Quite outside the turmoil of the 21st Century, is a place still redolent of the Beau Monde. Grace, charm, beauty, paintings, books and above all, continuity.
A garden made over the last 100 years by three generations of the same family. Loved, created, changed, enjoyed, lived in and added to. How differently it resonates. How different from a garden perpetually on public view that has to justify the expense of its upkeep with fee paying visitors. An anodyne managed product, beset with budgets and numbers, at best with a good head gardener, a pastiche ?
No, this is a chimera, almost hidden under its canopy of trees, on the very edge of Menton, steps from the Italian border. Behind the garden the mountains rise steeply, and before it is the sea. The sound of the waves follow you as you walk round the garden. And a garden of marvels it is, full of plants that are rare and beautiful. A collection of tender bulbous plants are collected in serried ranks of pots. They are labelled with names that are unfamiliar to me. At another turn I see a curious plant with pale orange bell-shaped flowers and exquisite upturned petals, it’s a climbing campanula from the cloud forests of The Canaries. Cloud forests in the Canaries ? I have a lot to learn. And there, underlying the garden, are the centenarian Olives that grew on this terraced hillside, well before the house was built. Now ancient and gnarled, they bring me back to the theme of continuity. The charm of this garden is an antidote to the restlessness that pervades our world.