Maybe it’s the approach of Spring, maybe it’s Valentine’s day, maybe its our focus on all things green this week but this morning we found ourselves thinking about holidays and gardens. When you’re seeking solace from your battle with rampant knottweed or the ravenous raccoons that ate my Florida based rhubarb, nothing beats a trip to someone else’s garden. We’ve already written about our favourite Chaumont Festival and we promise a Modenus at Large report later in the year, but for now we wanted to share a little about the less well known gardens of the Languedoc and a tiny plug for Hidden Gardens – Hidden France, a company with the raison d’etre to show you around these lovely places and on whose web site we have based this post.
Languedoc stretches from the Rhone to the Garonne and HGHF, if we may reduce them to an acronym, tell us that includes great stretches of dramatic landscape and river gorges from the Cévennes mountains to the Montagne Noire and the Corbières hills, unforgettably romantic Cathar castles, some superb ecclesiastical architecture, Roman remains, medieval towns, the Canal du Midi and, of course, the vineyards where emphasis on quality has resulted in many prize-winning vintages. And, of course one or two gardens.
This is the fortified city of Carcassonne overlooking the lush countryside of the Languedoc and the distant Pyrenees Mountains. We promise you a blog about our favourite castles (and yes, we know this isn’t a castle) very soon. More pictures of the region, and the occasional plant follow.
I know this as Sea Holly, botanists call it ‘Eryngium bourgatii’. Its a European native found on beaches and other coastal areas. A bit of a toughie it may even survive the raccoons.
Passion flower, of course, this one ‘Passiflora Caerulea X Rubra’, a hardy perennial that seems happy in partial shade and thrives just about anywhere.
The Lenten Rose or ‘Helleborus orientalis’, which is not, of course, a rose. But it is something that flowers round now in Europe (January / February). One of those plants which carry a promise of Spring. All of the above can be found in the Languedoc gardens.
Now I confess to making the school boy error of introducing bamboo into a small bed in a garden from which it promptly not only invaded the rest of my back yard but also to colonise the neighbours little patches of paradise. No such problem here, this is the bamboo-lined entrance to the Bambouseraie at Anduze.
Around two thousand years old, The Pont du Gard is a Roman aqueduct built to take water to the people of Nimes. So when you need a break from admiring the wonders of nature you can marvel at what us humans manage to build. And no, there is nothing wrong with a break at Easter and then again in the summer.