Home Improvement

finding my garden inspiration – MY FRENCH COUNTRY HOME

I’m always looking for garden inspiration. Like most gardeners, I never sit back and say ‘This is finished’, the creation is fun!

You may remember at the end of last year, I had the visit of garden designer Philippe Dubreuil. I love his garden in the Perche, it is a true garden inspiration for me. He came to lunch and kindly took a moment to wander around my garden, analyzing what we had going on, and giving me suggestions for improvement.

“You have to be more BOLD”, he said several times. I nodded vaguely, trying to envisage how this would play out… When you already think you’re doing your maximum, it’s hard to see what needs to be done to be BOLD. But like a tiny seed dropped into a flower pot, his words germinated in my head, and when he generously sent me a plan for the garden design, I immediately started to put his ideas into action.

Jardins de Cadiot, Dordogne

Over the winter we planted a dozen trees, and have created a new topiary parterre that will soon be partly bricked. And there is more to come. And the great thing is that in the garden, I am not alone.

A very tangible effect of the recent pandemic was that my husband started spending more time in our garden. To begin with, it was the kitchen garden, or the gardener that drew him in. The lure of growing our own food that spring and summer was irresistible and once he started he was hooked!

Jardins d’Erygnac, Dordogne

But since the pandemic, his interest has remained, and it’s fun to take decisions together on our plans for the garden. He is very good at creating spots for seating, that I don’t necessarily visualize. I’m better at deciding what to plant and where. We don’t always agree on design ideas but we talk it through. And this new common interest also means that visiting other gardens, and looking for garden inspiration is even more fun.

When I was in Dordogne on our Tour, I was fortunate to visit most of the great gardens in that region. Each one is astonishingly beautiful, and each with its own distinct personality. Of course, I could never aspire to a garden that looks like Eyrignac, or Marqueyssac, both of which require a big team of expert gardeners. But in every property there is always a detail, maybe small, that can be used here at home.

Jardins d’Erygnac

With some of those properties in mind, I have installed a couple of stone urns in one of my flower beds. For the moment they are on temporary brick pedestals, meaning that I can try out different positions in the garden until I’m happy they’re in the right place.

Gardening is a universal language, and it seems that gardeners around the world enjoy sharing. We love to learn from each other, we love to exchange cuttings and gift bunches of fresh blooms.

And I’d love to know how this works for you. Do you garden in your home? Where do you find your inspiration?