Discover the Gardens of the Château du Lude by Barbara de Nicolaÿ

Discover the Gardens of the Château du Lude by Barbara de Nicolaÿ

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Of Belgian origin, Barbara de Nicolaÿ devoted her life and developed her passions between old stones and gardens, in the Loire Valley. Owner with her husband of the Château du Lude, she endeavors to perpetuate the tradition of these gardens of the XIXth century since her arrival in 1980. She nevertheless modernizes them gradually, with the help of her landscaping brother, thus transforming the flowerbeds "à la française" in a topiary garden. Today open to the public, these gardens are a real treat for the eyes. Discovery…

What can you see at the Jardins du Château du Lude?

At the Jardins du Château du Lude, you can discover a variety of gardens spread over several terraces, between the chateau and the Cours du Loir: The topiary garden (yew and boxwood) is a regular garden along the river at the foot of the eighteenth wing of the castle. It is dominated by a long terrace from the 17th century, from which there is an admirable view of the Agricultural Park (like an English park but typically French) designed in 1830. The spur garden, redesigned in 1997 for welcome a rose garden dedicated to Chinese and ancient roses, as well as a boxwood labyrinth. At the edge of a wooded park is the spring garden, a sort of rockery from the 19th century around a romantic pavilion. We planted a collection of fragrant winter and spring flowering shrubs there. In the undergrowth, we discover a botanical walk with a collection of rare shrubs (sacococcas, chimonanthus, acers, berberis, euonymus, mahonias etc ...). Finally, a vegetable garden from the 19th century, still cultivated today by our family, also has its place.
Photo credit: Jardins du Château du Lude

How are the gardens designed?

The gardens are designed as a succession of terraces built over the centuries on the banks of the Loir. More regular around the castle, they are treated "English" as we move away. These are pleasure and utility gardens (vegetable garden) which illustrate the close relationship between the life of the inhabitants of the château and their garden.
Photo credit: Jardins du Château du Lude

What are its specificities?

It is a fine example of garden rehabilitation and adaptation to our times. The general configuration established in the 18th and 19th centuries has not undergone any major modification. On the other hand, the constraints of our time called for an adaptation in order on the one hand to reduce the cost of maintenance and on the other hand to respond to a desire to cultivate while respecting the soil and the plants of the soil. This is why the overall plan of the garden is still that of Edouard André, the last great architect to intervene at Lude in 1880. But in detail, certain parts of the garden have been profoundly modified, such as the rose garden which is a contemporary garden .
Photo credit: Jardins du Château du Lude

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get started in the creation of a garden?

Observe the terrain and the plants that grow naturally in the region. Take inspiration from this when choosing plants. Respect integration into the landscape. Get an idea of ​​the whole and from there, develop and plant gradually. Plant young trees! They adapt better to the ground and grow faster than you think. Finally, if it is necessary, call on a landscape architect, because it is a profession that cannot be improvised ... creating a garden is even more complex than building a house.
Photo credit: Jardins du Château du Lude

Can we visit yours?

Yes, the gardens are open to visitors from April to October, as well as on certain occasions in the "low season". The vegetable patch, a private part of the garden, is open on average one weekend per month.
Photo credit: Jardins du Château du Lude

Do you organize special events there?

Yes ! We are organizing the Gardeners' Day, a large gathering of nurserymen, gardening workshops, exhibitions, decoration, which has taken place on the first weekend in June for 21 years! Likewise, for the past 15 years, the first Saturday in June has been held at the Lude for the Pierre-Joseph Redouté literary prize supported by the Jardiland Institute, in a way the "Goncourt" of the garden! Then other activities such as gourmet days, where we make jams over a wood fire in the old kitchens of the castle with all the fruits picked up in the vegetable patch. More info: //