You know how sometimes you come across a place or a person that is so totally delicious you're torn between telling everyone about it or keeping it greedily just for yourself? Well, that's how I feel about Monsieur and Madame de Roumilly and their beautiful château and rose garden.
If it wasn't all uphill, I would cycle to their home, they live in a village just above our valley. His family bought this sweet doll's house of a château many years ago, and have lovingly restored it , and created gardens that people come from afar to visit.
I adore their old greenhouse with it's unusual rounded roof and generous roses climbing all over.
When Madame was creating the gardens, she wanted an idea for planting up a field; she thought of the very catholic theme of heaven, purgatory and hell! Not one to be easily scared, she researched plants worldwide to fit into her theme. The result? A fascinating walk between rose bushes displaying fiery reds and oranges, huge thorns and fierce prickles, a walk through hell. Cross the path of purgatory, lined with 12 yews representing the 12 apostles, and you enter Eden, pastel coloured roses, mostly thorn less, smooth stemmed.
It takes almost 2 hours to walk around the park and gardens. I have done this walk many times in the company of Madame de Roumilly who never seems to tire of telling people about her rose collection, or the origins of the more unusual plants.
These pictures were taken just as their fantastic rose border was coming into flower. Many of the unusual roses are from America, others from Italy
Back at the château I love to chat to the charming owners. Monsieur de Roumilly has always supported his wife's plans for the château and gardens, and through the years has turned his hand to many a project. From rebuilding stone walls to hand painting door panels. The restoration of this lovely family sized château has been a real labour of love.
There is so much more to say, but in the end I have to let the pictures talk for me. Maybe one day you'll come this way and we'll be able to wander around the park together. We'll ask permission to let ourselves in early in the morning - it might mean getting our feet wet in the grass, but it will be worthwhile simply for the joy of seeing colours at their very best.