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Friends open five gardens for charity for second year

A multinational group of green-fingered friends will open their gardens on the first weekend of June to raise funds for Jardins et Santé, a charity which helps create therapeutic gardens in hospitals and care homes.

Last year, five gardens belonging to members of the Le Quintette association, in the Saône-et-Loire and the Rhône-Alpes, welcomed 980 visitors in two days and raised almost €5,000.

One of the association’s generous gardeners, Lyn Steven, said they decided to repeat the event as their experience last year surpassed all their expectations.

She said: “It was wonderful to share our passion and gardening experiences with our visitors. All the enthusiastic reactions we received spurred us on to open this year too.

“Our gardens are evolving spaces and there is always something new to see.

“Each garden is completely different, each with its own style and charm.

“Some have additional attractions, such as refreshments or a shop or local produce for sale.”

All the gardens are within an easy-to-travel 25km of each other.

At the Château de Vaulx, Saint-Julien de Civry, there is a tour of the gardens, which were designed by famous French garden designer Achille Duchêne.

“The current owners have created a superb potager and the views are spectacular.

The Jardin de Michemin, Prizy, is set out in a series of “rooms” designed to surprise the visitor.  The owner was a garden designer and lecturer who created what is now a mature garden from scratch. 

 Le Jardin de la Fontaine, next to the church in Saint-Julien de Civry, has been called “the garden of a thousand and one flowers” and is just that, with a wide-ranging and fascinating collection of plants, some of which visitors might well never have seen before.

At the Jardin du Manoir des Gays, Saint-Igny-de-Vers, you will admire topiary and structure in this formal garden in the French tradition with roses.

There is also a beautiful wisteria “tree” created from four trained and pruned plants. From the terrace and garden there are superb views over the Sornin valley.

The walled Secret Garden, La Clayette, is a haven of peace, with huge ancient trees including a ginkgo and weeping beech, paths, avenues of trees, a courtyard described by some as having an Italian feel, and abundant flowers and shrubs throughout.

The gardens are open on June 1 and 2 from 10h-18h. Entry is €5 per person per garden – or €20 for all five, while children under 12 can get in for free.

More details can be found on the group’s website, which also lists gardens in other parts of France open on different dates to raise money for the charity.

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