Listed by the Ministry of Culture as a Jardin Remarquable, the formal gardens at the Manoir d'Eyrignac are an exceptionally fine example of the Italian influence that spread throughout French gardens during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The house and gardens have been in the possession of the same family for some 500 years and it's current glory today is the passion of owners Patrick and Capucine Sermadiras who, together with their son Gilles continue to live in the manor and oversee all aspects of the gardens development and upkeep.
Last Sunday was my fourth visit to Eyrignac this year. I'm fortunate in that it's only 25 minutes drive from here so it's easy to spend an afternoon exploring one of France's grandest green spaces.
Located over 4 hectares, Eyrignac contains fine examples of topiary and prides itself on using old methods wherever possible. Domed standards of White Mulberry are clipped expertly with shears as are striking 'cakestands' of Yew together with some 45,000 m2 of Box and Hornbeam hedges. All the clipping and mowing waste are collected and reused three years later as organic compost.
Even apple and pear trees have been shaped and trained into mature standards which looks quite something when they bear fruit.
Throughout, the gardens are punctuated with Cypress and prostrate Juniper, emblematic of Mediterranean lanscapes which together with gently trickling water features add a further dimension to what is really a very tranquil and calm place.