September 16 – 26th, 2006

September 19th We visited two beautiful gardens in the Menton area. The first created by Lawrence Johnston (who also created Hidcote in England) and the second, a third generation garden first designed by Humphry Waterfield, a close friend of Lawrence Johnston. Serre de la Madone Garden is one of the south of France's best gardens and contains an exceptional botanical collection from throughout the world, some of which are now the only remaining specimens. Beyond its botanic interests, Serre de la Madone is a remarkable example of landscape architecture with its ponds and fountains that create a calm and preserved atmosphere. A procedure of official classification, rare for gardens, has allowed it to be classified as an historic monument since 1990. I was here a few years back and could not believe the changes. At that time they had just been given some money to do some much needed re-juvenation to the gardens and it showed. The house was open this time as well. This garden will only get better with time. Take a look at the Dracena Nolina Longifolia…have you ever seen one quite as big at this? I put my shoulder bag down so you could get an idea of just how huge this plant was. We had a lunch stop in a wonderful seaside village (which we will also do on the 2007 tour) you can see the coach parked by the water, it was just heaven! Everyone has free time to wander around, grab something to eat and even do a bit of shopping before boarding again for our second garden stop. On 2007 tour.

Clos du Peyronnet, the private garden of William Waterfield was our final garden for the day. Three generations of the same family have lived and gardened here, up the side of a steep hill above the old town of Menton-Garavan along the French Riviera close to the Italian border. The garden was first laid out by Humphry Waterfield, uncle of the present owner. Humphry was an artist, garden designer and close friend of Lawrence Johnston who was making his own garden at the same time at Serre de la Madone. It is rich in colour and movement, thanks to water reflections and distant Mediterranean views. A true plantsmans garden. William was indeed his jovial self, again I had been to this garden before and he is definitely in a league of his own. Loves chatting about plants and he has all kinds of gems to show off to those willing to look. We all seemed to migrate towards the pond where people sat around and chatted while William continued on with others wanting more plant information. On 2007 tour.






  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row