Guernsey is a haven for garden and gardening enthusiasts and, because the climate is that bit warmer than the mainland, there is a vibrant history of horticulture that lead to wide exportation of tomatoes, freesias and others.
We have already described some of the larger gardens on the island – see our pages on the Candie Gardens, Sark’s La Seigneurie Gardens, The Victorian Walled Garden at Saumarez Park and the gardens of Sausmarez Manor – below we highlight some of the best of the rest!
Les Cotils Gardens
Les Cotils is a country house hotel that sits within 12 acres of land. Once a convent, then a school and a hospital, the building is now an ecumenical centre “for retreats, conferences, counselling and hospitality for groups and individuals”. Les Cotils’ garden won the Floral Guernsey St Peter Port Gold Award in 2012 and it is easy to see why.
The gardens have a fantastic view across St Peter Port, its harbour, Herm and beyond. There are leafy walkways, walled and kitchen gardens that are sprinkled with benches so you may sit and enjoy the shade from 400 year old oak trees.
Hautville House Garden
The Guernsey home of Victor Hugo is not only known for its interior and its owner’s writings. The gardens of Hautville House have also been renovated by the City of Paris who now owns the property. This includes the writer’s United States of Europe Oak which Hugo planted in 1870, the Bench of Contemplations, and a fountain.
Other features of the formal garden are a kitchen garden and fruit trees. While the guided tours in the house are charged, and definitely worth the money, a visit to the garden is free of charge.
La Petite Vallee
La Petite Vallee is a private garden in St Peter Port and is open by appointment. It is so well regarded that it is included in many of the excursions from the cruise ships that visit the island.
The garden has a range of exotic and traditional planting. It includes 4 herbaceous borders, a woodland walk and a bog garden all on terraces and slopes leading down to the sea. The owner has also developed her garden to include “hidden areas”. Definitely worth a visit!
Les Videclins is a 200 year old Castel Farmhouse thath is surrounded by fields and woodland, but its garden has a distinct identity that separates it from the trees and green expanses that litter the island.
There is manicured lawn that surrounds the house which contains borders full of roses, grasses, tender shrubs and other flowers that emerge throughout the year so a visitor has something to see whatever the season. Your visit will also take in a patio garden, a croquet lawn, greenhouse, wild garden, potager, woodland walk and a wild meadow that meets a stream.
Mille Fleurs has been featured on BBC Gardener’s World and have welcomed a number of garden celebrities including Toby Buckland and Fergus Garrett, which illustrate how well thought of the garden is by the gardening community.
Loved the garden... lovely, informal, full of charm - and intimate
The 2 ½ acre garden is situated in St Peters within the grounds of a large farmhouse and 3 self-catering cottages for visitors.
Like La Petite Vallee, the planting is a mixture of exotic and traditional. The planting around the cottages tends towards the traditional. There are roses, and other herbaceous plants, and scented honeysuckle and jasmine frame the doors. In addition there are vegetable patches that provide vegetables, flowers, as well as fruit to the visitors (wild and paying guests alike!).
Beyond the self-catering accommodation is a bog garden and a tree fernery. There is a natural spring which feeds into 3 ponds so the owners have been sympathetic to the area and chosen to plant the area with moisture loving plants and plants which can be enjoyed by frogs, dragonflies and other water based animals.
Mille Fleurs was featured in an article in a recent edition of Country Life magazine, where it was described as
A plant enthusiast’s paradise
so if you are, indeed, a plant enthusiast you’ll love this little piece of Guernsey paradise!