- outside photos -
In Vallery, there may be times for contemplation in perfect harmony with nature. The sycamore with seven trunks, formerly known as the tree of meditation, remembers a flowered huppah dangling in the shade of its celestial branches one sunny afternoon, like an ephemeral canopy. There are many such "green theatres" here to soothe the soul, such as the leafy rose garden, the orchard harbouring two caryatids in stone and moss, a clearing at Buddha’s feet, and the shade of a four-hundred-year-old oak tree.
The rose garden stands on the very spot where the old tithe barn used to be, and has inherited its walls. The fascination exerted by walled gardens dates back to medieval times. The trelliswork in the arched gallery has long since disappeared, as if strangled by the wisteria. Box and hornbeam set the tone in this green theatre, sculpting the landscape.
Dazzling, dizzying and ephemeral actors take centre stage here all year round. They bud and bloom, harbouring the colours and the fragrances of lily, fig, dog rose, clematis, lavender, laurel, honeysuckle, jasmine and hollyhock, and roses from Damascus, Cyprus and Marrakech. Vines tangle and snake beneath the conniving gaze of Bacchus. Crystal waters gurgle skittishly out of his mouth to flow from pool to pool.
Further on stands a string of small gardens known as the Closerie. Each one is a masterpiece dotted with sculptures and proudly sporting parterres of camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas and hydrangeas. It is pleasant to stroll among fragrant plants born of the heath.