Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Garden in Winter

In Albi, France, not far from Toulouse, is the garden of the Berbie Palais. Older than the Palais des Papes in Avignon, the Palais de la Berbie, formerly the Bishops' Palace, and now the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, is one of the best-preserved castles in France.

During the reign of Louis XIV, in 1678, a garden was commissioned by the first Archbishop of Albi, Hyacinthe Serroni, to occupy the former site of the Bishops' Garrison. I've always loved sunken gardens, such as my own Giardino all'Italiana, and this one is truly a masterpiece, with its extravagant swirls of dwarf box broderie and its dramatic surrounding walls and battlements.


And to my mind it's far more beautiful now in winter than in the warmer months when the bare ground you see above is planted out in GMAs (garish modern annuals) turning it all into a fussy carpet of regrettable reds and pinks.

The high framing walkway looks out onto the garden on the right and to the Tarn river on the left and is covered with a romantic arbor of, I think, grapes. Perfection!

7 comments:

ArchitectDesign™ said...

How beautiful! Would love to see that arbor dripping with grapes later in the summer!

VoiceTalk said...

The mossy wall, arches above the river, and the faint mist above the ordered the gardens, make for much beauty! Thank you! What a wonderful post.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

What a beautiful spot and somehow I would imagine even lovier as you see it here in the winter months when you can see 'bones' of the garden...juxapoised to the river ~ lovely! Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment, a little later in the year I will be having more gardening posts that might be of more interest to you. This month I begin my big annual pruning lots of work but very necessary. Take care.

lindaraxa said...

I wished I had known about this when I went to Albi years ago. Love the light on the last picture with you I presume. Congrats to the photographer!

✿ Hélène Flont ✿ said...

J'aime ces arabesques de buis, ils font les hivers de nos jardins bien élégants.

Lord Cowell said...

What an amazing view over the river with the bridges / viaducts; and a great example of a period parterre. I hope one day to visit.
David.

Laurent said...

Very possibly you know Orlando Murrin's rustic inn near Cordes, discussed in his "A Table in the Tarn." Your argument for Winter is persuasive, but I fear I'd have to brave the sight in Spring. :)