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La Vie en Rose

La Vie en Rose
Posted on 23/07/08 | Posted by The Fat Gardener

After 10 derrière-numbing hours in a car designed more for carrying drug dealers around inner city council estates and less for driving on French motorways, we arrived at our destination - Château Tillac in the pretty Gers region of south west France.

Sited in a cleft between gentle sunflower covered hills it is a mirage of white stone in a rolling ocean of bright yellow. The château itself dates from the 11th century and over the last 8 years has been restored beautifully by the current owners who live here most of the year.

In the central courtyard there is a path flanked by ancient olive trees and a fig tree fruits over a retaining wall. In the middle of the flag stoned courtyard floor are geometric beds filled with lavenders, verbena, Perovskia Blue Spire and floating pink and white Guara (to name but a few). On the opposite side the area is lawned, but surrounded by borders filled with tall Cannas in jewel-like colours and even the pomegranates fruit (for those of us who may never have seen a pomegranate plant; they are bush-like in rather a scruffy form producing large amounts of fire engine red blooms, resulting in round fruit with waxy skin).

Although our hostess is a keen gardener most of the gardens are kept under control by a single part-time gardener (who I am told mows furiously!) and some hedge cutting help from the local farm workers. This means that although the gardens retain their shape and design, there is a wonderful romantic feel to them as plants spill over each other and the edge of the borders.

Those of you who read the QGT Blog for its hardcore garden tool content; you will be pleased to hear that I have surveyed the shed (actually it is more like a barn!) and not found the tools wanting. Most of the garden tools have long 4' or 5' handles (even the spades and forks) which allow the user to rest his chin for a well earned rest during the heat of the day. Power tool brands are now universal and the Château use a wide variety of Husqvarna, Stihl and Ryobi products.

Well it seems the perfect time for me to say au revoir, sit out under the shade of the Fig tree and enjoy some lunch.

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