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Villandry and Chaumont


By AndrewR


Villandry and Chaumont are two chateaux in the Loire Valley in France which I visited recently. They both have famous gardens but notable for completely different reasons.

The chateau at Villandry dates from the sixteenth century but the garden we see today was created just over a hundred years ago. It is laid out on very formal lines (which was a style in France from earlier times) and is meant to be viewed from above – the chateau is on higher ground than it and also has a tower which gives the best views.

The most well-known part is the Vegetable Garden

but there is also the Love Garden

and the Water Garden

Further away from the chateau are two recent additions. The Moon Garden, with curving paths, is planted in shades of white, silver, blue, mauve and crimson

while the Sun Garden contains eight beds around a water feature and contains, red, orange and yellow flowers and brown grasses

Chaumont hosts a Garden Festival each year with gardens built in the spring and left to grow through until autumn. This year’s theme was ‘Colour’. I think they were all made by designers, not gardeners, so the plants were almost an afterthought.

There were red gardens

yellow gardens

blue gardens

and even a black garden

It is interesting to see different styles of gardens even if they are not to our taste.

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Great blog Andrew and I agree it is interesting to see different styles of garden. The seriously formal isn't what I'd want in our garden but within the context of a big chateaux it works.

20 Sep, 2009


what lovely places andrew, i bet it was lovely to walk round and take it all in, nice pics to :o), glad you enjoyed yourself

20 Sep, 2009


What wonderful gardens, wow !
I'd like to walk around those gardens and in these pictures you've brought a bit of it to me !

20 Sep, 2009


How Lucky are you?? I LONG to travel round France! (maybe next summer!) and the pics are amazing! Some of the 'designer'gardens dont seem to have worked very well, or is it just me? Liked the red one tho!

20 Sep, 2009


I can't decide if I love or hate the love garden! The others look good tho.Nice pictures Andrew.

20 Sep, 2009


I wonder how many staff they have there now and how many they had when the gardens were in their heyday. The recent additions look very Piet Oudolf inspired,

20 Sep, 2009


Thank you Andrew, I enjoyed that tour and I liked the more formal gardens the most and thats surprised even me! ! ! :~))

20 Sep, 2009


MP - most of the 'designer' gardens were very disappointing. I'm not sure how much plant knowledge the designers have and how much maintenance is done on the gardens (one had a lot of bindweed in it). I think the yellow garden works best for me. I spent a long time looking at the black garden and deciding how I would modify it if I were to have something like that it in my plot.

Wagger - I think there were about a dozen staff in the heyday and nine now. They are certainly very labour intensive but absolutely immaculate

20 Sep, 2009


Nice blog and photos.

20 Sep, 2009


Lovely blog Andrew, what I loved when I went to France was their balconies and patio gardens and up the side s of their houses with steps adorned with flowers and plants

20 Sep, 2009


I think the yellow garden would look better without all those flypaper sticks: green bamboo poles for dragonflies would take care of any bugs without detracting from the lovely purples and glaucous blues. If I wanted poles in a garden, I'd prefer something like the mile square Lightning Field by Walter De Maria in Quemado, NM with over 400 stainless steel 20 ft rods set in a grid to attract lightning! Formal but with a certain zap to it...

21 Sep, 2009



21 Sep, 2009


Great photos, as usual - what an interesting holiday you had, Andrew! I definitely prefer the moon garden - I'm afraid the designer ones are not at allto my taste. The formal ones are 'wow' in the context of the grand chateau!.

22 Sep, 2009


Cannot believe we missed these fantastic gardens, we were very close, were drove along the Loire last year.

6 Oct, 2009

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