Les Jardins de Beauchamp, a garden in the South West of France

Mercredi 16 Août – visited the lovely Jardins de Beauchamp which has an associated garden centre called the Jardinerie Jay and both are found on the outskirts of Marmande, which is a largish town not far south of Duras, in the Lot et Garonne. 

Formally named the Jardins de Garonne, they were renamed the Jardins de Beauchamp in 2009 when the garden was given the award of  ‘Jardin Remarquable’.   Beauchamp is made up of various themed gardens in which water plays an important part. There is a large pond which has been inspired by the orient and is full of beautiful big yellow water lilies.  The Italian garden is made up of two separate long water rill with clipped box hedge on either side and tall cypruses trees.

The garden was newly planted in 2006 but is very well established and layerd out. It was designed by the son of the garden centre owner after finishing his horticultural qualifications. 

There is inspiration at every turn for the would be garden designer. From the unusual garden ornaments and large stone water features, to the pergolas and piegeioner. 
You enter the garden via the Jardinerie Jay. We didn’t look around this that thoroughly, however, it looked to have a very good selection of interesting plants. The gardens and garden centre are open all year round and so we will certainly be back in October to purchase some trees for ourlittlehouseinfrance. 

dans le jardin

I’m going to begin this gardening blog with a picture of a gorgeous pooch.  Aaawwwwwgghhh!!!!!!!!!!

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And now to the garden and the plants.

This Phormium, I brought from our home in the UK.  We have a large plant at the front of the house in the UK which came originally from a few leaves that appeared in my mother in laws, neighbours garden.  She wanted the large leaves digging out and I asked if I could have them, I hoped it would be a Phormium, and it was and is.  In the UK and now in France.

I’m still buying plants and I have the workers to plant them.  Tee hee, well grandma and Paul.  JOKING.  The garden was such a blank canvas and because we have to leave them before they are established, we’re willing each tree or shrub to survive and grow quickly and so fill the space.  Unfortunately, the soil is clay and close to the house it’s very wet and boggy and then when the rain stops, in the summer, it bakes solid.  So plants have to be very adaptive to these conditions to survive.  Still some plants really thrive.  So this trip we planted a white flowering Viburnum.  The bottom right picture is of a Wisteria that we purchased here in August last year.  So I wasn’t sure it would make the winter, but it has.

The top image is of a series of small box bushes that we have planted at the edge of our pebble garden.  These bushes were purchased from Lidl in Pineuilh for 1.60 Euros each,  I thought this was really good value.  They may not survive though, as it is so boggy in this part of the garden.  Fingers crossed.  I purchased a common Lilac tree from the plant stall at Duras market.  This is very small but has already started to flower.

I also purchased a Yew tree.  Birds love the berries.  The Red Robin was a cutting that I took from somewhere here in France, I can’t remember where exactly.

I want these gates.

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And I close with another picture of our lovely Bella.

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I wanted and got a pergola

How to build a Lery Merlin wooden pergola.

imageCollected with the Little Red Tractor. (See previous post)

First you need at least two people and the following tools/materials:

Spade, spirit level, rubber hammer, drill/screw driver, gardening gloves, step ladder, another item to stand on like a chair.  You will also need to purchase the French equivalent of post fix, which is sand and cement mixed together and the metal fixing which holds the wooden posts into the ground.  We chose the short metal fixings as we knew the ground would be too hard to dig a deep hole in.

Then you will need to think carefully about where to position it.  We already have a metal pergola at one side of the garden.  In the middle of the garden we have a row of vines and I initially thought that another pergola might look nice in the middle of the garden and I could train the grape vines over it. However, having placed the step ladder where the new pergola would be it was clear that this position would be right in the middle of our view across the country side from the house. Wrong position therefore.  Looking around the garden it became clear that some balance was needed and so we decided to position the new pergola on the opposite side of the garden to the other one.   Hey presto a balanced garden.

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Dig a square hole enough to sit the metal fixers in a central position. Use the rubber hammer and a screwing motion to set these firmly into the ground. Do this for the opposite side before putting in the post fix. Then use one of the wooden batons and a spirit level to make sure that the metal fixers are both level. Where we decided to place the pergola was not completely level ground and this is probably always going to be the case so you will need to  repeat this process when you come to dig the second two post holes.

imageThe post fix is set by pouring water over it. Don’t do this until you have all four posts in and are happy that the pergola is level.  It takes two people to fit the cross and top bars in.  It was quite straight forward really.  And we had an audience.  Bella and grandma.

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 Ta dah!!!!!

Not quite finished yet.  Still the planting to do, but you get the idea.