Les vivaces comestibles et esthétiques du potager par Alix DE SAINT VENANT – Château de Bénouville

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Les vivaces comestibles et esthétiques du potager par Alix DE SAINT VENANT – Château de Bénouville

Edible and aesthetic perennials from the vegetable plot

Why restrict the vegetable plot to “edible” perennials and the flower border to “decorative” ones? Roots, stems, cardoons, leaves, flowers, fruit… a short inventory of what can be eaten AND what can decorate your garden. From Chinese chives to tansies, from purple leaf fennel to costmary, from tuberous glycine to Jerusalem artichokes, let’s rediscover what’s both delightful and delicious!

Alix de Saint Venant


Alix was just 20 when she arrived at Valmer: The gardens’ adornments seem to bask in a medley of 19th century and 1950s’ fragrances. Her study as a landscaper at the École de Versailles and her knowledge of plants were to prove decisive for the restoration and creation of the future Jardins de Valmer. She initially embarked on historic research, unveiling in attics precious old drawings and engravings. She found a watercolour plan dating from 1695 of particular interest. She drew inspiration from it to restore structures and to recreate the fine original proportions of essential elements – alleys, lawns, flower beds, boxwood and topiaries – and, her final achievement was the vegetable garden. Trees are essential to Alix’s family: She grew up in the Arboretum de la Fosse – where her family has been planting rare trees for over two centuries – her father and brother are both great botanic and silviculture enthusiasts. When she arrived at Valmer, which boasts an 80-hectare estate of fine 18th century design, Alix chose to plant new trees and shrubs to complete the site’s existing diversity. Since, a collection of young and rare oak trees has emerged from the soil. In memory of her childhood, Alix has been planting her own arboretum over the past few years. From restoration to creation, Alix incessantly plays on balance, refining the site’s elegance, whilst carefully selecting the best plants to offer a source and a shelter to the garden’s biodiversity, in a genuine quest for ecological equilibrium.

Further reading :
Le potager d’Alix de Saint Venant au château de Valmer, Éditions du Chêne, 2013