Last week, there were about 4 hours in total when it didn’t rain in stair-rods. Some villages really suffered with flooding, and our local pepinière, Bernard Lacrouts, was almost washed away by a wave of runoff water from local fields. It was wet. Biblically wet. Again.
But in those grey, but not wet hours, with the occasional glimpse of watery sunlight, we visited a garden near Gaussan, between Castelnau-Magnoac and Lannemezan. Les Jardins de Clogs was created by Adrienne Child, who, like us, moved to South West France from Scotland in 2004. She has cleverly thought about and responded to her garden site that sits to the side of her house. The site has beautiful mature trees and she has accentuated their planting with some very choice trees and shrubs of her own choosing. The garden weaves through the landscape, with her paths and interest points responding with great charm to the ups and downs, the twists and turns.
It is a very interesting use of the space- making the very best use of every small point of interest- Adrienne has a really good eye for what is around and she can make use of. She describes the garden areas as ‘English-style’, which is an important signal to the French gardener who would then understand that there will be billowing planting, there will be some disorder and freedom and probably not a straight line. But I would probably say that this garden is about how she is interested in space, in combinations and in creating an atmosphere- rather than being traditionally border-bound in the conventionally accepted English sense.
Importantly, this is not a pampered garden. Adrienne has chosen tough and beautiful plants and shrubs that can mostly take of themselves- and the established trees give a lot of dappled shade which will help with water conservation. She is also not afraid to repeat a plant that really loves the space- there are swathes of Bergenia that are quite fabulous, a sea of large, textured leaves that look great washing through the garden.
I have never been a fan of Heucheras. But I am converted. I loved the marmelade-apricot colouring with the plum in these two very pretty pots.
Adrienne also offers tea and a slice of cake so that you can relax and take in the atmosphere of the garden for a little longer. A lovely idea. I really miss that unbeatable combination of a Yellow Book garden with tea and cake- and she has re-created that right here in France.
She opens her garden from Wed- Saturday for a small entrance fee each week, with a break in the summer, all the details can be found on her website here. Treat yourself to an afternoon visit.