Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Les jardins suspendus de Marqueyssac



The incredible gardens surrounding the Chateau at Marqueyssac near Sarlat are an extraordinary example of Boxwood topiary! Four full time gardeners work year round clipping and shaping it with frankly jaw dropping results.



Listed as a National Historical Monument, Marqueyssac is a private estate dating from the 17th Century. Its large park and gardens were opened to the public in 1997 following extensive renovation work. Designed for walking, the park sits on a spur overlooking the Dordogne valley. At the parks furthest point you reach the Belvedere, a fabulous balcony high above the river which unveils breath taking panoramic views to the Valley below, hence the name, 'jardins suspendus' - overhanging gardens.



With some six kilometres of walks, the park has a Labyrinthine feel. You're never quite sure where each path may lead and with each twist and turn you become aware that there this is a place of many micro climates, from the southern side of the park with its Montpellier Maples, typical of the Mediterranean to the Hornbeams and Holm Oaks of the more humid Northern side more representative of an Atlantic influenced climate. It is these dark Holm Oaks that are responsible for the origins of this regions name, the Perigord Noir.

During Summer many events are held at the estate with perhaps the most special being the candle lit evenings which are held during July and August. The gardens and walkways are lit by thousands of candles from dusk 'till midnight. A truly special atmosphere . A truly remarkable garden.

10 comments:

  1. Awesome!

    Only FOUR gardeners? I'm actually amazed that there aren't more.

    Cameron

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  2. Four it is I am reliably informed. That is for the topiary so one big cheer for French productivity.

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  3. The parks are beautiful! I came back today to show my husband and give him the names of the trees that you mention.

    Speaking of Perigord, Is it truffle season, yet? Here in the US, I can only afford to buy truffle oil for my risotto. One local gourmet shop had one truffle last year for $300+ USD. They offered to sell us half, but we still passed up the opportunity! :-)

    Cameron

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  4. Hi Cameron

    It is indeed Truffle season here. It runs to the end of Feb.

    This year, the International Truffle fair is being held in Sarlat (down the road) on Jan 16th and 17th.

    On average you can expect to pay anything between 700 and 1500 per kilo for the black truffle.
    I think prices are under downward pressure though. In recent years horticulturists/scientists have found ways to 'capture' the Mycorrhizal fungi necessary for the truffle to form. Occasionally in some of the larger markets you can find small trees for sale (usually Oak) impregnated with the fungi and boasting an in excess of 75% percent success rate for the truffle to form under the plant some years later.

    Rob

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  5. Lovely photos of the garden - it's a great example of the formal style that I associate with France. Welcome to Blotanical - it's such fun to find gardener friends all over the world! Regards, VW

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  6. What a fantastic place!

    Immedieately added to my list of must-see-gardens.

    Hilde

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  7. Gorgeous topiary. Here in Melbourne we have something similar up in the hills I will write about it soon.
    Love your blog.

    Serena.

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  8. Rob, thanks for stopping by my blog, and leaving a comment.

    Your blog is very interesting, and I am so looking forward to visiting again.

    Jen

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  9. Amazing gardens...thanks for sharing!

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  10. Bonjour,
    C'est toujours un plaisir de visiter les jardins suspendus de Marqueyssac. Nous recommandons à tous nos visiteurs la promenade nocturne les jeudi soirs d'été. Un enchantement. Bravo
    Les jardins de la Bigotie (à quelques km de Marqueyssac)
    http://labigotie.fr/blog/

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