October 2016 / octobre 2016

A visit to the English Garden Centre and a garden in Châteauneuf-de-Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes

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About twenty MGF members enjoyed a visit to The English Garden Centre in Opio, a nursery which, as well as selling plants, has specialised in garden landscaping for 25 years.

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Their emphasis is on a style of garden design that concentrates on leaf colour and plant shape and likes to make use of clipped and shaped specimen trees and bushes. They are not keen on the use of hedges, although one of their Hidcote-like garden rooms is bounded by espaliered lime trees. The accent is not on colour, indeed, rather than focussing on flowers, they like to place well-chosen, highly decorative (but expensive) pieces of sculpture or garden furniture as points of attraction. Their demonstration gardens show off a variety of sculptures including some bright green apples and beautiful garden benches, some sculpted in one piece out of large pieces of driftwood.

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Green apple
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Driftwood bench

The importance of considering the special aspects of the site and its position in the landscape was stressed and that the objective must be to create harmony between the style of the garden and that of the house.

In the afternoon, we visited a most successful garden recently created by the company in Châteauneuf-de-Grasse. Here the special feature was the spectacular view, unobstructed by high trees or shrubs.

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A pretty rock garden
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…with Erigeron karvinskianus

Extensive use of Pittosporum sp. gave shape to the beds around the house and a green framework for the long-flowering Rosa mutabilis chinensis, plumbago, white yucca and Erigeron karvinskianus. A plant pot introduced a splash of bright blue.

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Thank you to Peter for the warm welcome.

Text and photographs: Rosemary Halford

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