The Loire Valley in France is renowned for its magnificent chateaus. The one at the village of Villandry near Tour is also noted for its wonderful gardens. Built on the left bank of the Cher river around 1532, Villandry is the last of the Renaissance Châteaux to be constructed in the Loire Valley. Dr. Carvallo, the last owner, began restoring the gardens in 1906 in the Italian Renaissance style. The Dr. used plans left by the architect DuCerceau.

The gardens of Villandry comprise three tiers of terracing. The lowest level, in the Louis XIV style, takes the form of a rectangle of slightly irregular shape surrounding on three sides the two higher tiers of gardens. It is devoted to vegetables and has 9 square sections divided into beds of various colored plants, surrounded by box hedges and hardy plants.

The ornamental garden is set on the middle terrace, where the castle stands, and in front of which is a bed planted with a pergola walk shaded by vines. At the opposite side of the garden to the castle, there is a maze of clipped trees. On the highest level, whose edges are bounded by arbors, lies the water garden.

 

Château de Villandry
37510 Villandry
France
 

We visited the beautiful Chateau Villandry in the summer of 1989 but I doubt that it has changed much since then. The Chateau itself is magnificent but for we horticulturists, the surrounding gardens are even better. They are a great mixture of ornamentals and vegetables all displayed in a formal garden style.

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