Sunday, June 13, 2010

Backcountry France: Eyrignac, the Gardens

Hidden in the hills of Perigord, lies a secret garden that epitomizes the art of French Gardens. I have always admired the French tradition of working by hand (my manicure - or rather lack of - would testify to the hours I spend digging and trimming by hand), the precision of pruning, the control over the trees and the plants.

This garden, which has been in the family for more than 500 years, was re-designed in the French manner by the 22nd generation owner, Gilles Sermadiras de Pouzols de Lile. Today his son and his family continue the tradition. The garden was elaborated on the basic elements of French style: lines, vistas and repetition. This gardens use clever tricks and optical illusions for which French gardens have been so famous since the 17th century. The discipline with which this garden is designed exudes a sense of perfection and simple beauty. The palette is restricted to fewer than ten basic species such as boxwood, hornbeams, yews, cypress, apple trees....which give the garden absolute harmony in all subtle gradation of green. 

I hope you enjoy the tour of these 10 acres of impeccable lawns and 9 miles of hedges. On a perfect June day, my parents and I lost ourselves in thoughts and spirit, in awe of the extraordinary creativity of man in arranging God's creations and gifts.

These outbuildings can be rented for a night, a week end, or one may wish to stay forever....

Hornbeam walk

Trimmed apple trees

At the center of this rotunda, an eight pointed star allows one to get one's bearing and each window offers vistas of the field

The owner's residence: Manoir d'Eyrignac

Cottage to rent

The white rose garden

The owner's idyllic pool


At the end of the path, an unexpected red chinese chippendale bench

Suggested Books:

Eyrignac: The Gardens  Buy Here

"The garden of the Manoir d'Erignac is the best known garden in the Perigord. Redesigned last century and maintained with rare precision, it represents the archetype of French formal gardens, but on human scale. At Eyrignac, they aim for simple shapes-and absolute perfection!"

French Garden Style - Georges Levecque  Buy Here

The French Garden - Jean Pierre Babelon Buy Here


  1. This garden is unbelieveable!! The white rose garden took my breath away. I love a nicely trimmed hedge and this goes beyond nicely trimmed, this is an artform. Happy weekend,Kathysue

  2. What an amazing property... and a tribute to the skill and art of talented garden keepers... ~Terri

  3. Dear Francine,
    I absolutely adore these gardens. I love the formality and the use of just green, My own garden is a bit of a mixture as I also love an herbaceous border, but with subtle colours. Thank you for showing us these wonderful gardens and, I think that the books would make fabulous birthday and Christmas presents. I am making a note of all of them. XXXX

  4. Greetings Francine; How I've missed reading your blog. To be greeting with yet another moving, visual masterpiece is wonderful. Eyrignac is a place that seems to only appear in dreams. For us Americans it's hard to imagine those grounds being in the family and maintained by them for 500 years. I would love to stay there and lounge by that remarkable pool & take in all the mastery of the grounds. What tender memories you must have of you and your parents spending time there? Hope all is very well at work and at play? Are you not going home for a holiday soon?

  5. Oh, this post is exquisite - it really transported me away!

  6. Yes, I think they may have achieved their goal of "simple shapes and absolute perfection"! Thank you so very much for sharing it with us. I have definitely been inspired by these images.

    (By the way, I totally agree with you about the yew hedge in my garden. I think it would set off the other flowers and trees beautifully! Many thanks for your input.)

  7. These gardens are absoutely beautiful. Thanks for the post.

  8. A walk in these gardens would be exactly what is needed right now
    Lovely post.

  9. WOW! Simply blown away by these beautiful gardens...and that pool...oh that pool! {sigh}

  10. I love sculptured bushes like that, so beautiful!

  11. My Dear Francine,
    Thank you for this post, I am still gasping in awe. I am also wondering how many employee's they have to keep up that surreal landscape.
    I can't imagine staying there and waking up to that morning walk. What a pool and the hedges are wonderful. Never heard of hornbeans.
    Thanks again yvonne

  12. Hi Francine, these gardens reflect the incredible care and creativity that has gone in over so many many years to result in such fantastic scapes...thanks so much, I am quite tempted to get the books too!

    Lovely post, makes me want to get on the next plane



  13. OH Francine
    What a beautiful post and just what I need right now... I could surely relax and rejuvenate somewhere this beautiful and surrounded by nature at it's best.... I love formal gardens.. it's not something you see much here in Sydney.... but more in the southern highlands... in fact your posts often remind me of the southern highlands... I'm looking for somewhere new to live and that cottage would be just perfect wouldn't it? haha.. I wish...

    Thanks for your lovely comments.. I will look for your email... and write soon!!! Have a lovely week xxx Julie

  14. All I can truly say is wow! These are unbelievable, I must say... I am sending my Mum a link to this post, too, as I know she will enjoy it as much as I have. Such incredible art and appreciation in these gardens — I adore the shapes and characters that have been shown here. Your posts are always fabulous!

    p.s I'm not too sure if you received my email last week or not? I just wanted to make sure :)

    Hope you are having a splendid week!


  15. Francine,
    This is spectacular!! A wonderful garden! Unbelievable! Thank you so much for introducing us to the garden of Eyrignac!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  16. Francine, this is a treat beyond!! A dream vacation really. Thank you so much for sharing! All of the images are luscious.

    Art by Karena

  17. Francine,
    I always say, the French have a way.
    Thank you for taking us along.

  18. Absolutely stunning. I can't imagine the time, care and heart it takes to create and maintain a place like that. It's beautiful, like a dream.


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