In the grounds of a small early 18th century chateau near Abbeville in the Somme, Catherine Guevenoux has created a series of beautiful gardens. She aquired the chateau in a very run-down state in 1989 and has worked tirelessly to redesign the gardens as they are seen today. She talks of how she was inspired by the gardens of her childhood and how she is particularly interested in colour, designing her planting schemes with a painterly eye. For her, the aesthetics of the garden are more important than creating a botanic collection. After welcoming us to the garden, as you can see above, Catherine went straight back thinning the persicaria in her borders.
The old walled potager garden is overlooked by the village church.
In the potager, a mix of cut flowers, fruits and vegetables were ready for harvest.
An example of Catherine Guevenoux’s attention to colour, the brick walls and traditional pink mortar are mirrored in the plantings of japonese anemones and rose-flushed Hydrangea quercifolia.
The cobblestone path which skirts the fountain garden.
Next to the old stables, the tightly clipped topiary contrasts with the billowing flowers and foliage of hydrangeas and other shrubs and perennials.
Two stone lions, almost smothered by hydrangeas and rodgersia, mark the divide between the main lawn and the woodland garden.
In the woodland garden, trees with ornamental bark emerge from a ground cover of ivy which in spring is carpeted with snowdrops, daffodils and cyclamen.
The woodland garden, seen through the gates of the original entrance gates, with its wide grassy avenue leading to the chateau.
Further from the house, the gardens become less formal. In Lucie’s orchard, paths are mown through the meadow.
The poultry garden is full of chickens, ducks, geese and a couple of rather vocal turkeys.
Around a horse paddock, a hawthorn hedge with stems trained into diamond shapes.
The old pigeonnier has been renovated and the walls painted a warm yellow. The surrounding garden mirrors these colours with warm red and yellow helianthemums and crocosmia.
Les Jardins de Maizicourt
80370, Maizicourt, France.
In 2014 the gardens are open from the 1st May to the 15th October, Monday to Friday from 2pm to 6pm. In June and September the gardens are also open the same hours at weekends. Adult entry is 11€ and children under 12 go free.
The gardens have their own website with further information in French – Les Jardins de Maizicourt
I’d like to add a little plug for Susan Worner tours who visit Maizicourt as part of an excellent tour of Normandy gardens. For information go to Susan Worner Tours.
Lynda Harris is a Landscape and Garden Designer based in Paris.