The ornamental garden of the château de Villandry in the Loire. The tulips
– a blaze of colour between each topiary hedge – are nearly finished,
and will soon be replaced with summer plantings from the château’s
cold frames and greenhouses.
While visiting, we noted the names of plants, collecting ideas for our
more modest garden – there are many varieties I had never seen, on display
in the ‘sun garden’, on a terrace above the majestic water basins, fountains
Each Renaissance design is themed in the ‘love garden’: from tender to
passionate love, to fickle or tragic love. Many symbols of significance
are hidden in the intricate tapestry of formal squares, while fleur de
lys patterns line the moat – its waters filled with carp, and a solitary
The decorative Renaissance kitchen garden, influenced by monastic gardens
from the Middle Ages, combines Italian inspired flourishes, in the form of
fountains, arbours and square flower beds. Roses and alternating red and
green leafy vegetables add to its symmetry, creating a chequerboard effect.