Set deep in rural France, Prieuré d’ Orsan is a bastion of restrained good taste, immaculate lawned areas are contained by perfect hedges. Within this framework its planting comprises almost entirely of trained fruit and vegetables to create an ornamental and highly stylised garden.
I loved the named apple trees with their hessian wrapped trunks, the espalier gooseberries and the palisade of bamboo canes with snail shell finials. Long vistas run between hedges and surprise ‘windows’ are cut to give views between gardens. There are ornamental bird boxes and beyond the formal areas is a field of wildflowers and grasses. I was so impressed that I returned in late August hoping to see the promised abundance but was sad to see that form remained the essential quality.