Château de Puyguilhem Dating back to early Renaissance times (beginning of the 16th century) Puyguilhem's splendour can easily be compared to that of
the most beautiful Châteaux of the Val de Loire region built during the
reign of French King François I.
and is the best preserved Renaissance style castle in the Périgord. It is the setting of the castle that makes it so special,
forests of the northern Dordogne closing in on the back of the Château
and open meadow to the front. Château de Puyguilhem was constructed in the 16th century and it is
similar in style to those of the Loire Valley. The style has more in
common with the castles of the Loire Valley (far to the north) than it
does with the majority of the Dordogne castles, most of which avoided
the 16th-17th century renovations characteristic of the castles of the
Mondot de La Marthonie, president of the Guyenne parliament in Bordeaux, bought the title of Puyguilhem circa 1510. This noble from the Périgord, legal advisor to Louise of Savoy (mother of the future King Francois I.) became the first president of the Paris parliament in 1515. He gained even greater influence at the court when Francois I. (1515-1547) left to wage war in Italy. It was at that time that Mondot began work on his Château, marking his rise in society.
After his death in 1517, his project was continued by his brother Gaston, until circa 1535. The Château remained in his family until the 18th century, when the Chapt de Rastignacs inherited it.
There were several successive owners in the early 20th century, but the building virtually fell into ruin. It was then bought by the State in 1939.
The style is partly Renaissance and partly medieval. The large round
tower on the right has a Medieval air and is linked to the main part of
The buildings have aligned windows at irregular intervals along the facade. The spiral staircase is in an out-built polygonal tower.
...a stunning and superb construction...
* Building of the castle was in two phases - hence the two styles. From
1514 to 1524 building was largely in the medieval style with distinct
The second phase from 1525 to 1535 added styles similar to those of the Loire Valley,
like the elaborately decorated chimney stacks - reminiscent of Chambord.
There are more sculpted decorations on these upper parts and on the grand staircase pavilion.
-3- The main section set at right angles
is completed with an 18th century wing.
Puyguilhem is characterized by greatly harmonious dimensions, as
can be seen in the main building offering towers and turrets of varied
shapes, and in the facade with all its mullioned windows.
These volumes, which remain in the Medieval tradition, have low-relief rinceau decorations and letter friezes,
the meaning of which is obscure. There are other patterns expressing the favour of the sovereigns, such as the royal lily and the Savoy knot, associated with the widowhood of Louise of Savoy.
Chrétien de Troyes was a late 12th century French poet and trouvére, known for his work on Arthurian subjects, and for originating the character Lancelot. This work represents some of the best-regarded of medieval literature. His use of structure, particular in Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, has been seen as a step towards the modern novel. Chrétien may have named himself Christian of Troyes in contrast to the Jewish Rashi, also of Troyes. Little is known of his life, but he seems to have been from Troyes, or at least intimately connected with it, and between 1160 and 1172 he served at the court of his patroness Marie of France, Countess of Champagne, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine. read more and all here
Eleanor of Aquitaine was the mother of Richard the Lion Heart, Duke of Aquitaine and Gascony, died April 6, 1199, in Châlus - about 45 Km North-East of Château de Puyguilhem.
was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows
when it is summer in the light,
and winter in the shade." ~Charles
Dickens, Great Expectations
Needless to talk long about the weird weather of this year's Spring....! Freezing cold, Siberian winds, snow showers every so often.... ...allover the world! The coldest Spring I can remember, and in Germany it was the coldest March since 1883! Not to mention first half of April! I can count on two hands the sunny days we've had during the last 6 weeks, but when the sun came out and the sky was blue -
what a great pleasure! And it needed only a little bit of sunshine here and there, with some higher temperatures, for the awakening of our garden.
Viburnum carlesii one of our earliest flowering shrub *
While the blossoms of this tree are fading nicely away.... new life is coming up on every corner....
the earliest flowering tulips - can't wait!
