a very French garden – les jardins agapanthe

by Sharon Santoni
[blank]Here is a wonderful address to bookmark for the next time you are in Normandy.  A garden that is definitely worth the detour.  Les jardins Agapanthe, home and showroom to a very talented landscape designer, Alexandre Thomas;   a garden to drool over from April to October.[blank]
[blank]One of the houses in the garden … love those oeil de boeuf windows on the roof …[blank]
[blank]box bushes and vintage garden furniture are to be found at every turn…[blank]

[blank]I asked Alexandre about his use of coarse sand all through the garden.  Visually it is very calming and peaceful, but I wondered how it interfered with any planting.

Turns out his soil is quite heavy so he simply plants where he needs to, then recovers the ground with the sand to make it look tidy, and to stop his visitors having muddy feet![blank]

[blank] all the right accessories 🙂 ………..[blank]
and if you go in the spring or summer, you get to see many other flowers that I didn’t see out this time, including of course the wonderful Agapanthus, that give the garden its name.

and finally if you want to know more, and can’t get to visit straight away, you’ll love this book, published recently and packed full of wonderful pictures.



Stacey Snacks October 22, 2012 - 3:59 pm

Henry would love this garden….I love the ox eye windows on top too!

A Normandy kitchen October 22, 2012 - 4:03 pm

Great address, thank you. Something to do on a slow Sunday and we can take our puppy!!

I Dream Of October 22, 2012 - 4:17 pm

What a lovely garden to wander through. A jaunt through Normandy is definitely high on my "must" list for our next visit to France. I love the perfect scrolling garden chairs and the sweet French bulldog! XO

French Girl in Seattle October 22, 2012 - 4:21 pm

Bonjour Sharon. I never visited this beautiful garden during my Normandy travels, dommage… Loved all the "accessoires," including the cute French bulldog. Bonne semaine! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

GLENDA CHILDERS October 22, 2012 - 4:37 pm

Such a beautiful treat, this early Monday morning. Merci.

Laurel Leaf Cottage October 22, 2012 - 4:40 pm

Gorgeous! I would love to spend a few hours meandering through those gardens!!!! =) Deanna

Kristie Franklin October 22, 2012 - 4:43 pm

Beautiful garden! It's such a nice treat to stroll through a garden on Monday morning. I like the idea of the course sand instead of stones or rocks for a pathway. 🙂

Lori E October 22, 2012 - 5:10 pm

Looks like there is a lot to see. A slow, meandering visit would be in order. I would bet it is pretty any time of year.

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone October 22, 2012 - 5:54 pm

Absolutely beautiful! From the house to the plantings to the furnishings, I love it all. Thanks for the introduction, Sharon. This is definitely on my list, book and future tour ~ merci! Loi

cindy October 22, 2012 - 6:30 pm

Thank you for sharing this pretty place, very special and worth remembering!

Corrine October 22, 2012 - 6:57 pm

My one trip thru Normandy was on a tour bus. Now that I keep seeing how much I have missed I know I need to come back. This is the garden of my dreams. Could it be transplanted?

Blondie's Journal October 22, 2012 - 8:33 pm

This is absolutely beautiful, Sharon! What a talented man he is. I love the tip on using sand for the walkways.


CÉLINE CHOLLET October 22, 2012 - 8:40 pm

Ça donne envie d'aller visiter la Normandie….
Merci pour tout ce que tu nous montres !

a breath of fresh air October 22, 2012 - 10:21 pm

oh my what gardens, well and truely blogger drooled….you have taken some pictures of my favourite garden plants too, 2 of which the scottinsh climate lets me grow anemone and verbena bonaranis, I LOVE agapanthus but they dont love the highland weather 🙁 thanks for sharing.
Annie x

Cotton Peony October 22, 2012 - 10:36 pm

ooo' la la.. now that's my dream garden too! I adore those tiny white flowing flowers. .happen to catch their name? And yes! Agapanthus are the hit for the day. I'm searching for 'Headbourne Hybrids’ here in North Carolina, can't wait to scatter them all over the side gardens and see what comes up next year!

Thanks for such a great tour and of course a pooch mooch too.

Cotton Peony

Faux Fuchsia October 22, 2012 - 11:02 pm

my aggies are sending out stalks now. I shoved some unfurled white ones into a vase on the weekend. Apparently they are almost a weed in some areas.

Vicki October 23, 2012 - 4:28 am

Oh, wow, is this my kind of garden. I love to tour gardens.

Agapanthus is very prevalent where I live in Southern California, U.S. It sort of goes with the many varieties of palm, as everything sways in unison with the sea breeze. Although the purple is most common, my last home had two giant plantings taller than I, with white plumage; they were so striking. In the moonlight, they would almost appear as tall torches guiding our way to the rear orchard with its hillside-covered wall of magenta bougainvillea. (The previous owner was a clever landscape architect.) My father had it in his head that agapanthus was named "Lady of the Nile." (I've even heard it referred to as "Lily of the Nile.")

