Visit the Jardins de Castillon
Winner of third place for the "Best Park in France 2005 prize" and this year winner of 'Garden of the Year 2009' with the Association of Garden and Horticultural Journalists. It is certainly my favourite garden in France and one of my top five gardens anywhere. It really is superb, make sure you don't miss it.
Les Jardins de Castillon were largely designed by Colette and Hubert Sainte-Beuve. The gardens, which cover about one hectare were first opened in 1985.
Situated in lower Normandy, near Bayeux there are a selection of different kinds of gardens linked by long alleys.
On entering the garden you are first struck by a magnificent verdent green. The first part of the garden is a series of formerly laid out gardens but the planting adds a pleasing informality to the gardens. Low hedging is used to make the formal patterns. The first garden is filled with masses of grasses, acers, euphorbias, geraniums and lots more.
The garden then descends into another garden and here the green is lightened with lots of silver and purple and a beautiful variagated tree in each corner.
Down again to another garden this time with a pond and hostas astilbes and a beautiful variagated grass which I plan to buy as soon as possible -Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'. This is a variagated grass which you can see in the picture below. It forms beautiful golden clumps which are wonderful as a contrast to dark leaved box or to brighten a dark corner.
The garden continues with many more 'garden rooms'. There is a blue garden, a hemerocallis (day lillies) garden, an oriental garden and much more.
I think my favourite is the long 'English border' but this may just be because you don't see so many of these in France!
Throughout the garden the planting is incredibly well thought out with no empty spaces or sections lacking in interest. This garden really is an inspiration.
There is a good garden centre here too and so you can buy many of the plants that will have inspired you during your visit
Jardins de Castillon Garden Guide:
The Gardens of Castillon are open the first of May to 12 October from 14h00-17h00 from Tuesday to Saturday. In June and July it is also open Sunday from 14.30 to 17.00. A visit costs 7 euros for adults and 4 euros for over 4s.
The garden is situated south of Bayeux, home to the famous Bayeux tapestries.
Les Jardins de Castillon-Plantbessin
Tel: 02 31 92 56 03