The first ever garden-visit expedition was made by Tostatenfleur last Saturday to the Jardin d’Entêoulet, just outside Lasseube-Propre in the Gers. We deserve a blue plaque to mark the occasion! Nearly 20 of us assembled there at 0930 to be given an excellent and very relaxed tour by the garden-maker, Mme Renée Boy-Faget. She has made an exceptional garden, and having the energy of an army herself, it has been a single-handed labour of love. The word ‘passion’ applies to Mme Boy-Faget. She is no shirker from hard work and physical labour, and is a walking advert for the benefits of spending her time creating the garden she wants. In terms of space, it is much much more garden than most of us would contemplate, more than 2 hectares of what were simply fields and farmland up until 2001. Her work achieved the accolade of being voted ‘Le Jardin Préféré des Français’ in 2014, fighting off 21 other gardens in France- and it was richly deserved.
She has and had a vision. She clearly has the ability and the ‘eye’ to look at a space, small or big, and see how it could be. So that is greatly to be admired. But, perhaps, even more impressive is the simplicity of much of her planting. She has blended easy-to-grow ordinary perennials which repeat through much of the garden with the occasional show-stopper, like the extraordinary Cotinus coggygria ‘Kanari’ that I have never seen before.
Her lovely collection of more than 280 rose varieties, many of them very unusual, are also accompanied by simple, repeat plantings of catmint, phlomis and sisyrinchium. Grasses are everywhere, much to my delight. Above is Rosa ‘Leontine Gervais’, which is very similar in colouring and tone to ‘Ghislaine de Feligonde’ but with much larger trusses of flowers from cream to warm apricot. Absolutely gorgeous.
Her planting style is relaxed, plants find their space- and she resists the urge to over-stuff or prune/trim, the feeling she creates is that the plants get the chance to do their own thing. Although she will cut back if she dislikes something or becomes too big for its boots- no messing there.
She clearly uses every single one of the many babies that your average Miscanthus produces in our climate here- and to great effect. I will definitely be going back for an autumn visit when the grasses will be flowering magnificently. I also really liked the sense of integration in the garden. It is a glorious whole, with different scenes, areas and colours, but the whole remains connected. To a great extent, the simplicity of the repeated plantings really helps with that, but also there is a flow through the garden that works even in the new plantings at the bottom of the slight hill.
No more words- here are some views and some plants that really caught my eye. If in the Gers, ring up and go. A really inspiring three hours.