A Seaside Kitchen Garden with Raised Beds

I happened upon this lovely seaside garden in the village of Roscanvel. The plants and flowers in the raised beds are all carefully labeled. The beds are arranged in a grid pattern with grapevines and apple trees growing along the back wall.  When the vegetables in a raised bed have been harvested, wildflowers are planted as cover crops. The ocean view of course is beautiful!

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Nantes “Jardin des Plantes” Part 2: Art at the Botanical Gardens

My first post on the Jardin des Plantes in Nantes was about the hothouses and scientific garden, this one focuses on the  art installations and statues.

Art ranges from classic to modern with planted “totems” and an installation by Claude Ponti.  Also dotting the park are other features, some quirky, such as a  bird house, wavy benches, or a lookout point with a frame for photo taking.

Not only are the planting stunning, but this garden offers unexpected and delightful surprises at every turn.

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A Narrow Orchard Garden Overlooking the Ocean

If I had visited this garden somewhere in the countryside, I would merely have thought it was a pretty garden like many others. What makes this one truly exceptional is its location on the coast of Roscanvel in Bittany. It is on a narrow stretch of land overlooking the ocean and the edge of the garden plunges straight down below to the water.

Some of the plantings include apple and pear trees, a hedge of fuschias (a variety common to this coastal region which is winter hardy there and will grow over six feet tall), blue agapanthus, and oleander. Box hedges on the ocean side open to narrow stairs leading down to the water. Just imagine puttering around the garden in such a setting!

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Fuschia hedge
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Stairs lead down to the water
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Oleander
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Agapanthus, oleander

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Xeriscape Oceanfront Garden in Northern Brittany

This truly exceptional garden was created in the small village of Roscanvel, in Brittany, overlooking the ocean. It is terraced to accommodate a hilly lot and also affords some protection from the sea spray and wind, and of course winter storms that are commonplace in the region.

A variety of hardy and low maintenance shrubs and evergreens add visual interest with different shapes and foliage colors. A few flowering shrubs and perennials such as pink oleander or lambs ear add touches of color. The grey foliage of the lambs ear by the garden remains when they are finished blooming.

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Lambs ear and purple ice plant
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Amazing ocean view
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Hebe in bloom
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Mixed shrubs
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Various shapes add interest

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A French Wash House and Cottage Garden in Roscanvel

I came across this lovely cottage garden and old stone wash house or “lavoir” in French in Roscanvel, a small village on the coast of Brittany (I will be posting about other gardens in this area of the coast as well).

This is an example of a very simple wash house with a stone fountain going into a wash basin for women to do their laundry. Similar ones can be found all over French villages.

Note the extremely tall viperine, which in Brittany can grow well over 10 ft tall for some species. The valeriane growing on the side of a wall thrives in the poorest conditions and will not live as long in a garden border and richer soil.

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Viperine
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Back of fountain
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Roses in mixed border
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Valeriane

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Nantes “Jardin des Plantes” Part 1: The Scientific Garden

The Botanical Gardens (Jardin de Plantes) in Nantes have been awarded the title of “Jardin Remarquable” (garden of exception), and are also one of the four largest in France. They showcase 10,000 species/varieties, 800square meters of hot houses, and over 50,000 flowers are planted each year.

The collections have grown over the past 150 years, and are renowned worldwide, for camellias in particular.  The Jardin the Plantes also strives to protect and reintroduce rare plants.

A portion of the Gardens is dedicated to the green houses as well as a showcase for organizing, labeling, and experimenting with many species of plants.

Several greenhouses, both humid and dry, house tropical plants.  There is also a conservatory style café and a welcome center.

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A lawn arae is divided up to showcase individual flowering plants, all of which are labeled and referenced, lantanas, Buenos aires verbena, geraniums, begonias,  etc

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Another area features a meliferous “butterfly” garden, to foster pollination in the gardens.

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Other plants are grown in various grid combinations and organized by species (ferns,  grasses …)

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Raised beds include herbal and edible plants, as well as new varieties of grapevines being developed for wine growing.

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The edge of the scientific garden features espaliered trees and vines such as this kiwi vine (actinidia)

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Suce sur Erdre: Two Gardens With Vine Covered Arbors

Both gardens in Suce sur Erdre, a small town in southern Brittany, France, are designed around a long alley with an arbor, leading from the gate to the house. Wisteria is only starting to cover the  first one towards the house, while the second is covered from one end to the other in grapevines. Both arbors are made of metal, treated to withstand the humidity and rain prevalent in  Brittany, particularly over the winter.

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Note the crepe myrtles in full bloom framing the arbor towards the front gate, above, and the acanthus growing on the side of the arbor featured below.

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