(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on August 17, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)

The ‘Jardin de Boissonna' is situated in a charming part of France (actually most places in France are charming of course...) more precisely in Baleyssagues, a tiny village near the small town of Duras, in the Lot et Garonne which is grossly the South-West of France, in the vicinity of Bordeaux for those of you who indulge into wine, a number one product of this area. Even more precisely, the GPS location is N44°40.477' and E0°08.950'. The garden was created in 1998 by Georges Beylard, a retired oenologist engineer who also planted whole forests of hazelnut trees all around the garden. He is a dedicated plants lovers with a special interest in roses and managed to transform a piece of land surrounding the house into a very relaxing and delicious garden. Image

This garden has a global flower shape when seen from the sky, the central alley being the main stem and petals develop on both sides. ImageThe petals are cut across by numerous windy paths which lead to different parts of the garden and allow the visitors to enjoy the various sceneries and species. As many as 450 different roses grow here so there will be shapes, colours and perfumes to meet everybody's specific tastes, from old botanical roses with masses of small flowers blowing like fireworks on the dark foliage to big showy modern hybrids. You can first have a stroll using just your eyes and enjoy all the different colours and subtle shades that roses petals are able to display, then close your eyes and have a ‘nose stroll' enjoying all the various perfumes and smells available, just beware not to get your nostrils stung by one of the laborious bees working here and there! The garden is not arranged as a traditional formal French garden with straight alleys and meticulously pruned boxwood shrubs but in a most natural way, much more in the English garden spirit. Therefore roses are intertwined with other plants such as lavender, irises, columbines, horsetails, fennels, rosemary, rose mallows and different grasses which give a feeling of wild nature while an expert eye can see the whole work and thoughts behind it. Trees are also present with some huge linden trees, cedars, walnuts, apple trees, all hosts to numerous birds and squirrels. Large stone slabs and wooden benches, garden chairs and trunk slumps are available for the visitors who want to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and have a small rest before discovering more.

Image George's daughter, Véronique, is the one who will guide you through the garden, skilfully explaining the different parts and attracting your attention to some tiny details. She has spent many years in Great-Britain and is therefore fluent in English, a not so common thing in France and much appreciated by foreign visitors who do not all master Moliére's language. She will also offer tea in the garden for a small fee, you will probably not be too surprised to know that this is not straight black tea but rose tea, accompanied by hand-made scones possibly topped with roses jam for the sweet teeth. Free visiting without reservation is also possible everyday from May to October. Free visit is 5€ per person, visit plus tea and sweets is 10€. A bell at the entrance of the garden is to be vigorously shaken to make yourself known, in case nobody shows up you can proceed to visiting, an honesty box it hung for the fees, people under 18 years old get free entrance. Best time for the garden is of course in spring, say May-June when most roses are blooming but it is attractive even at other times.

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And if you happen to be on a bad day or have crooked your back while selecting wine bottles in one of the numerous cellars of the surroundings, you may take advantage of the fact that Véronique's husband, Christophe, is a licensed osteopath practitioner who runs his cabinet in the garden's house.

For more data and pictures you may start with a virtual visit at http://www.jardindeboissonna.com/lejardin/index.html Image