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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sculptures and Garden (Sculptures et Jardin)

Sculptures et Jardin
One sunny day this summer we decided to visit some gardens in the Nord-Pas de Calais, a northern region of France.  We located a brochure we had picked up at a tourist informaton center somewhere in our travels and decided to visit the Sculptures et Jardin in the village of Bergueneuse.  We entered the address in our trusty GPS and we took off on another adventure.  We traveled about an hour though the French countryside and soon came to Bergueneuse, a village of about 200 inhabitants.   

After driving around a little we found the gate into the garden but it said they were closed for lunch from 12:00 until 2:00pm.  Of course, it was noon when we arrived so we drove on past and came to a dead-end road.   
Along this dead-end road were some houses with beautiful flower beds and boxes.   

We took photos of them and then drove back to the garden.   We decided to ring the bell and pretend we had not read the sign since it was in French.   

Sylvia pulled the rope on the bell and an elderly man, holding onto a young boarder collie, came and opened the gate and made us welcome in his halting English. It turned out the gardens were the beautiful yard around his home.   

He made us understand that he was the sculptor and his wife was the gardener.  She then joined him and with many smiles, and no English, invited us to walk around the garden.  The gardens are located around Monsier et Madame Droulez’s home, a typical cottage dating from the late eighteenth century.  

 Among the trees, shrubs and flower beds stuck in places are funny characters of steel straight out of the imagination of the artist owner. The planting beds are laid out in such a way as to create rooms or spaces that flow one into another as you circle about through the yard. The plants included many familiar ones; roses, peonies, garden phlox, etc. and others that were not so familiar.  

 As we walked about taking photos and looking at all the sights we were joined by Madame Droulez and she began pointing out some of the rarities in her garden.  

 She spoke very little English but we were able to converse through the Latin or botanical names of many of the plants.  While we may not have been familiar with some of the varieties, we did recognize the family names of many.   

She also pointed out a trellis that was made from an elevator (she called it a lift) door from an old hotel in Paris.  She was also very proud of her planters of many kinds of small succulents and ground covers. After spending an enjoyable couple of hours with this lovely couple in their garden we said our goodbyes and went on to our next adventure…

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