If you have ever travelled through a village France and noticed a group of people having a heated discussion looking at balls on a dirt patch, you have seen petanque. It is a very simple game where each player has three metal balls and tries to throw them as closely as possible to the small wooden one called the “cochonnet”. It is usually played in teams, and while the rules are simple, the unevenness of the terrain must be taken into account, and there is skill involved in trying to hit the opponents ball to get it out of the way for example.
This small petanque terrain in Brittany couldn’t want for a more idyllic location, right on the water and surrounded with a small park!
This garden lies behind the house on a hill up from the waterfront. It has the feel of a tropical retreat with lush banana trees and bamboos offering a lush backdrop for the many perennials such as hydrangeas or roses found in so many Britttany gardens.
Camaret is a small fishing village on the northern coast of Brittany, France, where a mild microclimate in this coastal region allows for an unusually large number of plants to thrive in local gardens.
It is impossible to pass this garden without stopping to admire the extravagant display of annuals, perennials, flowering and foliage shrubs, specimen plants, climbing roses, shrub roses, potted arrangements and water features.
A charming couple owns this house on the northern coast of France, and both are avid gardeners, changing and adding every year new plants, annuals from seed, and cuttings collected from fellow gardeners or just found during walks around the peninsula. They are in the process of redoing the vegetable garden in the back, but part of the front garden is dedicated to a home orchard of fruit trees, apples in several varieties, pears, and plums. Specimen shrubs and palms are underplanted with perennials, and roses are mixed into borders at every turn, or found climbing the walls.
Listed among France’s “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (most beautiful villages), Le Faou in Brittany puts out a display of stunning plantings and borders of shrub roses, cannas, silk trees, and many other shrubs and perennials. The mixed borders have the feel of a tropical garden.
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.
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.
Water features dot the park.
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.
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.
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.
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!