I have been visiting Le Garden Champêtre in Caunes-Minervois over the last two years. It has been lovingly created by Imogen Checketts and Kate Dumbleton on a normally very dry site near to the river L’Argent Double and specialises in perennials, ornamental grasses, bulbs, ground covers and herbs. These drought-resistant plants form a demonstration garden and nursery which is lovely to visit.
This October when I was there the Miscanthus grasses were gorgeous, wafting about in the pre-storm breezes, whilst the fragrance from the herbs was wonderful. They had enjoyed the hot, dry conditions over the summer. The soil was bone dry when we visited presenting challenges, but proving that many of the plants could cope in drought.
Their varieties of Gaura can been seen all over the region in the village plantings, and are achingly pretty in amongst all the silvers and purples of the ground cover Thymes and Achilleas. Phlomis, Santolinas and Perovskias provide further colour and structure amongst the grasses which include Calamgrostis ‘Karl Foerster’, Stipa gigantea, Sesleria autumalis, Miscanthus sinensis and many more.
The week after we left the real storms hit the region, the river broke its banks and the final photo which Imogen posted shows the garden under water. However, in true gardening fashion, they are seeing this as an opportunity. There is a new layer of silt over the garden which is no longer thirsty! I’ll be really interested to go back again next year to see how they have taken advantage of this and how there plants have responded. So far they are bouncing back….
If you are in the region go and visit!
May and October 2017