Anyway, I love the way a well-planned, not necessarily formal garden, can lend a surprise at every turn. (Aren't the bistro chairs inviting in this French garden you've showcased!) It can be an urn here, a fountain there, maybe 'round this corner to find a statue or bust perched on a ledge or, ooh, a lovely garden bench, maybe a small pond, a little gate or a table set aside for one (or two!). The Getty Museum in Los Angeles is vast, but the original site, which I believe still houses ancient Greek and Roman art, was in Malibu and remains my all-time favorite. The gardens were quite intimate and restful, with arbors and pergolas, growing lettuces or herbs. I haven't traveled there since it was renovated; I hope the villa is unchanged. It has beautiful ocean views, clinging to its bluff above the Pacific Coast Highway.

In the '70s, the singer Barbra Streisand had four or five homes on a large acreage in a canyon of the Malibu mountains, all of which was eventually given to a Conservancy. I did visit this compound years after she'd left. It was very interesting…she had one house devoted to Art Deco design, another one which was whimsical/storybook (little gnarled treehouse/cottage in the deep forest, kind of Snow White fairytale feel). There was a terraced Italian garden/small orchard which I thought was reminiscent of those I've seen featured (in photos) at exquisite, vintage estates on Lake Como. But I'm getting off subject…

Thank you for sharing such a perfect place today! The agapanthus is so well-tended; groomed (mine at home isn't, and it's suffered terribly in recent heat/drought although they're typically, in my experience, very hardy plants in a Mediterranean…maybe we've become ARID…climate). Something new for me is to see them planted in massive pots; I didn't know or didn't think it was possible to grow them in such a way! I'm glad I've learned that here. LOVE that idea.

Vicki October 23, 2012 - 5:15 am

I do love the sandy garden paths in your photos. I don't know much about sand used in that way. I've probably walked on packed sand and not even realized it. I have seen footpaths made from crushed shell or "pea" gravel. It's definitely gentler on the foot and makes the environment seem more hushed; just a better aesthetic.

It's widely-written that lifestyle/homekeeping billionairess Martha Stewart here in the U.S. honors the natural environment of her majestic home in (Seal Harbor) Maine called Skylands (the former Ford motorcar's founding family estate) by going to great lengths to protect her forest and garden pathways, but also the property's driveways. Reportedly, these driveways are covered in crushed pink granite, which I believe is the local rock/stone(?). And each fall of the year, until the following spring, the pulverized granite is collected, then washed/cleaned and stored for the winter (Maine, in uppermost U.S. Northeast, bordering Canada, gets significant snowfall). I don't think I can even imagine what kind of work is involved in such a project!

Pamela RG October 23, 2012 - 5:41 am

Gorgeous garden. Now we know that sand can be used in that way in the garden so creative and clever. The dog is so cute! I would love to read that book. Merci!

corrie October 23, 2012 - 7:28 am

Wow that's a garden to aspire to! We recently purchased a house here in Sydney with 5 tiers of badly overgrown scraggy plants. Over a period of a month all plants were removed…(you can now see the front of the house and its actually quite cute) and all the beds were mass planted with agapanthus and acer palmatum. I cant wait to see them flowering like the ones in les jardin agapanthe. I think I just found a name to paint on the letter box 🙂 Thanks for a very pretty post.

Colleen Taylor October 23, 2012 - 7:32 am

Oh my what a joy to see Sharon. I wonder if I could grow these in Arizona. We just had our front yard re-landscaped & I am discovering wonderous plants that thrive here. Thank you for this gift this evening. I shall dream in shades of lavender.

Amelia October 23, 2012 - 9:28 am

Beautiful garden and lovely property altogether. The little black Pug is so cute.

Desi October 23, 2012 - 9:38 am

No words but .. wonderfull!!

peggy braswell October 23, 2012 - 6:37 pm

Agapanthus grows in abundance here in S. CA. in white & purple. My little ones, while growing up use to use the buds as pellets to throw at each other. I wouldn't know about it until my agapanthus didn't bloom! Growing up in the south, I use to use Camilla's buds the same way! Mom's with boys & tomboy girls will understand. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

CWoodyard October 24, 2012 - 3:24 am

Thanks for posting this garden. I'm happy to find a new garden destination in Normandy, having visited many over the years. Sadly many of the old and famous gardeners have passed and it's great to discover the new crop. Cynthia

Bakersfield Photography October 24, 2012 - 5:24 am

I am fascinated by the looks of the house and its surroundings. How wish I could have a house like this 10 years from now. I know I will!


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