When we first landed in France, we headed out to the countryside, Champagne country that is. We stayed in Epernay in an apartment above a beautiful new building right on Avenue du Champagne. This smaller building housed the Champagne tasting bar and sitting area for the de Venoge vineyard’s champagne house, located at Les Suites Du 33. The patio in the photo is for that apartment. It is at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the apartment and next to the driveway parking area. There is also a tiny garden separating the parking area from this private patio.
Both gardens pack a lot of low maintenance perennial color in the small spaces. I was thrilled to see some of the same plants in these gardens as I have in my own and in my clients’ gardens. Yep, I’m that much of a garden geek. You can see the Redtwig Dogwood (yes, it’s the one with the red twigs), the Holly in the back of both gardens adding height, and for ground cover, the dwarf perennial grasses (the bright yellow/green plants).
Notice the climbing roses growing up the trellis on the patio. There are two, with smaller perennials in between the roses. This is beautiful, simple symmetry. The space is not cluttered with an assortment of perennials. You can certainly add annuals in the summer either at the foot of the roses or in containers on the patio. But if you don’t have the time or the $, none are needed.
Behind the chair, against the back wall are ivy growing up the wall and a holly bush. The design principle here is to add “green” height to the space, giving it the feel of a garden room. Also, your eyes will see the two climbing roses and look for a third. The bush growing in the corner by the stairs, adds that third tall plant.
Here is a photo of the large house, which is actually their office building combined with hotel rooms. We stayed in a smaller version of this which was to the right of the driveway. There was also another smaller version of this to the left of the driveway, also with guest rooms.
Here you see a more formal garden. The tightly trimmed bushes are organized symmetrically against the building.
The space is brand new having only recently reopened after a long renovation. I have included photos of the garden behind the main building. The gardener has just finished cleaning it up after a long period of neglect. I cannot wait to see how the space will be filled. I walked through it designing it in my mind. It has so much potential. If it looks this good in February, just imagine it in June.
I cannot say enough good things about de Venoge. The champagne had more depth to its flavor than I am used to in a sparkling wine, which we loved. The gardens were lovely. The living space was warm and inviting. Here’s a shout out to the beautiful young lady who took excellent care of us, Camille. We will be back.
And lastly, I just have to show you this photo of what I think is the ultimate, most clever use of limited space in an urban area. This is also in France, in a town overlooking wine country. How cool is this? You could put herbs or salad greens in this space or fill it with any color of alyssum. So very clever!!!
And, just in case you didn’t get enough photos of wine country in February in France, here are photos from the town where I found this teeny tiny garden, in Chalons sur Marne.
How cool is that sculpture? and holy cow, what a view.