JOIN HE­LEN YEMM IN PROVENCE NEXT MAY

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - GARDENING -

Provence in May – what bet­ter place to start sum­mer 2019? The dra­matic land­scape will be coloured by irises, cas­cades of Rosa banksiae and wis­te­ria, and bathed in warmer-than-here sun­shine.

My next Box­wood tour, with tour leader Patty Shone, high­lights some won­der­ful pri­vate spa­ces, the work of the re­gion’s most in­flu­en­tial de­sign­ers and gar­den­ers, set among the me­dieval hill towns, the olive groves and vines of the Luberon.

Our base will be two con­trast­ing ho­tels, the stylish five-star Ho­tel d’Europe, in the an­cient heart of Avi­gnon close to the Palais de Papes, and La Co­quil­lade, set among peace­ful vine­yards over­look­ing spec­tac­u­lar open coun­try­side. Both have rep­u­ta­tions for great com­fort and ex­cel­lent food.

We shall visit some of the loveli­est gar­dens of the re­gion, among them the qui­etly el­e­gant town gar­den of de­signer Do­minique Lafour­cade, and we will spend time at La Louve, the beau­ti­ful gar­den of the late Nicole de Vésian, whose com­po­si­tion of sculpted ev­er­greens and greys sits so com­fort­ably in the Provençal land­scape and has in­flu­enced a whole gen­er­a­tion of Euro­pean de­sign­ers and gar­den­ers.

An­other high­light will be Carme­jane, the mag­nif­i­cent an­cient bastide ter­race and cas­cad­ing gar­dens of “Amer­i­caine ex­traor­di­naire”, Frankie Coxe, to­gether with her lat­est project, a per­ma­cul­ture gar­den in the val­ley be­low for the ben­e­fit of her com­mu­nity.

No de­scrip­tion of this ex­cep­tional tour would be com­plete with­out a men­tion of pic­turesque Pav­il­lon de Galon, the charm­ing, slightly ec­cen­tric, to­tally blue­planted gar­den of Guy Her­vais, which will be our last port of call.

The mere prospect of this won­der­ful tour will warm the cock­les of my heart this win­ter, and I hope that plenty of you will be tempted to join me.

To book: Box­wood Tours, Qual­ity Gar­den Hol­i­days (box­wood­tours.co.uk; 01341 241717).

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