Updated on 27 July 2021
Reading time: 3 minutes
For many keen gardeners and nature lovers, the visit of a local garden is a true highlight of any trip away. This goes for Normandy of course. But a night-time tour is a rather unusual and eccentric way to explore the wonders of a garden. Right?
As a horticulture enthusiast, I am truly passionate about plants… my friends have even nicknamed me ‘Maryse Green Thumb.’ With my husband Jean-Pierre, we enjoy combining our love of the outdoors and our appreciation of picturesque gardens whenever we travel to different destinations. Garden tours give us the opportunity to live our passion all over the world! On this occasion, we don’t have to travel very far for our wonderful botanically-themed night-time adventure as we live in Normandy.
A skillfully-mastered ‘mini jungle’
The celebrity flower of this garden is obviously the Agapanthus, this beautiful border plant that produces large spherical flowerheads, usually in shades of blue and purple, known as the ‘Flower of Love.’ On arrival, we discover exotic looking plants for a jungle-style garden look! We are warmly greeted by the owner of this private haven of greenery, Alexandre Thomas, the landscape architect who takes full advantage of the climate to nurture his exotic plants. Dotted around the place, benches and outdoor furniture invites us to take a contemplative break and enjoy the richness of his botanical collection.
A passionate gardener
Alexandre, the passionate nature-lover discovered his love for plants at a very young age, considering a garden like an interactive playground that engages all of his senses. He tells us about his vision of a dynamic garden, how he imagines his garden in perpetual movement and how he spends active time gardening and connecting to nature. He also confesses one of his dreams has recently come true: opening his garden for nocturnal tours! As a number of visitors gather for the visit, Alexandre happily answers all the questions about his ambitious project with a joie de vivre that is typically French. He explains to us that he works collaboratively with a light designer to create a special lightning for this unique place and make the most of the darkness.
A magical night-time tour
Night has fallen. Our senses are keenest at night: the sights, sounds, smells and feel of the natural environment. We start venturing around the garden that has literally transformed itself into another world. The ‘strategic’ places are well lit, there is no risk of falling. Some places are a little darker, which adds to the mysterious atmosphere and the fantasy of the garden. In silence, we pay a lot more attention to noises. We can hear the sound of steams flowing through the garden and the leaves rustling. Some of us feel the need to touch the stone walls and the trees as eager collectors of wild stimulants. The night brings along a very different way to experience the intimate, fragrant garden’s changing moods and distinctive atmosphere. We thoroughly recommend this romantic night-time walk through the exquisitely curated garden with a loved one or your family.
The Jardin d’Agapanthe is located in the small town of Grigneuseville, north of Rouen. Its name refers to the street on which it is situated.
1 impasse Agapanthe, 76850 Grigneuseville
€35 per person, reservation only
Dates and times may be subject to change.