgatory is a simple alley of yews and apple-scented roses. Finally, heaven opens out with its sweet-smelling thornless roses and pure, white flowers.

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