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Brittany’s mild, maritime climate and rich, largely acid soil creates a rewarding environment for both plants and gardeners, whilst the region’s craggy coastline and plunging wooded valleys provide extraordinary microclimates and dramatic spaces in which both subtropical exotics and hardy natives flourish. Breton culture has always stood proudly apart from the French mainstream and this originality is manifest in the gardens we shall visit. An added attraction to this tour is our base, Le Grand Hotel, a stunningly refurbished 4-star hotel, overlooking the wide sandy beach in the picturesque seaside town of Perros Guirec, midway between the Cote Sauvage and the Pink Granite Coast.
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Travel by coach to Portsmouth, time dependent we may visit a garden en-route before taking our overnight crossing to St Malo.
Kirsty and our driver will be in the arrivals hall at the port to meet you and helptransfer luggage to the coach. We drive westwards for 2 hours, towards Tréguier to visit Kerdalo, recently acquired by Christian Louboutin (France’s answer to Jimmy Choo). This delightful valley garden and arboretum was created by Prince Wolkonsky, a Russian emigré with a great passion for plants, during the Sixties. The garden was subsequently developed by his daughter, Kew-trained Isabelle and her husband, the renowned garden designer and plantsman, Timothy Vaughan. Tangi Rabin, Kerdalo’s new Head Gardener will meet us to take through the new developments in the garden. Lunch is a short drive away at a seafood café, overlooking a wonderful rocky shoreline and beach. Another short drive takes us to a superb plantsman’s garden, Le Jardin de Pellinec, Gerard Jean started planting a range of tender exotics in 1997 and has gone on to create a series of interlinked gardens, each filled with a range of rare and beautiful plants from different climatic regions of the globe. Monsieur Jean takes his garden very seriously and will be impressed by the number of notebooks he sees!
We travel south to visit Kerfouler, a private garden created by retired Dutch florists, Hanneke and Erwin Straalman since 2012. Fourteen inspiring –and quite different -garden spaces, each with its own identity, ranging from water and wildlife to grasses and perennials, occupy a 2.2-acre plot. We continue for 15 minutes to La Roche Jagu,an arts and heritage centre set in a 16th century fortress, surrounded by gardens managed for wildlife and biodiversity. Lunch is followed by a short, guided tour with time for independent exploration before returning to Perros Guirec where we dine together at our hotel.
With time for a leisurely breakfast, we depart our hotel and travel for two hours to La Chateau de la Ballue, arriving in time for lunch with owner, Marie-Francoise Mathon, followed by a tour of the gardens. La Ballue is an immaculately presented 17th century chateau, having a long association with both writers and radicals, complemented by two dramatically different gardens, each designed to stimulate the intellect as much as the eye. During the recent lockdowns, Mme Mathon has carved out a new garden with ponds and bog planting in the wooded valley below the chateau. We continue to St Malo, arriving at 18.30 for the overnight crossing to Portsmouth departing 20.30
Arrive Portsmouth 08.15.
Single Room Supplement from £175.00 (6 days).