Sunday, June 26, 2011

Potager of the queens

Yesterday we visited the chateau at Chenonceau...a gorgeous fairytale castle set in the most fantastical of grounds right upon the river Cher.  Perhaps it is so beautiful because many women influenced its construction over the centuries.  It traces back to the 11th century, but the castle as it stands today really took off from King Charles XVIII of France and his wife Catherine Brinconnet who had great influence over its design.  1547, King Henry II of France presented the chateau to his mistress (best mistress gift ever!) Diane de Poitiers.   In the castle rooms there are initials C and H carved into the mantels although Kind Henry II also carved one of Ds as an act of love for his mistress Diane.  What a lady, she was 20 years his senior.  Catherine de Medici later forced Diane out after King Henry II's death.  This became Catherine's favourite castle and it was at this castle that her son Francis II married Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1560.  Now I'm hazy on the dates and hope they are right from what I remember of the talking guide, but loving history it was quite amazing to stand quietly in the bedrooms of this chateau.  I could feel the ghosts pressing in around me, so many of them, the worn floors and slight grooves in the wall corners where ladies must have trailed their fingers time after time whilst coming around a corner.

Anyway, I digress!  This is a gardening blog after all, not one about history!

The potager or kitchen garden was fantastic, I'm so inspired!  Have a look:


Espaliered apple trees border all of the vegetable beds and they are laden with fruit...
Such neat rows of healthy unusual variety vegetables - not a bug in sight, makes me wonder if they must spray although there were plenty of ladybirds and dragonflies about.  Interspersed with the rows of vegetables were beautifully fragrant flowers and plenty of bees - lavender, jasmine, rose...

 The farmhouse



The jasmine arbours smell so heavenly!


The ornamental gardens were gorgeous too but I spent most of my time wandering around the potager
 The potting greenhouses (several) were chock full of yummy greens

I really loved our visit to Chenonceau.  But you know, where were the chickens??

On our way to our new lodgings (the farmhouse not having warm water nor even water that runs at all, bug infestation from the river, a state of unclean that had the children in allergies and a heater that would not turn off - in Summer it's way too hot for that! so we left) we passed through several gorgeous villages.  I'll show you pics of the new digs later.
 Gorgeous Montresor - one of my favourites



 We had a lovely late afternoon visit in Amboise




 Fields of poppies and sunflowers...

I could live in France - easily.  


  1. Soaking up every detail... the gardens, the food, the gorgeous streets. Looks like you are discovering lots of wonderful things! gxo

  2. Ah! The french adventures take a new twist!Love all of the photos.

  3. I am so envious of those beautiful vegetable gardens! But I wonder how many staff are employed for it to look so beautiful. Loved the history!

  4. Mmmm, yes, I am thinking I could love living in France too. Thanks for all the beautiful photos.

  5. Me too! You are going to have such wonderful photo albums when you get back!!

  6. Wonderful pics as usual, thanks for sharing, I loved the potager as well.

  7. I would spend more time in the potager as well rather than the formal unedible garden;-). Nice trip!

  8. I am so enjoying our holiday! Thanks for taking us with you.

  9. We love the history lesson and the photos. In England, if you have not already, you must go to Hampton Court where Henry Viii lived and kept wives. There you will see the lovely gardens and grape vine hundreds of years old. Keep posting your holiday. Every wonderful detail. We love it--those of us stuck in the Colorado Flat Lands.

  10. Thanks, loved the photos of the gardens in particular. Very inspiring.

  11. Oh for acreage...or grounds (sounds grander). And minions to help me look after said grounds.

  12. I'm so glad you're all coming with me on this holiday! :) The gardens are so lovely, why don't we see more vegie gardens in Melbourne? I'm inspired!!


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