It should come as little surprise really, but Normandy is a great destination for gardeners – with a milder climate than further south, the classic image is of lush green landscapes and a surprising collection of interesting and varied gardening schemes from classic very formal French to something more akin to the elusive English cottage garden. Within easy reach of Dieppe, Calais, Boulogne and Le Havre are numerous interesting “jardins” to visit, which will also get you into corners of France that you might otherwise have speeded past.
Le Jardin Plume (pictured above, is relatively new modern garden with some dramatic vistas and a wealth of interesting planting – enhanced by the fact that they also run an on-site nursery open to the public (from March to November).
Les Jardins du Bois des Moutiers is just down the coast from Dieppe in Varengeville and features a house built by Lutyens and gardens influenced by the distinguished English gardener, Gertrude Jekyll.
Le Clos du Coudray at Etaimpuis north of Rouen is both a formal garden with a rose garden surrounded by a less formal series of plantings and water features at Etaimpuis north of Rouen.
Les Jardins Agapanthe between Rouen and Dieppe at Grigneuseville (just a few kilometres from the Clos du Coudray (above)), it is the creation of a landscape architect and offers something quite different from the pure geometric lines of classic French gardens, “Agapanthe is set an unusual space, in which the luxuriance of the vegetation appeals to all the senses.”
Les Jardins de Bellevue at nearby Beaumont-le-Hareng
covers 15 acres on the edge of the Forêt d’Eawy. Beds, trees and shrubs are full of interest throughout the whole year. The gardens are particularly noted for two national collections of hellebores and meconopsis.
The Potager at Chateau de Bosmelet is a favourite kitchen garden in the grounds of a fine 17th century chateau at Auffay south of Dieppe.
Les Jardins de Vasterival are owned and designed by a Romanian Princess Sturdza who may be on hand to give you a guided tour of this woodland garden near the coast at Ste Marguerite-sur-Mer.
Chateau de Miromesnil is another fine chateau with a kitchen garden at Tourville-sur-Arques just south of Dieppe “Separated by alleys made of grass, the squares are ordered with vegetables and flowers that contrastswith the profusion of annual flowers on the sides: a fantastic harmony of delicate colours that vary according to the season.”
See our map of the Normandy Gardens
For more info on French Gardens try the Official French Gardens site at Le Comité des Parcs et Jardins de France