Monday, June 2, 2014

A Sunday Drive

We thought we were heading out for a leisurely Sunday drive. Yesterday around 2,300 public and private gardens were open across France. Our plan was to mosey along and visit 4 or 5 of them within an hour of home. The loop I chose took us into the neighboring Charente Department. We had not explored here yet so all was going to be new and exciting. And exciting it was! 
(Again this week I hope you are pleasantly exhausted at the end of the photos. I try so hard to keep my post tight, but...)

Not even on the list of visits we tumbled upon this monster abandoned chateau, La Mercerie.

Next stop was an amazing garden created by a lovely couple. Even Tom said he was exhausted by their attention to detail. Yet he has plans to return this week to paint. The compositions were wonderful. Jardin de Christaline

Then we tumbled down into a hidden valley with strong flowing springs. The family has owned this property since 1643. The current owners great-grandfather still ran the flour mill. The mill was turned into a summer home in the 1920's and I wish I could show you the unchanged art deco interior. Moulin de Nanteuillet

We took time to recharge with a warm crepe and rose jelly. The owner of the mill came over to make sure we found it delicious and refined.

Now we climbed up to a perch overlooking golden farm fields. It was becoming obvious that these old gardens had one thing in common, water. All of the properties had several springs and enough water for the farm, home and then extra for the luxury of a garden. This private family home has fallen into the "a gentle plea for chaos" category. Jardins du logis de Chenard

The next gardens were nestled around the ruins of a 12th - 18th century Cistercian Abbey. Springs and a underground water system are the strength of this long inhabited valley. The grounds and the monks living quarters have been lovingly restored. Jardin de l'abbaye de Fontaine Vive

Finally -here is our last stop. Aptly named Jardin du Pere et de la Mere Cucu. "The garden of dad and mom a little bit crazy." And so it charmingly was!

I leave you with the Queen of the Compost. Happy gardening!


Lynn at Southern Fried French said...

Ok now you are making me wish we'd moved to the Dordogne instead. Wow!

KH Macomber said...

Love this post--all of it! More photos is fine by me, especially when you happen upon such wonders.

Particularly like the shot of Tom on the half shell.

Oh, I want a room with a stone floor and a vaulted ceiling, like that dining area.

I can just imagine the highlights you will take back to your gardens from what you saw on your adventure. What a great concept, the whole country garden tour! Cambridge had a library fundraiser of a secret gardens tour, and I plumb missed it. Dang!

xoKris M.