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Not to be missed:the ornamental Renaissance vegetable garden

In the 16th century, Villandry’s vegetable garden was already renowned throughout the kingdom and several centuries later, thanks to Joachim Carvallo, it has rediscovered its former splendour. From the château, the Renaissance vegetable garden’s symmetry creates an incredible optical illusion, making it look like a magical piece of embroidery.

When Joachim Carvallo began to restore the gardens to their Renaissance glory, he began with the ornamental vegetable garden. With no plans to guide him, he undertook a painstaking study which revealed the Renaissance and monastic influence on gardens in the 16th century.

The vegetable garden was built at the lowest level and near the château, covering around a hectare. The gardener divided it into nine equal squares, separated by large paths covered with Loire sand. Each square is bordered with trellises, and each motif is lined with boxwood. The different geometrical shapes were created by planting vegetables and flowers chosen for their colour to give the impression of a multi-coloured chequerboard. Each square contains a fountain, allowing the gardeners to fill up their watering cans to water vegetables that would have been consumed during the Renaissance period, including cabbages, carrots, turnips, cardoons, leeks, gourds and pumpkins. The plots are replanted twice a year and visitors can admire the spring growth from March to June, or the summer growth from July to November, depending on the season.
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