Meet the green-fingered gardeners behind the scenes of some of Brittany’s most beautiful gardens that are highlighted for one week in June. Some of the spaces can only be seen during this three-day window. In total Brittany has 113 gardens, some of which have been awarded special status by the French authorities.
Blooming load of species
An exotic plantation of more than 3,000 species awaits visitors to the Exotic Garden in Roscoff, Finistere. Many of the plants are able to thrive in Brittany’s climate, which is warmer thanks to the hot currents that make up the Gulf Stream that runs along the coast and up towards the United Kingdom. Alongside waterfalls, rock gardens and plants live tortoises.
Generations of the La Salle family have kept this garden, which is hidden on an island off the coast of Roscoff, in memory of Georges De La Salle who loved plants. The avid botanist even went so far as to grow palm trees, which thrive in the northwest coast of France’s warm climate. The garden on the Ile de Batz is worth the trip by boat when it opens in April, if only for its historical value was it was created more than 100 years ago.
A-mazing dahlias help educate
Disabled people use the Broceliande Gardens in Le Pommeret, Ille et Vilaine, as therapy and there is a centre for community use set in the grounds, which explains why it is usually only for private viewing. However, during the rendez-vous in the gardens, visitors can take in the Irises and unusual dahlia maze, which was a new attraction in 2008 to help educate and stimulate users’ senses.
Castle gardens are English and French
Contrast the regimented English garden with the French in the castle grounds also in Ille et Vilaine in Montmarin. Holidaymakers that can afford to stay for a month after the rendez-vous in the gardens in June could see artist exhibit in the colourful grounds in July. Gardens descend in terraces to the river Rance. Visit the park, gardens and castle after April to avoid disappointment.
Chance to cast an eye over a collection
Head to La Gacilly in Morbihan to look at the Yves Rocher Botanical Garden. This garden is devoted to more than 1,000 species set out in different areas in conjunction with the French Natural History Museum. Visitors to the garden during the three-day rendez-vous period may be able to get their hands dirty in what promises to be a very special event.
Top 3 Hotels in Brittany:
- Brit Hotel Le Transat from € 61/£ 53/$ 82
- Hotel Du Louvre from € 64/£ 56/$ 86
- Hotel Le Castel from € 70/£ 61/$ 94
Photo of Chateau de Pommorio, Brittany by chakchouka