Thursday's Child: Jardin de la Petite Rochelle

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I’ve never understood how one month can simultaneously be the shortest and the longest month of the year, but February manages to do it.  January carries the novelty of the beginning of winter, and March bears the promise of spring.  But February is one dreary winter day after the next.

So this February, I’ll be travelling to four different gardens around the world.  Let me carry you away to warmer climes, to flowers, trees and meandering paths.  For a few brief moments, once a week, let’s take a magic carpet ride to a warmer season in an enchanting garden.


Today I’ll take you to Jardin de la Petite Rochelle in the district of Orne, France.  If there ever was a real-life Secret Garden, this would be it.  It’s actually a private garden that’s open to the public a handful of weekends in the spring, and for a month in the summer.  We were fortunate enough to be staying in Orne while it was open last August, and our innkeeper told us not to miss it.



Jardin de la Petite Rochelle is actually a collection of eight small gardens, connected by a maze of paths.  Around every bend was another surprise – a tranquil pond with tiny stone frog fountains.  Walkways lined with roses, hydrangeas and fairies’ fishing rods.  (Isn’t that a perfect name for a flower?)  A round pool backed by cultivated hedges and two stone benches.



If you could take your own magic carpet ride this February, where would you go?




46 comments:

Jess said...

Oh, Beth! You had my heart with the first photo and kept it with the last. I adore shutters--don't ask me why, but there's something so rustic and fine about a nice set of exterior shutters next to a window, and those blue ones are perfect :) Thanks for another mini-vacation!

Susanne K. Fletcher said...

Even though the sun finally returned to Toronto this morning, your revitalizing blog was just what I needed. Those pictures were breathtaking and I felt warm all over (even if it is -15 outside) I loved your analogy of "A Secret Garden." Elizabeth and I are currently reading the book as I am going to take her to the play over March Break. It's such a timeless story as are your blogs. Thanks for bringing the sunshine back.

Carol said...

I'm so with you on February! That does look like a beautiful Secret Garden. What a beautiful place, stunning pictures, but that last shot of the shutters, fabulous!

Tasha said...

Beautiful! I just adore flowers and gardens. Even though I do not live where it is snowy or that cold, it is still very refreshing to see these lush, pretty pictures this time of year.

Kittie Howard said...

Beth, I've just been on the most beautiful magic carpet ride. Those eight inter-connected gardens are heavenly! Love the colors, the shutters, the entire feel of being there...yep, your fab photos got me out of this cold and into a wonderland. Thank you!

Kayte said...

Gorgeous, and just the thing for this morning as we are on our third day of no school due to snow and ice, not to mention dropping temps. Your garden post was a wonderful respite and time to dream of sunnier warmer days! Yes, let's have more garden posts! Where would I go today on a magic carpet? Santorini, Greece...want a ride?

Monet said...

This is exactly what I needed. It is COLD and dreary in Austin, and I'm yearning for some green. What a beautiful garden. If I could go anywhere in the world, I would travel back to Sintra Portugal. Just stunning.

Beth said...

Santorini has always been on my list of places to visit, Kayte, and now I'll add Sintra too, Monet!
Suzanne, enjoy Secret Garden. I read it to the girls many years ago and we all loved it. (I had fun reading the dialects!)
And thanks to all of you for the comments on the photographs. Most of the travel photos on this blog were taken by Andrew. I think he does a great job!

Belinda said...

I'm so jealous! I don't know what it is about gardens and just being outdoors - serenity, peace....Secret gardens are the best...too many places I want to do. Have a wonderful time!

Domestic Goddess Wannabe said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. We have just been told that we are moving offices to a space with no windows. Will have to look at your fabulous photos to escape!

Amy said...

Oh my! I want to be there. I want to live in it!

Joanne said...

I'm a walker, walking whenever and wherever I can. These gardens, with all those paths connecting, look like the perfect walking place ... I could spend hours there!

Rita said...

What a treat you have for us today. A beautiful garden with lovely memories. I am looking forward to March; we spend the month in Victoria BC and the flowers are coming out to welcome us.

Faith said...

Thanks Beth for introducing us for heaven on earth! That would be a great place to live. The garden and the view are something out of this world. I can spend the rest of my life there. Just beautiful.

Valerie said...

Beth, you summed up the month of February perfectly! So thank you for offering to take all your readers on an escape each Thursday. I can almost smell the fragrance of the flowers coming through my computer. My magic carpet would happily land at the door of the cozy cottage.

Jennifurla said...

Your right, totally secret garden...reminding me I really love that movie. What a gorgeous place.

Angie's Recipes said...

Totally love this secret garden! I would love to take a walk or do some reading there.

5 Star Foodie said...

What a beautiful magical secret garden! I would love to visit there for a day!

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

What a beautiful and green garden! I could get lost exploring them. You should take a picnic :)

Brownieville Girl said...

A lovely reminder that there are some pretty flowers, garden walks and maybe even some sunshine to look forward to!!

