Gardens of the Loire Country – La Massonnière
La Massonnière is one of our latest discoveries, first visited on the recent “France Gardens Weekend” on June 5-6th 2010, and we are so pleased to have made this new garden discovery that we must share it with you NOW! Especially as it’s a mere 40 miles from our home and B&B – I can’t understand why it’s taken so long to find it, my only excuse being there are so many gardens, parks, manors and chateaux to see!
La Massonniere is a country manor house dating from the XVth century, with later extensions in the XVII’n and XVIII'” centuries. When Marguerite and Jo Weinberg acquired the estate in 1949, new gardens were laid out within the existing fields, orchards and woodlands surrounding the property. Marguerite’s son, Pierre Kendal Bushe, designed the garden to incorporate existing features such as the ancient fortified walls, trees and hedges, whilst creating new distinctive cultivated garden areas of a varied and contrasting nature.
In 1988, the artist Joel Moulin initiated new developments and opened the gardens to the public. Today, his family continue the work of caring for a living and changing garden, respecting its intimate, poetic and timeless character.
During our visit to the Garden la Massonniére, which took an hour and a half, we encountered a series of interlinking gardens:
- A French garden with a collection of ornamental clipped yew and box trees
- A wildflower garden and “Basse Cour” with fancy chickens
- A landscape garden of English inspiration
- A traditional «potager» with vegetable beds and orchards
- A woodland garden with a pond
These are interlinked by quiet alleys, stone paved and turf pathways, and divided by hedges to create well-structured, intimate spaces that by turn reveal wide stretches of lawn, herbaceous borders and finely crafted topiaries.
The harmony of these tranquil gardens is further enhanced by the carefully chosen variety of plants, which means we shall have to revisit in other seasons to appreciate the full beauty of la Massonnière garden – if only there were a season ticket!
In recent years, La Massonniere has gained increasing recognition as testified by the many prizes and awards it has received. Among these it has been designated ‘Garden of Note‘ by the Ministry of Culture and the garden is on the supplementary list of Historic Monuments of France.
Practical Information – La Massonnière Garden Opening Times
The Gardens of la Massonniére are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from June to end of September, 13h00 to 19h00.
The Gardens of la Massonniére are west of Le Mans, in the Sarthe department of the Pays de la Loire. The route shown is not the quickest, but we like it because it is scenic.
For accommodation in Pays de la Loire check via our website Normandy Bed and Breakfast