Chenonceau Castle is renowned for its fantastic floral displays. Each room in this expansive castle is ornately decorated with stunning scented bouquets skillfully put together by the master florist in a floral workshop on the grounds.
The fruits and flowers used in the eye-catching bouquets are grown on the gardens of the Chenonceau Castle which are overseen by the American botanical director, Nicholas Tomlan who came to France from Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania specifically for this job.
According to Tomlan, in the olden days, they grew root vegetables in the garden instead of flowers. But now, the walled gardens are overflowing with beautiful flowers as well as a variety of impressive-looking vegetables and fruits.
The History of the Chenonceau Gardens
Chenonceau Castle has a very interesting history. It was owned by both Henry II’s wife, Catherine de Medici and his mistress, Diane de Poitiers – during different periods, of course! Both these magnificent women had flower displays in the chateau, and reports describe some of them as ‘monumental’ and ‘taller than a man’.
One thing’s for sure, the floral displays in the gardens are still as flamboyant, colorful, and showy as they ever were.
The garden at the Chenonceau castle is vast and well-tended. It not only provides for the displays at the castle but for the restaurant on the grounds as well. The gardens were recreated using drawings that were done in the late 1500s which include glorious giant wicker bird cages that flowers grow in and wildflower meadows.
Here you’ll also see the formal parterre gardens boasting the most gorgeous arrangement of color and blooms. All in all, there are seven gardens on the grounds of the Chenonceau castle and together they grow over 130,000 plants every year. The gardens are considered by most to be just as important a place to visit as the castle itself.
A Beauty in the Loire Valley
On your next visit to this idyllic place, make time to wander the gardens and soak in their stunning beauty and style. On the chateau’s right-hand side, you’ll find ‘Diane’s garden’ as it is called, while ‘Catherine’s garden’ is on the left. This is a clear indication that these two women’s rivalry wasn’t just restricted to Henry!
You’ll also be able to explore the maze that was commissioned by Catherine as well as the Grand Green Garden, an Eden filled with tall beautiful trees where the historic Orangery is located. During Catherine’s residence in the castle, this is the part of the estate where they kept the animals and birds.
Although a lot has changed on the grounds since the 16th century, much of the gardens still remain as beautiful and idyllic as ever. The gardens of the Chenonceau castle merit a visit all on their own, and your time spent here will be unforgettable.
When you’re done exploring the gardens, you can take a well-deserved break at the fabulous L’Orangerie restaurant where both the food and the beautifully decorated interior are sure to take your breath away!