Gascony garden is French palm paradise

Autumn at Palmeraie du Sarthou
The palm tree paradise in Gers was created by Marie-Christine and Daniel Fort (below) in 1980

Jane Hanks visits the Palmeraie du Sarthou, where even in November the exotic arbres provide compelling viewing

There are fewer gardens to visit in November, but one which is well worth a visit and is open all November is the Palmeraie du Sarthou, close to Bétous in the Gers.

There you can discover exotic vegetation including palms, banana plants, bamboo, barbary figs, agaves, sugar cane, papyrus, lotus but also, in the same place the local plants of the Gers, including  wild orchids, three hundred year old oak trees, willows, and a conservation orchard planted with local varieties of fruit trees, mostly apples.

Marie-Christine et Daniel FORT Palmeraie du Sarthou
Marie-Christine and Daniel Fort

The first palms were planted in 1980 when a local couple, Marie-Christine and Daniel Fort bought a house with a garden. Daniel Fort was a trained horticulturist and he loved the palms he saw growing in the grand houses in Gascony.

He could not afford to buy a mature tree and so he collected seeds and through trial and error soon had a collection of young palms, which began to reseed themselves. He continued his day job, but at the ...

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