Janet Johnson said...

Oh my goodness, beautiful! I'll have to remember this one.

My trip this February would be to that beach in Hawaii . . . oh, I'm more relaxed just thinking about it. :)

Claudia said...

I think this needs to go on my list - it enchants. And I loved this break from winter. I could almost smell the aromas...

Raina said...

I enjoyed taking a magic carpet ride with you to this gorgeous place. For a minute I forgot what was outside my window:)

Carol Riggs said...

Oh, those are GORGEOUS. Love those pics; the first one drew me in right away. Looks magical, enchanting. :)

sweetpeaskitchen.com said...

February is the worst month ever! I am just waiting for it to be over with already! ;) I wish I was in the middle of this garden right now, it looks wonderful! :)

Emma said...

What lovely photos Beth! I love that little cottage, and those flowers are precious.

It's funny you guys saying February drags on with Winter in the N. hemisphere - here, February drags on with how hot it is! We are all moaning around feeling the heat and waiting for cooler weather.

I think my magic carpet ride would take me somewhere snowy right now (I know, I'm daft probably!)

I have no idea how I deleted my post either, the heat must be getting to me!

Katerina said...

This is a beautiful garden. I think I saw it in a documentary regarding the best gardens of France, beautiful sceneries. Regarding Santorini, as I saw in comments, you should definitely visit it. It is a totally different place from this but it is as magical. Especially during summer!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

I want to be there! These photos have inspired me. I love looking at garden magazines too. Something I wish I could do is keep plants and flowers alive!

ezsrecipes.com said...

You're so right about February - what promise does it hold but a superficial "holiday"? ;) I feel like January is a boring month because the holidays have passed and there's just nothing happening, but February is really like that as well. At least it IS a shorter month so that hopefully spring is right around the corner!

Jen Chandler said...

Gosh, Beth, that garden is GORGEOUS!!! I love gardens, and to have my own secret garden would be a dream! Thanks for these pictures. We definitely need them in the long, dreary February days.

And here I thought I was the only person who felt this way about February ;)

Happy weekend!
Jen

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

What a lovely written garden post this surely is! I loved reading all about your passion for beautiful gardens!!

We just baught our dream house & we will have a garden with our own 2 fig trees in it! I can't wait starting to garden! I love it so much!

Chow and Chatter said...

keep the travel posts coming love them

allieksmith said...

You totally made me excited for spring now! I plant a garden and I cannot wait :o) So exciting! France sounds pretty awesome right now ;) Hope your February goes well!

Carolyn said...

So beautiful and it makes me long for spring. Especially since my garden is buried under 5 feet of snow (not kidding) and more is forecast for the next week!

Mary said...

Beth, the gardens are spectacular and do not look overgrown. August can be a prom. We visited Giverny in late August several years ago and we were to late to get a sense of the garden's beauty. I can't wait to see what else you have in store for us. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

jillbert said...

Just fabulous! I love visiting gardens, though I have no interest in doing any gardening myself!

Julie Musil said...

My, what beautiful photos! I live in southern California, so I can't complain too much about the weather. But I love the beach, and I love water skiing, so any place with water sounds pretty great right now.

theUngourmet said...

Such an enchanting garden! Hmmm. I think I would like to be whisked away to New Zealand. ;)

Lynne said...

Beautiful gardens! I love seeing the photos from your travels!

julie said...

I absolutely adore gardens like this. They make you feel like you're walking through your very own beautiful fairy tale! I needed these today; it's so cold and dreary here in Charlotte. I hope you're enjoying the weekend!

Sweet And Crumby said...

I think I would go right there. Why wouldn't I? That is such a stunning garden and so peaceful. Beautiful photos.

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

What a lovely idea - traveling the gardens of the world! I think that if I could de-camp anywhere right now, I would be at Magens Bay in St. Thomas. Heaven on earth.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I like the way you so accurately characterized the month of February, I hear the moaning of cabin fever too often. If I had my pick I would be in Bora Bora right now where I could step outside of my hut built over pristine blue waters, and take a leap into the warm sea. Or I could travel to Provence and enjoy the last few weeks of truffle season in the South of France. Although being in New York City right now isn't all that bad. I hope you are well in your neck of the woods.

shaz said...

What an amazing garden. Love that little frog water spout. Being on the upside-down continent, I often get to February and start feeling a little sad that summer is on the way out. So the month feels too short! I would take my magic carpet and fly it down to the beach to enjoy as many warm days as I can :)

Sue said...

When I saw the second photo I thought right away, "The Secret Garden", then read your commentary:) So beautiful! That book is special to me because when my mom was a small child in L.A. her immigrant Armenian parents didn't speak english, and didn't know about libraries. When my mom missed the last day of her teacher reading "The Secret Garden" to them, she was so sad, and then her teacher told her to check it out at the library...A whole new world was opened up to her and it all started with that book:) Thanks for conjuring up a sweet memory:)

Michelle Teacress said...

What a dreamy place, so beautiful.

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