A cheat, since I haven’t left my post code even recently, but I’ve definitely enjoyed looking back at some of the gardens visited in the autumn of 2017 across the Perigord and Dordogne – and this was the highlight, the gardens at Eryignac. The sun was shining and since the topiary and design were more important than ephemeral floral displays (save a pocket of Dahlias), I hope I can get away with reposting this a month earlier than the actual visit (which was at the beginning of October).
And I hope a respite and salve to those folk who haven’t been able to travel much further than the corner shop – or to have enjoyed a staycation at the very most – and certainly not to have curtailed their French holidays in a mad dash back to the UK to beat fresh quarantine rules.
Well, you get the idea and I do feel justified in travelling down these roads again and have rekindled fond memories of that trip. I hope it might inspire you, some future day, to search out these gardens too.
A late summer – nearly autumnal – tour of Bordeaux and the hinterland heading past Bergerac into the Dordogne. I’d been last there in 1991, zipping around in an electric blue Peugeot 205 GTI (and one sold recently, not the same special edition even, for £38,000. Not bitter, not a jot). This time around, in a Peugeot 208, a return tour of the Dordogne and some of the gardens therein.
Les Jardins at Eryignac were undoubtedly the stars, by some margin. In between eating our body weights in cheese and quaffing les bouteilles de vin (Rosé, to begin with, though the temperatures fell so le vin rouge became preferable) we managed quite a few gardens but none compared to this.
Les Jardins Panoramiques de Limeuil had a confluence of two rivers to preside over – the Vézère and the Dordogne, but was essentially a viewpoint – likewise the Hanging Gardens of Marqueyssac. A superb rocky plateau with admittedly stunning views – and a topiary garden that was rather beautiful but which represented 5% of the whole (and it wasn’t, à la Clive Nichols, a misty 5am morning, or strafed with late evening sun, so the impact was muted even so …)
Eyrignac had formality, playfulness, wit, views, imaginative planting – wild, formal, floral, classic, inventive and so much that I would at some time like to recreate. So many ideas to hoard and reimagine in an English setting, at some future, unspecified point in time. See the Ivy pergola, or the arches of Cedrus deodora Pendula in the Cottage Garden – the topiary apples – and topiary animals. The classic white garden with the frog fountain!
Find out more at www. eyrignac.com
Visit, if you can ….