Interview with Michel Berrou, chief gardener of the Jardin d'Atmosphères du Petit-Bordeaux

Interview with Michel Berrou, chief gardener of the Jardin d'Atmosphères du Petit-Bordeaux

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It is in a small corner of the Sarth countryside, that Michel Berrou started his garden in 1990. Passionate since childhood, he gave birth in his 1.5 hectare totally virgin land a garden where 4000 species and varieties are rub shoulders in perfect harmony. This nature lover gives us his little secrets…

Tell us about your background

Since my childhood, near my grandfather, better than advice, he taught me to love and admire, in silence, together, the beautiful that makes you happy. I believe that the essential is said! If not that, later, I went into a profession that did not correspond at all to my passion that I considered, at the time, to create a garden open to the public, as part of a extravagant whim. Other times, other customs! Consequently, I came, living in Paris, to dream of changing my life and finally of carrying out my project which was tormenting me, always postponed.

Before you get started, how did you plan your garden?

I wanted, above all, a virgin land, without any trees or other plants. A house isolated from noise and, knowing what I did not want, without making a plan, I threw myself body and soul in this business which has started 28 years ago now.

How are they articulated today?

It is a garden of the four seasons that was created here, a promenade garden, an intimate garden, unique in many aspects including the extraordinary richness of plants, made up of 4200 species and varieties. The architecture and the design enliven the relief decor where the association of imaginary shapes and volumes have found balance over time. This park offers all its visitors changing, always surprising paintings.

Do you have a little secret so that all these atmospheres harmonize as well?

In fact, it is perhaps above all about poetry, feelings where especially counts the overall impression, the atmosphere which emerges when one travels through it. The leaves are kings, they allow contrasts and enhance both the silhouettes and the colors.

Finally, what advice would you give to amateurs who wish to embark on such a project?

Get yourself in the right nurseries of favorite plants by respecting, of course, certain rules if they are hardy, if they are suitable for shade or if they do not support the sun, etc. And then, get started! Furthermore, the main quality, in my opinion, is consistency and, therefore, passion will do the rest without forgetting that there will be failures ... In a word, has not the Marquis de Girardin says that "It is neither as a gardener nor a landscaper but as a poet and a painter that landscapes must be composed".
The Garden of Atmospheres of Petit-Bordeaux Adjoining nursery for rare plants 72220 Saint-Biez-en-Belin Tel. 02 43 42 15 30 Opening every day (except Tuesdays not public holidays) from April 3 to November 11: from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. www.jardindupetitbordeaux.fr