* On 26 March it still looked and felt like winter.... but...
.. ignoring the cold - a perfect day for garden work, weeding - digging...
...cutting down a circa 60 year old cherry tree, not all that old.... but it hurts me, the tree belonged to La Pouyette and its history
sorting out the wood....what to keep or.... so difficult for me to trow old wood away
...and then my lovely helper created at the end of the garden
a little bench for me.
*** More weeding....
I nearly hacked into this little one!
A common toad which we call in German Erdkröte, she survived and I've covered her with earth again, but I must admit that I had a little shock! Well, that's gardening... "meeting" all kind of creatures, rain worms, toads, frogs, snails etc... As I have the need to feel the earth in my hands I always work without gloves and really hate to touch with my bare fingers any of these creatures....GRRHH....
but back to weeding... clearing all the beds which were completely overgrown by grass and weeds...
...bringing them back into "order" We don't have all that many flowering perennials, our soil is very poor and full of calcaire (lime), but the few ones, dotted around here and there, are even more special for me. Because they all flower in different times, somehow one after the other, there are always new shoots to discover, to admire, especially during Spring. So exiting!
These Narcissus (Märzenbecher or Easterbells in German) came in full flower - just in time for Easter! * Here are my "Toughies": the Hellebores....
- no matter the weather - they just keep going - since January/February....
* In April: 4th of April A lot of trees and shrubs are still a bit sleeping...
but these two evergreen shrubs of Osmanthus are in full flower, also: "no matter the weather"! OSMANTHUS - Oleaceae Relations of the olive: in appearance somewhere between olive and holly.
Genus of evergreen shrubs and trees, grown for their foliage and small fragrant flowers. Fully to half hardy, tolerates sun or shade and fertile, well-drained soil. Restrict growth by cutting back after flowering. Fragrant fillers rather than the focus of a garden. But pleasing all year round.
Osmanthus (Siphonosmanthus) delavaji Ht, Spd: 8 ft+ - can be cut into shape without any problems from my own experience (in front of the above image)
Osmanthus (Osmarea) burkwoodii dense and slow-growing, height to 10 feet, a bit more tree-like
(in the back of the above image) * Ten days later - 14th of April:
Viburnum carlesii sending out its lovely scent....whenever I pass nearby
* The earliest flowering tulips:
"Ebony Queen" a bit late this year....
but living in such a poor soil for 16 years by now.... and without being "feed"..
...they come up every year...
...so beautiful and reliable - year by year! * A genuine blossoming spring meadow
with thousands of daisies..... "Gänseblümchen".....(little geese flowers)
LOVE IT ! *
This Camelia has survived the winter - just about!
But the white one is suffering....
...suffering from the second hard winter, poor thing! *
A later flowering Narcissus In Greek mythology, the narcissus originated from the drowned youth Narcissus. Another Greek myth finds Persephone, daughter of the goddess Demeter, lured to her doom by the god Hades while picking a narcissus flower
In ancient China,
a legend about a poor but good man holds he was brought many cups of
gold and wealth by this flower. Since the flower blooms in early spring,
it has also become a symbol of Chinese New Year. Narcissus bulb carving and cultivation is even an art akin to Japanese
bonsai. If the Narcissus blooms on Chinese New Year, it is said to bring
extra wealth and good fortune throughout the year. *
'Mexican Orange' * 17th of April....it's getting warmer... just a few degrees...
Choisya ternata - Mexican orange flower Highly recommended rounded evergreen and aromatic shrub. Flowering in early spring and intermittently to December - January.....
"carpets" of daisies and first flower buds on the Judas Tree
Pulsatilla in German Kuechenschelle (kitchenbell) or Kuhschelle (cowbell), a must in every old fashion German Bauerngarten - farmer's garden
The genus Pulsatilla contains about 33 species of herbaceous perennials native to meadows and prairies of North America, Europe, and Asia. Common names include pasque flower (or pasqueflower), wind flower, prairie crocus, Easter Flower, and meadow anemone. Several species are valued ornamentals because of their finely-dissected leaves, solitary bell-shaped flowers, and plumed seed heads. The showy part of the flower consists of sepals, not petals. The genus Pulsatilla is sometimes considered a subgenus under the genus Anemone. Pulsatilla patens is the provincial flower of Manitoba, Canada and (as P. hirsutissima) is the state flower of South Dakota, USA.
