Contribute something productive you reprobate!!

The leading English language magazine. Now covering Poitou-Charentes, Dordogne, Vendée and Haute-Vienne too!

Living magazine distribution map

Truly remarkable - Jardins du Chaigne

Truly remarkable - Jardins du Chaigne

For beauty and a wonderful sense of calm and tranquility wander the paths of the award-winning Les Jardins du Chaigne...

 

Chaigne 1

When Philippe and Béatrice Marzano first visited the Les Jardins du Chaigne earlier this year they immediately fell deeply in love with it. The combination of sweeping vistas that took the eye across manicured lawns to the grape vines beyond but also secluded corners that enveloped the visitor in flowers completely seduced the couple who have been garden-lovers since they were young. ‘The gardens are absolutely superb,’ says Philippe. 'They are at the same time both grand and subtle.’ 

And so they bought it – as you do! Originally from the south of France, at the time they were living and working in Paris. Béatrice is a legal and financial consultant as well as a chartered accountant for international clients, while Philippe runs a renovation and decoration business. They still occasionally travel to the capital for work but the fiftysomething couple were looking for a more relaxed life and settled on the Charente for their new home. ‘We like it as it is peaceful and authentique,’ says Philippe.  


 

However, today it is the gardens that are showered with accolades. They weren’t developed until a century later, the previous owners beginning work on them in 2003. Six years later the Ministry of Culture and Communication awarded the garden the status of ‘Jardin remarquable’.

And they are quite beautiful. Divided into sections, in front of the house and perfectly complementing it, is the French garden, the graphic shapes of the box hedging and topiary softened by swathes of lavender, roses of pale pink and creamy white and the gentle mauve of agapanthus, their tall stalks swaying in the breeze.

Chaigne 3

Following on seamlessly is the Verger- Potager. Here there are 25 fruit trees as well as four raised vegetable plots each of which sits within borders of worn grey stone, this symmetry echoing the earlier garden. Planted in the plots are a mix of old varieties of vegetables, fruit such as strawberries, and herbs. In the centre of the Verger-Potager is a large round stone basin of water which attracts turtle-doves as well as many other birds.

In the water garden, stone rills zigzag across the lawn and as with the French garden, mass plantings of lavender and roses counter the straight lines as do six more contemporary urns created by artists Serge Bottagisio and Agnès Decoux from the Gers, who have also been commissioned by Cleve West as part of his gold medal winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.

 


 

For Philippe and Béatrice this first summer has been one of excitement and anticipation as they have watched the garden bloom before them. 'In the spring there were narcissus and many other bulbs in flower,' says Philippe. 'Then came the roses and then lavender which will last throughout the summer, as well as the agapanthus. In August the asters will start.' So what can visitors expect to see in the garden over the coming months? ‘We will develop the garden with small touches,’ says Philippe. ‘And we have brought with us plants that we have grown with love and care over the years, both when we lived near Paris and also in the south-east of France.’

These include hostas and a 300-strong collection of cacti which will be the basis of a dry garden. Now that really will be something different.

Chaigne 5

Access

Les Jardins de Chaigne are in Touzac between Châteauneuf and Barbezieux in the Charente. They are open from March 15-October 31, between 10am-12.30pm and 2pm-6.30pm every day except Wednesdays and Thursday mornings. For those who would like to discover the peace and tranquillity of the gardens early in the day or simply want a lovely place to stay, the house offers comfortable but stylish chambre d’hôtes.

For more information on the garden and to make reservations to stay, see the website or tel 05 45 62 33 92; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


View Larger Map

 

Originally published in Living Poitou-Charentes magazine in August 2011
WORDS: RACHEL LOOS   PHOTOS: PHILIPPE PERDEREAU

 

Philippe Perdereau has photographed gardens all over the world. For more information see www.philippeperdereau.com