Landscaped Orchard Garden and arbor near the sea

Much like the Normandy region, Brittany, France is known for its apples. Countless varieties are grown in every garden of Brittany. This garden divided a small orchard from a vegetable garden area with a rustic wood arbor covered in vines. There is also a row of espaliered fruit trees hedging the side of the property.

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Brittany Garden and Pumpkin patch

Tis September and the season for pumpkins and assorted squashes that absolutely thrive in Brittany, France, and few vegetable gardens fail to have a patch of pumpkins spilling over. This one also has some rows of trellised tomatoes approaching the end of the growing season. Flowering shrubs hedges and a “flowered” wall covered in blooming groundcovers enclose the garden.

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A Picture perfect kitchen garden in northern France

The elderly couple who owns the house tends this kitchen garden or “potager” as the French call it almost year round. Come September, a cover crop is coming out to replace the potatoes in the center patch, and fall vegetables such as leeks, pumpkin and artichokes still fill the garden. The marigolds at the end of the rows repel certain garden pests from the vegetables.

On the other side of the house, a row of kiwi vines, some over 30 years old, are trellised along the wall, and a garden bench offers a peaceful place to rest for a moment.

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Row of trellised kiwis

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Kiwis (Actinidia)

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Mixed shrubs hedges

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Nantes “Jardin des Plantes” Part 3: the Botanical Gardens

My first post on the Jardin des Plantes in Nantes was about the hothouses and scientific garden, the second one was on the art and statuary, this one focuses on the theme gardens and plantings.

Meandering through the park, from the scientific garden, I first came across the shade garden, ferns and hostas surrounded by an amazing variety of evergreen shrubs and trees.

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The theme garden “the Mountain” is inspired by 19th century gardens such as Kew garden in England, and was installed in 1847 by the then director of the Jardin des Plantes. A labyrinth of plantings guides a circular ascension to the top and a lookout point to the Loire river.

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Water features dot the park.

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Thousand of annuals, perennials and shrubs create lush borders year round. Photos below show just a small sampling and include gunnera, pennisetum, gingko, silk tree, hydrangea borders and mixed borders throughout the park.

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Gingko Biloba

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Japanese grass

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Silk tree

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Gunnera

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Ornamental grasses

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Pennisetum and annuals

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Hydrangea hedge

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Gunnera

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Fairytale Cottage Rose Garden in France

Climbing roses and purple clematis cover the arch at the entrance to this stone cottage straight out of a fairy tale in a small fishing village of northern Brittany, France. More climbing roses cover the front of the house, although they have finished blooming for the summer, and yet more roses, old fashioned knockout roses,  cover the hedge. Hydrangeas flourish in the shade of the side wall.

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The photos above were taken in August. The ones below were taken in September when the roses were reblooming in a stunning display of color!

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Roscanvel, Brittany Garden with Outdoor Fireplace

This is a very traditional French country cottage garden with such features as climbing roses trellised over the hedge, hydrangea borders, mixed perennial borders, a collection of potted floral arrangements throughout the garden, and a brick outdoor fireplace.

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French Wash House Basin Converted into Aquatic Garden

As already mentioned in one of my previous posts, every French village had one or more communal wash houses, many of them just a fountain filling a basin to wash clothes in.

This one on the edge of the village of Roscanvel has been converted into a lovely aquatic garden basin with papyrus and other aquatic plants, and assorting plantings of ferns, erigeron … around it.

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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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