Last spring I joined the Vendée garden group but an admin glitch meant I only received my first email on Thursday. Garden visits this Sunday so I packed up OH, a picnic lunch and my camera and off we went. First stop a country garden in Martinet and then a town garden in Aizenay.
The first garden is 1 hectare/2.5 acres and is owned by a couple of recently retired farmers - apple orchards and cattle - who developed a passion for plants which cope with their acidic soil. Seems to me they're more interested in acquisition than after care so I was itching to get out my secateurs, trusty hoe and a tree surgeon but they do have some interesting plants.
They started with shrubs and trees about 50 years ago and she has added perennials but banished annuals. It does have a lovely atmosphere. The flowering hedge is abelia and, apparently, once the pale petals fall the pink calyxes stay on till the February trim. It's gorgeous.
Second garden is a long, narrow town garden lanted in jungle style and filled with sculptures the owner makes from found metal objects. He also teaches these skill in Madagascar and Tanzania to help locals re-cycle and earn money.
I find such gardens claustrophobic and out of place in northern Europe but this one does have added interest.
More here - got to love the sculptures.