Playfulness at Potager Colbert: an old coffee pot and stove among the dahlias

Potager Colbert: rebirth of a lost kitchen garden

Potager Colbert: vista down the central slate rill
Potager Colbert: vista down the central slate rill

When a digger nearly fell over the high retaining wall overlooking the overgrown dell just down from the main front garden, the new owners of Chateau Colbert realised there could be more to the long, unkempt site on the western side of the estate.

Mickael Vincent, head gardener at the Potager Colbert, who is taking me around the garden on a bright morning in late August, says earlier plans showed there had been a kitchen garden here, but that before that incident in 2012, there were few signs left of its former glory.

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Last days of autumn in the Japanese garden

View over the lake in Maulevrier's Japanese gardens
View over the lake in Maulevrier’s Japanese gardens

March 2019 – In less than a month, it will be hanami, cherry-blossom time, at Europe’s largest Japanese garden. My last visit to the oriental park at Maulévrier, near Cholet, in France’s Anjou region, dates back to mid-November, on the last day of their autumn season. In the woodland, the nearly bare branches of deciduous trees are holding on to the last gasps of fieriness.  Continue reading “Last days of autumn in the Japanese garden”

A cabinet of curiosity for the people

Joseph Denais museum: the cabinet of curiosity that survived the passage of time
Joseph Denais museum: the cabinet of curiosity that survived the passage of time

Beaufort-en-Vallée, September 2016 — Beaufort’s Joseph Denais museum, in western France’s Anjou, is a survivor. Built in 1905, it has the proud resplendence of a turn-of-the century post-industrial-revolution institution whose ambition was to enlighten the local community.  These days, with its collection of stuffed animals, Egyptian sarcophagi, Japanese porcelain and impressionist paintings, it has the charming incongruity of a life-size cabinet of curiosity that has miraculously made it into the 21st century.   Continue reading “A cabinet of curiosity for the people”