Category Archives: Wise Women

CLAIRE AND CONSTANCE

On Wednesday we traveled to Vargeneville sur la Mer

On the Normandy Coast

To visit the Mallet sisters

Claire and Constance

And their homes and gardens.

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Claire lives on the family estate

Le Bois de Moutiers

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Built by her ancestors

One of whom was a Haviland.

As in china.

Gardens and china.

I’m in double heaven.

It was designed by the then young British architect

Edwin Lutyens in the Arts & Crafts style.

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It’s a splendid house

A home really.

Unlike many period homes I’ve toured

This one was inviting

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Full of life and light

Streaming into the house

Through large and plentiful windows

And back out with a view of the forest

Leading to the sea.

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The grounds and the gardens

Were designed by Lutyens and the owner Guillaume Mallet

In conjunction with Gertrude Jekyll

The renowned English garden designer

Who brought us the perennial border

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And a more relaxed feel to gardens

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The garden is walled

And divided

With crisp clipped yew hedges.

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There are sweeping perennial borders

Doing what they do best.

Amaze and inspire.

Claire is tall and stately

And ever so gracious

Walking the garden with us

Pruners in hand

Snipping away as she goes.

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She reminds me of my friend Nancy

Elegant

Full of grace.

She tells us the stories of how the home and garden

Came to be.

Of the war years when it was occupied.

Of the art

And family treasures

That have been sold

To help pay for the upkeep of the estate.

When my family was struggling with

What to do with the family farm

Hers was having the same conversation

On another continent.

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From Claire’s home

We traveled to see Constance.

At 85 she gardens 4 -5 hours a day.

I like this lady.

She is shorter

More casual

And fun.

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Her garden reflects her personality

Less formal

Wild in areas

 

And on a smaller scale.

Widowed for 20 years

With both children living abroad

Most of the year

You might think she is alone.

But something tells me

People are drawn to her.

Kristina was.

Constance reminded her

Of  her own spunky grandmother.

They had a long visit

Including a tour of her home

Which is much smaller

More intimate.

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She told Kristina

Her garden was inspired by Gertrude Jekyll

Since she was a friend of her parents

And grandparents.

“She was in the milk of my bottle.”

Constance drank her in

In a sense.

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Gardening is a common bond

Through generations

And across continents.

Gail

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.”

“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.”
Gertrude Jekyll

http://www.boisdesmoutiers.com/index.php

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Garden Planning, Gardening;Perennials, Generations, Monet's Garden, Garden Travel, Trip of a Lifetime, Elizabeth Murray, Perennials, Pruners, Uncategorized, Wise Women

Perspective

Debra's view of the garden house

Debra’s view of the garden house

 

A few weeks ago

My friend Debra came for a visit.

This is not unusual.

She comes often.

Usually we have an agenda.

But this time we had a few unscheduled hours.

And she wanted to take pictures in the garden.

Now, you need to know that Debra loves photography

And…she’s very good at it.

You can easily tell which pictures are hers

And which are mine.

Her avocation photography

Connects to her vocation mammography.

She is trained to see detail.

To look for the smallest speck on a mammogram.

When she finds them.

And unfortunately she finds many.

It’s life altering.

For her patients…for her.

So seeing my garden through her eyes

Makes me see it differently.

In more detail.

Poppy and Poppy Seed Pod

Poppy and Poppy Seed Pod

To relish the small things.

The accidents of nature

The purposefulness of it all.

Now that I’m into my 6th decade

I’m making a conscious effort

To broaden my view.

Not to get stuck where I’ve always been.

To look at things differently.

To value what I’ve known.

But keep looking forward.

To see my world through a new lens.

Through someone else’s lens.

These past few years have been a constant awakening.

Wise women Jane & Betty with Debra

Wise women Jane & Betty with Debra

In many aspects of life.

I know where I’m anchored.

Where I really began to learn this

Was in my garden.

Thanks, God.

Gail

P.S.  You, too, Debra.

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