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Open Gardens: June in full bloom

The Anglo-French association Open Gardens is in full swing this month. The Connexion previews the season’s picks

June is a peak month for the numbers of gardens to visit all over France in the Open Gardens/Jardins Ouverts scheme which encourages gardeners of all nationalities to open up their gardens, big and small, to the public to raise funds for charity.

Visitors buy a €10 annual membership card which gives them access to any of the gardens for one year or pay €5 for a Day Pass which allows access to any of the gardens on the day of purchase.

In 2018 they were able to donate €25,000 to fifteen charities. There are 151 gardens signed up and the scheme is present in 35 departments. The aim this year is to have 200 gardens.  

In June, these gardens will be open close together in Indre.

Owner: Justine Hardy; Les Forges d’Abloux, Chazelet, Indre; Open: June 9 10-18.00

Justine Hardy’s garden (pictured left) began to reveal its secrets as she began to cut back two metre high brambles and bracken in 2011: “We found a secret garden with beautiful old walls which we realised were the remains of a forge.

It was in operation from the mid 17th to the mid 19th century and together with the higher forge in the village employed over 400 people.

It is hard to believe that our quiet garden was a hive of industry.”

Mrs Hardy says the garden is very natural with indigenous trees, climbing roses and wild flowers, with planting being focused on the terrace where they sit.

She says the site may be of interest to photographers in the way the light is reflected in the ruins and old waterways.


Owner: Richard Clarke; 6, Impasse du Moulin, Le Châtelier, Prissac, Indre; Open: June 9 10-18.00

Richard Clarke’s garden (main picture, above) is over one hectare and as well as magnificent roses on pergolas and ornamental grasses there is a collection of mature trees and newly planted specimens including maples.

There is a six-year-old wildlife meadow and Mr Clarke says they have spent the last few years making their garden as bee and other insect friendly as possible.

“This year we have introduced a new bee garden and planted two bee friendly patches of wildflowers as well as a bed with butterfly friendly plants. Our garden is dotted with different habitats for all types of wildlife; piles of logs, bee hotels and next boxes made from recycled

Tea and cakes will be on sale, with proceeds going to Open Gardens.

Mr Clarke is the local area coordinator and says there is a third garden in the area which will be open on June 9  belonging to David and Ann François in Argenton-sur-Creuse.

More Open Gardens in the Lot:

Owner: Sue Herring; Mas de Bouyé, Saint-Germain-du-Bel-Air, Lot; Open: June 2, 9 and 16, 10-18.00

Before Sue Herring moved here she visited lots of gardens in the UK and drew up a plan for her new French garden.

The front is more formal, divided by a serpentine herbaceous bed and roses. “We like colour,” she says, “so there are also annuals and perennials that I grow from seed.”

To the rear, the garden is bordered by an alley of mature trees. There is her Christo bed, “after famous gardener Christopher Lloyd, who loved clashing colours”, a Japanese influenced courtyard, a bed for plants which like dry conditions and two prairie beds for wild flowers.

In June the day lilies should be coming out and, of course, there will be the roses.


Owner: Bernadette Beduer; Mas de Niquet, Laborie, Saint-Germain-du-Bel-Air, Lot; Open June 16 10-19.00

There are a number of rose beds and flower beds and a large vegetable plot, as Mrs Beduer says she tries to be self-sufficient.

She also has a collection of orchids.


Owner: Cameron Field; Les Peyrières, Anglars-Juillac, Lot; Open: June 1 and 2 10-18.00

Cameron Field’s garden is set in vineyards and was begun in 2006, as a number of beds around a pond, where there are roses, perennials, grasses, aquatic and carnivorous plants.

There are five types of wisteria and Mr Field says the roses climbing up the front of the house should give a good wow factor at the beginning of June.

He says it is always a pleasure taking part in Open Gardens and he particularly enjoys talking to the children.

There will be plants and artwork on sale with proceeds going to the charity.


At Lassay-les-Châteaux, Mayenne there are two gardens open

Owner: Michel and Simone Paumard; Les Barries, Niort La Fontaine, Lassay-les-Châteaux, Mayenne; Open: June 9 10-18.00

This is a large garden with plenty of interest. There is an orchard, a vegetable garden, flower beds, a pond, beehives and in June blue, white and pink wisterias should be in full bloom, climbing amongst the pear trees in an old orchard.

When the couple bought their house it was part of a deserted hamlet with six empty dwellings and a neglected farm.

In the past 25 years they have planted several trees, including maple which thrive in the acid soil. Mr Paumard says there are unusual plants to discover for keen gardeners and that he has created his garden in his own style, somewhere between a French and an English style.


Owner: Avis and Peter Kidd Les Barries, Niort la Fontaine, Lassay-les-Châteaux, Mayenne; Open June 9 10-18.00

Avis Kidd describes her garden as one with a very relaxed English style with around 100 roses which should be in bloom, with many of them growing through trees.

There are more than 30 seats where visitors can sit and enjoy the flowers and the wildlife.

This year they have added a small pond to attract wildlife and there are also fish in their water butts, which are very efficient in getting rid of mosquito larvae.

There will also be an exhibition of wood sculptures, which Mrs Kidd likes to do in the winter, plants on sale and tea and cakes on offer, with proceeds going to Open Gardens.

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