|The Warrior Masks at Sericourt, inspired by those of Easter Island|
Just occasionally you walk into a garden that etches itself on your soul. For me, Yves Gosse de Gorre’s Jardin de Sericourt in northern France did just that - as the latest addition to a small, but growing list list of truly memorable landscapes I’ve encountered in my years of garden visiting. It justly deserves its accolade as a "Remarkable Garden" (Jardin Remarquable) of France; is easily reached from the Northern Channel ports of Calais and Boulogne; and is definitely a garden to add to your visiting "Wish List".
|The latest addition at Sericourt - the Renaissance garden - recently added by Yves Gosse de Gorre|
Located in the south of the Pas de Calais region, this is an allegorical garden, which in part depicts the war-torn history of the area through the huge collection of shrubs and trees amassed by its creator. It has been thoughtfully landscaped and planted over the last 20 years to reflect some of the themes that travellers often forget when following the roads that traverse the European ‘Killing Fields’ – for it was here in Picardy and in the neighbouring Somme that so many men lost their lives in the two World Wars.
|The Warrior Garden at Sericourt is filled with clipped topiary symbolising scenes of war|
Yves is a passionate plantsman and runs a nursery next to his ten-acre garden, where you can buy many of the specimens you see on your tour of his personal Eden. The garden is about trees and shrubs and vistas, with a fine collection of topiary and some new “land art” areas. There are carefully placed evergreens in the Warrior Garden (above), intended to look like soldiers lined up and ready for battle; yew hedges clipped in the shapes of human faces; dark tree alleys symbolising death and destruction associated with the two great wars in Europe; and, if you visit at the right time of year, magnificent swathes of poppies and a tunnel of roses that will leave your senses reeling.
|Yves Gosse de Gorre is always adding new vistas to his 10-acre garden|
It's the famous Cathedral of Roses (below) that draws visitors in the summer months, but with the seasons running at least a month behind, there was little evidence of the massed blooms that would normally be on show by now. But this hardly mattered because there was too much else to see at Sericourt and by the time I’d stepped around Gorre's strategically-placed war craters in the ground and admired all the allegorical figures, there was more on my mind than the sweet-smelling climbers that will appear later in the season.
|The cathedral of roses at Sericourt - normally at its peak from late May to July|
Sericourt is easily accessible from the North Coast of France and is well placed if you are heading to Paris or further south, without taking too much of a detour from your route. The garden is open throughout the year from Tuesday to Saturday (9.00-12.00 and 14.00-18.00), but also open in the afternoons on Sunday and Monday from May to October (15.00-18.00). Combine this with the Jardins de Maizicourt (to be reviewed soon) for two very different garden experiences!
Other notable gardens in Northern France include Le Bois des Moutiers, Les Jardins Agapanthe and Claude Monet's garden at Giverny - all previously reviewed here and accessible by clicking on the links.
|The topiary garden at Sericourt|