This is Lawrence Johnston's French garden. Best known for making Hidcote in England, Johnston was a wealthy American. He employed a dozen gardeners to maintain the large plant collection and brought plants from around the world, including Burma, China and South Africa. As at Hidcote, the garden is divided into compartments with hedges and walls. Jardin Serre de la Madone occupies an area 9 hectares with a terraced garden and a Mediterranean forest. The terraces are supported by low stone walls and have pools and statues. The climate is exceptionally gentle and sunny, so that many tender and exotic plants can flourish. It is twinned with Hidcote Manor Garden, also designed by Johnston. The garden is near Menton and 3 km from the Riviera. It was designed in 1924 and changed hands several times after Johnston's death, falling into a period of neglect. The Conservatoire du Littoral acquired the garden in 1999 and launched a restoration programme, led by the botanist Pierre Augé and the landscape architects Arnaud Maurières and Eric Ossart.
Another spectacular Menton garden, but very different from Val Rahmeh. Currently undergoing restoration, but still worth visiting. You wander first through terraces ablaze with agapanthus, and then the rest of the gardens unfold in front of you. Can't wait to see how the restoration progresses - this is a lovely garden and not to be missed!
Completely agree, Les Serres de la madone is one of the most beautiful gardens of the riviera. I just went again last week-end, but may is a little late. I think begin of April must be the best time.
Hidden up a road out of the back of Menton is this gem of a garden. I went in August, probably not the best time as everything was suffering from the dry summer, but for all that there was enough structure and some flowers and an abundance of exotic plants to make it charming, peaceful and leisurely. I imagine in the early summer or spring it would be quite stunning.
C'est le plus beau jardin de la Riviera.
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