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Visiting a garden is a great way to get insipration and new ideas for plant combinations and garden features.


The small list below is of gardens that Ben has had the pleasure of visiting and believes to be some of the most inspirational and influential.  Various images accompany a review of each garden visit, as well as contact information should you plan to go there yourself.



Le Jardin Plume, Auzouville-sur-Ry, France.

Note: On entering through a small gap in the Hornbeam hedge you are instantly met with the quaint charm of the garden.

Note: The curved beams of the barn are echoed in the stylised cliped hedges, which  compliment the hard lines of the mown path and frame the soft flowing planting.

I’m driving slowly down a sandy lane, a farmer’s field on one side and a hornbeam hedge on the other.  Full of anticipation I see a small sign, which indicates that I am at my destination and encourages me to park the car.  I am about 15 miles east of Rouen in Northern France and here to see Le Jardin Plume.


Nestled on the site of an old orchard, the garden takes in about 4 acres and is the creation and home of owners, Patrick and Sylvie Quibel.  The garden is split into different areas that are individually planted up to emphasise the changing of seasons.  Beautiful rustic outbuildings and immaculately clipped hedges divide these areas, whilst obscuring and framing the various compositions and vistas. 


The planting throughout has a loose, almost wild and ethereal feel, like an Impressionistic painting it seems to reveal itself the more you stare.  Masses of transparent perennials and grasses rise from the ground creating layer upon layer of detailed colour and texture.  Many of the plants are from the typical “Dutch Wave” pallet, although the way they are intricately woven together here is something very different.  


This unfastened style of planting is cleverly anchored by crisp hedges and various forms of topiary.  These emphasise the garden’s rigid, geometric structure, providing a visual contrast to the plants. Overall this both compliments and enhances the style.

Note: A simple square pool continues the grid layout of the orchard, giving interesting views of the garden and an intriguing depth to the space.

Note: The meadow squares continue along the lines of the old orchard. The gererously wide and  tightly mown grass avenues contrast with the natural state of the meadow planting and encourage the visitor to stroll.


Walking around I discover the autumn garden, the feather garden and the orchard until I come to the potager. In other parts of the garden, colour is grouped in a very relaxed, slightly conservative way. Not here though, it appears that the rulebook had been completely thrown out, resulting in a clashing riot of vibrancy. It feels fun, French and very personal.


Though for me it is not the theatrical use of colour but the excellent use of texture that makes this garden and it’s planting so special. It has an incredible atmosphere that is completely enchanting from the very moment you enter. There are modern additions and references to its past, views to impress and corners to discover.  In essence it has everything a great garden should have, including a fantastic little nursery to help you take a small piece away as you leave.



Note: Echinacea in schocking pink contrasts vividly with the rich burnt yellow Rudbeckia. Spires of  burgundy Atriplex, umbels of citrus yellow Anthemum and plumes of pearl pink Phlox either clash with or compliment the existing combination.

Note: Frothy nests of Erigeron karvinskianus cushion the organic shaped forms of clipped box. Solid in its appearance, the box is used to emphasise the loose carefree nature of the planting whilst giving structure to the space.  

Note: The hard angles of the perfectly clipped topiary are repeated in and offset by the hedges .

Note: In the Summer Garden the hot and vibrant flowers explode up and out from the structural boundries of the electric green box.



For further information and opening times please use the link

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