Secret gardens of the Loire: La Chatonnière

Secret gardens of the Loire: La Chatonnière

The pick of the Loire

Hidden in a secluded valley crowned by 18 acres of wild flowers and sweeping views across the Forest of Chinon and the River Indre, the 12 remarkable gardens of La Chatonnière are a carefully guarded secret. The owner, Béatrice de Andia and her award-winning head gardener, Ahmed Azéroual, have combined their skills to realise their vision: a series of enchanting terraced gardens open to the public. Like a jewelled necklace adorning a pretty woman’s neck, they dazzle and enchant all those who see them. So come and admire the beauty of the designs, the colours of the leaf-shaped vegetable garden, the patterns of the entwined willow woven pergolas and the heady perfume of 5,000 roses. Follow the path and discover the gardens which will take you on a journey of self-discovery….

12 gardens to enjoy

It’s the diversity of the twelve gardens that make La Chatonnière so special. First is the Garden of Abundance, a highly original vegetable garden created in the shape of a rose leaf with segments and planted with cabbages, onions, aubergines, tomatoes, celery and red chard.

The Garden of Intelligence is a clever knot garden with four main beds in geometrical box patterns, brought to life by the vivid blues of calamint and campanulas or soft pinks of geraniums and sedums. As for the Garden of Science, a medicinal herb garden, it is a sweet-smelling chessboard planted with rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon, mint, fennel, marjoram and more…

The Garden of Romance is a series of intimate interconnecting ‘love chambers’ made from woven willow domes, adorned with scented roses. Hidden away, in the inner lawn, is a yew labyrinth.Then, there is the Garden of Luxuriance. This rose garden is planted exclusively with 400 delicately perfumed elegant English Roses from the famous English rose-grower David Austin.

In contrast, the Garden of France is comprised of six hectares of poppies, cornflowers and daisies in vivid red, blue and white colours reflecting the French flag.

The Garden of Fragrance features a long rose covered walk atop a mound of fl ame-coloured roses, while in the inner courtyard, at the heart of the castle, is the Garden of Silence. Its elegant lawn is contained within a boxwood hedge, protecting the royal urns in the centre. Meanwhile, the Garden of Delights comprises a series of stone benches in alcoves planted with lavender, which overlook the gardens, while the castle’s formal garden is known as the Vale of Elegance. It has an icehouse, labyrinths and flower beds which change according to the seasons: tulips in spring, dahlias in summer and cyclamen in autumn.

The Garden of Dance is a delicate lace-like design of narcissi and daffodils which also come to life in early spring, whereas the Garden of the Senses is an English garden planted with multi-coloured perennials.

The final garden is the Theatre of Impertinence, the last garden. It was created in 2013 as an outdoor amphitheatre built of terracotta tiles and grass steps, leading down from one of the towers with sweeping views across the surrounding gardens and the fields beyond.

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