Jardins de la Mansonière,
Saint-Céneri-le-Gerei, Normandy (Orne)
We try to visit la Mansonière garden several times each year as the owners (Michèle and Philippe Manson) are always adding new features to it – there always seem to be new sculptures, additions to the plants and shrubs, a redesign of the beds, a new vista to discover.
The Gardens of the Mansonière are actually a series of garden “rooms”, each with a totally different style and theme. These are:
* The Rose Garden, with over 70 varieties of roses and clematis
* The Moon Garden, themed on white and green
* The Tranquil Garden with Japanese influences, bamboos, acer japonica and azaleas
* The Perfumed Garden with its heady scents from hyacinths, viburnum, daphnia, herbs and lilies depending on season
* The Terrace garden with its contrasting themes Water and Sun, dominated by a giant gunnera and parterres of lavender
* The Courtyard, effectively the ‘crossroads’ of the gardens next to the house
* The Stage – a quirky area next to the steps up to the house, overlooked by chickens
* The Garden of Contrasts – on one side a mixed border blazes with colour in the summer, while on the other all shade and muted greens with conifers and ferns
* The Nut Tree Garden – hazels and walnut trees
* The Gothic Garden, with its gothic arch and medieval medicinal & herbal plants, fruit and vegetables
* The Promenade – a wide open area with shrubberies, lawns and areas for rest and contemplation
* The Green Room – small area with shrubs and trees
At the entrance/exit there is a small gift shop and a tea room with terrace garden for refreshments.
There are seats and tables scattered in quiet corners all around the gardens for the visitor to take a rest and breathe in the scents and the atmosphere of the garden.
The gardens are one of the first places we recommend guests to visit in summer – they are so close it would be silly to miss out on such a gem!
The gardens also host “Nocturnes” several times a year, evenings when the pathways are lit by candles, music is played along the walkway, and the evening ends with a concert of classical music, giving a truly magical atmosphere and a memorable night out.
An added bonus for us is that we’re only 20 minutes away from St Céneri, so we can visit the gardens whenever we have a free morning or afternoon (alas, somewhat rarer than we would like in the summer due to our B&B commitments!).
The Gardens of the Mansonière at St Céneri are open every afternoon (14h30 to 18h30) Wednesday to Sunday from June to end of August, and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from mid-April to end of May and first fortnight of September. Entry is 6 euros for adults and children over 12, 3 euros for 6-12 year old children, under 6 yo free.
Musical Evenings at la Mansonière – Nocturnes
The special musical evenings with a candlelit pathway around the garden are on the last Saturday of May, June, July and August : cost 10 euros for adults, half price for children. Gates open at 8.00pm and the concert is at 9.00pm.
The Gardens of the Mansonière at St Céneri, Normandy (Orne) website: www.mansoniere.fr
Access to the garden from the B&B:
All gardens are within easy reach of our bed and breakfast accommodation http://normandie-chambres.co.uk
As well as the detailed descriptions here in the blog, there’s an overview of the gardens of south-east Normandy and the upper Pays de la Loire on our B&B website: Gardens of Lower Normandy and Upper Pays de la Loire.