Pulsatilla vulgaris is the County Flower for both Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire in England. Pulsatilla vernalis is the county flower of Oppland, Norway.
Pulsatilla vulgaris unfortunately we've lost the blue ones some years ago....
Pulsatilla vulgaris var. alba
Pulsatilla pratensis subsp. nigricans - would love to have this one! It is used in traditional medicine in Europe to treat a range of ailments. In the late eighteenth century, Anton Freiherr von Störck
(1731 -1803), physician to the Austrian empress Maria Theresia, was one
of the first people to attempt to quantify the effectiveness of this
remedy in clinical trials. In his career, Störck investigated medicinal
properties of several poisonous European plant species. Pulsatilla might be able to fight pain, fever, spasms, and bacteria. It also might have calming effects like a sedative. *
some of the peonies are coming up... and
Hostas Hosta ( syn. Funkia) is a genus of about 23–45 species of plants commonly known as hostas, plantain lilies (particularly in Britain) and occasionally by the Japanese name giboshi. Hostas are widely cultivated as shade-tolerant foliage plants. The name Hosta is in honor of the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host. The rejected generic name Funkia, also used as a common name, can be found in some older literature. Hostas are native
to Japan, Korea, and China and were first imported and grown in
Europe in the late 1700’s.
Hostas are edible by humans and are called "urui" in Japanese cuisine. The parts eaten and the manner of preparation differ depending on the species; in some cases it is the shoots, others the leaf petiole,
others the whole leaf. Younger parts are generally preferred as being
more tender than older parts. The flowers are also edible * Hostas are eaten by deer, slugs and snails, which can cause extensive
damage to collections in gardens. Some varieties seem more resistant to
slug damage than others.
Unfortunately our Périgordian snails just love them! So, I only can have my Hostas in pots, placed on a high position, at least a meter off the ground! *
Hellebores are still flowering....yes!
The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other. ~Arthur Rubenstein With the Black Bird's songs every morning and evening, the cuckoo's call during the days.... what could be better than listening as well to Vivaldi's - Spring
performed by Itzhak Perlman and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra * * * A week later - 22th April:
Choisya 'Aztek Pearl' different, star-shaped leaves, also evergreen and very aromatic....
...and with the lovely scent of..
...the semi-wild lilac...
the air is filled with "spring-parfume"
* 24th April:
Finally - the apple tree!
And just like over night - the whole nature is now awake!
* 25th April: My black tulips
"Queen of the night"
Black tulips take you to a land of mystery and elegance. Black tulips
symbolize power and strength. They
are royal flowers that
make you think of misty novel stories, with big castles and foggy
Black tulips are rare and mysterious. They are hybrid flowers, never
pure black, but more deep purple, maroon or wine red in
color. Sumptuous beauties!
They have that hypnotizing royal shade that
your attention and
intrigues you to look closer or to admire more and more intensely.
Black tulips are elusive. They are craved by hybridizers and admired by gardeners. They inspire supreme
elegancy and impose power. Black tulips are beyond belief!
"The black Tulip - La Tulipe Noire" "The black tulip" is also the name of a famous novel by Alexandre Dumas, the French historical novelist, best known for "The Three Musketeers". Set in Holland, it tells the story of the de Witt brothers and their dramatic death at the hands of their fellow countrymen. It can be said that the mystery of the black tulips is truly in the eye of the beholder.
* However - this so called "little" report is getting far too long, somehow I've got carried away.... ....or lost myself in the garden and history. so, I'll continue with the last days of April and the Tree Peonies...