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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.


More pics here -

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.


What did you think of the jungle art?


I think most of it works really well ... such things often leave me cold as they're too quirky, but I think these really fit into the jungle theme without making if look like a fairground


Some lovely trees in the farm garden.

The town garden leaves me cold. Plant forms and the sculptures are 'hard'.



Yes Joyce - some lovely trees and shrubs too but nearly all needing at least a tweak if not major surgery to remove broken limbs (lots of stormy winds there) or else their crowns lifting and thinning to help out the stuff underneath or just improve their form.

Dove - yes, it is hard feeling cos those palm leaves are very unforgiving and, whilst the sculptures were fun, they ended up being a bit samey.   That said, I'd happily make a space for the dragon on the roof and the giraffe and the elephant.

Last edited: 21 September 2017 12:06:07


On Friday, OH and I were invited for a private viewing of two nearby gardens belonging to garden club members.  They’re a very genial lot and keen to offer and swap cuttings, divisions and seeds.  I resisted asw e have no beds prepared yet because of the drought but, even so, I now have a golden form of pineapple sage and a cassia baby plus some seeds for an annual with beautiful blue flowers and white centres.

Too many pics to load individually so albums again - best viewed as a slideshow and with Adblock Plus installed (free) if you haven't already.

The first garden is full of interesting plants and huge roses climbing up into trees as well as shrub forms.  Much is new since she took it on 10 years ago but there are also plenty of old trees and shrubs and two rows of espaliered fruit needing some restorative pruning but still producing juicy, tasty fruits. 

The second garden is a bit bigger and has a productive potager with intriguing hats of chicken wire to keep pigeons off the salads.  He also builds and sculpts with wood and metal and wicker and has some ingenious planting tricks too.   Check out the tree house but also the lovely hummocks of box and Japanese maple and the foliage shapes and colours.


So many things to love in that last one - but the mosaic snake on the pebbles and the bug hotel with built in butterfly motif deserve a special mention ......genius 


Agree with Chicky re the second garden.  The acer with the moss (?) mounds the cloud pruning, superb tree house, wooden sculptures, the mosaic snake and the hanging ferns etc.


Fab isn't it?  The mosaic snake and tulips are her work.  Apparently another member gives classes on a Monday evening.  Will have to think about that.

He used to work in the plastics industry and made all those birds in the pond himself from his own resin mold and then resin and sand mix to get the birds.   Those big slabs between the two ponds are normally stepping stones across the water but the drought has left them high and dry.


Some lovely stuff here, Obelixx - thank you for taking time to post them.

I'm not sure if I was looking at a sculpture or a log store, but either way it was intriguing...


Just found this, thank you for posting the link from Garden Visits thread. But, yet again I can't see the Photobucket Photos. Full of ads, some time ago I tried the ad block, but it didn't work. But then Photobucket said I had to sign in, but I no longer have an account with them as they wanted to be paid and I declined. It took ages to get that far as Internet here is very poor.

I can see photos on this site, even if I have to wait a bit.


Here are a few then.  Pigeon defences - simple but effective

Snail made from a gourd and 2 small ones for its "ears"

Epiphyte ferns hanging in the fig tree

Insect hotel with butterfly motif

Tree house - he sleeps in tehre so he can listen to the birds at night and at dawn but not when the acorns are dropping!

One of the home-made arbours

Sylvia's serpent

The dry garden - especially useful in a drought year!


Horseshoe cat

Beautiful feathery conifer

Another insect hotel in "cactus" form

The ponds with home made resin and sand birds, water lilies and stepping stones between the 2 for normal water levels



Thank you Obelixx. Appreciated  They are very talented. Love the serpent.



Ah!  It's an insect hotel, not a log store or a sculpture...  


Maybe 2 out of the three Liri.   Their log pile is much more functional and hidden near the house.

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