Andrew DaviesMy challenge, the acceptance, and the Jardin du Bois du Puits

In May this year I contacted my friend and colleague Catherine Stewart with a challenge: find me a garden to visit in the middle of France I said. Or, more precisely,

‘We are catching ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg
Then drive to a rented house near St Malo
Then cross country heading for brother’s place in Monceaux-au-Perch
Via probably Domfront, Alençon that sort of direction.
It’s worth a good red!! I will owe you one’

A lovely drive through the Normandy countryside

A lovely drive through the Normandy countryside

True to her investigative journalist skills, she came back with three possibilities: La Petite Rochelle 50km east of Alençon, Jardin d’Elle between Cherbourg and St Malo and,

“Jardin Du Bois Du Puits looks nice. Opening: From May 1 to September 30, Friday / Saturday / Sunday and holidays from 13:30 to 18:30 Other days by appointment tel: 06.07.64.18.82.

And I’d like a shiraz”

Location Jardin du Bois du Puits

The beautiful entrance of Jardin du Bois du Puits

Some weeks later the family and I found ourselves on a lovely drive through the French countryside, heading down a country lane looking for this garden. As we got closer the more excited I became, as I realised this was an exception – without tourists, long queues, a steep entry fee and formalised to a ‘buxus T’.

We soon arrived to a beautiful entrance way, clearly a big part of the French countryside, in the middle of fields and daily farming activities. Soon we were greeted by a lovely Frenchman, Jean-Pierre Jacob who is the retired nurseryman behind this new 4.5 hectare garden (opened 2014) which focusses on botanical biodiversity.

One of the restful view in Jardin du Bois du Puits

One of the restful view in Jardin du Bois du Puits

Our sheer passion for plants and horticulture enabled us to communicate and appreciate the gardens despite my lack of French language skills. What followed was a fabulous garden laid out on acreage in countryside property, boasting water management, sustainable practices and even a harvesting toilet in the centre of the gardens.

Herbaceous border Jardin du Bois du Puits

Herbaceous border Jardin du Bois du Puits

There are also many sculptural elements, well-tended herbaceous borders, vistas, focal points and shady avenues.

Contemporary sculpture compliments the landscape in the Jardin du Bois du Puits

Contemporary sculpture compliments the landscape in the Jardin du Bois du Puits

Jardins du Bois du Puits 10

My new found friend, presented me a wonderful manual detailing each plant in the garden, clearly labelled in both Latin (perfect for a travelling horticulturist) and local names for the enjoyment of all.

Guide to Jardin du Bois du Puits

Guide to Jardin du Bois du Puits

Plan of Jardin Botanique du Bois du Puits

Plan of Jardin Botanique du Bois du Puits

There are areas of special plant collections, such as magnolia, hydrangea, liquidambar, oak and beech as well as separate gardens like the Zen Garden, Mirror garden, Mediterranean garden, Roman garden, ‘Wind and Stars’ and the intriguingly named ‘Jardin Coquin’ or the Naughty Garden.

One of my favourites, spectacular hydrangea

One of my favourites, spectacular hydrangea

The Roman Garden, Jardin du Bois du Puits

The Roman Garden, Jardin du Bois du Puits

It was a super hot and sunny day when we visited and the large shade trees provided welcome relief from the heat. It’s well worth getting ‘lost’ in the Normandy countryside just to find this serene place.

Many restful and shaded spots, to hide from the French summer heat Jardin du Bois du Puits

Many restful and shaded spots, to hide from the French summer heat Jardin du Bois du Puits

Constant reminders of the larger countryside via interesting views and outlooks

Constant reminders of the larger countryside via interesting views and outlooks

A very non-smelly, comfortable, composting toilet that works a treat!

A very non-smelly, comfortable, composting toilet that works a treat!

I love these things! A great source of conversation and amusement for all ages. A little bug factory, hard at work.

I love these things! A great source of conversation and amusement for all ages. A little bug factory, hard at work.

There’s even a yurt where you can stay and be completely at home in nature to your heart’s content.

Yurt accommodation in the Jardin du Bois du Puits

Yurt accommodation in the Jardin du Bois du Puits

And yes, Catherine got her bottle of shiraz…and this blog post!

Le Bois du Puits, 61130 Sérigny, France

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Andrew Davies

About Andrew Davies

Andrew Davies is a creative person with a vast experience in the landscape industry. He has won awards for several industry and show garden events. Andrew has extensive knowledge of horticulture, construction and the council documentation process. With a background in graphic design combined with years of experience in building and managing landscape projects Andrew is able to offer many creative ideas to his clients. Banksia Design Group.

4 thoughts on “My challenge, the acceptance, and the Jardin du Bois du Puits

  1. Mark Vowles on said:

    No doubt the “little bug factory” and Jardin were the inspiration for that wonderful 5 minute short on ABC TV in the evenings, “Minuscule”.

  2. Zoé on said:

    Andrew, charmed by the garden, will visit, but where is it? Map gives no clue, no village name: help please. The exact location, village, etc would be much appreciated! Thanks, Zoé

    • Haha Zoé, don’t ask Andrew, ask me! Jardin du Bois du Puits is in Lower Normandy just east of the village if Sérigny. The address is at the very bottom of the post. It’s about 1km down along a country road that’s a right turn off the D955. The road doesn’t seem to have a name, just a small sign that says ‘Grand Fontaine/Petit Fontaine/La Vignerie’. The turn-off is about 300m past the roundabout intersection with the D920 (which has a Peugeot dealer on the corner), and 1km east of the village of Sérigny. Sérigny is about 8km east of Alencon.

  3. Really enjoyed reading this, thanks Andrew. Thank goodness for latin names!

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