The Exotic Garden of le Kestellic is on the same bank of the river Jaudy as Tréguier, a couple of miles down-stream near Plouguiel in the department Cotes d’Armor.
Unlike the gardens of Kerdalo close by, there is no gentle grassland here. The manor-house and gardens cling to steep pink granite cliffs, making the gardening especially challenging, while rewarding the visitor with excellent views out over the river and surrounding countryside.
The Jaudy is tidal and Le Kestellic looks its best at high tide. The gardens are south-facing and sheltered by woodland from cold winds, allowing even tender plants like cacti to flourish.
This lovely spot became the home of the late Marquis Yan de Keroüartz in 1947. From 1967 onwards he began collecting rare plants here, including proteas, orchids and tree-ferns, as well as cacti. Perhaps he was inspired by Peter Wolkonsky’s ambitious projects across the water at the garden of Kerdalo.
The Marquis’s son, Gaël de Keroüartz, continues the tradition today, and has extended the collection along the sheer wooded slopes. You can wander through Mediterranean, temperate and humid zones, passing through tree-ferns and native woodland right down to water’s edge. The manor-house, covered in yellow rambling roses in summer, commands a stunning view up-stream to Tréguier and beyond.
Open: 15 April – 30June: Monday & Wednesday 2pm- 5pm
1 -14 July & 16 August – 15 September: Monday, Wednesday & Friday 2-6pm 15July – 15 August: Monday – Friday 2-6pm; all year by appointment for groups. tel. 0033 (0)6 73 84 00 15
Ticket Prices (as at 2015) Adults €7, Children €3
GPS: Latitude : 48.799403 / Longitude : -3.226131
Jane Gifford is a writer and photographer specialising in travel, garden, wildlife and environmental issues: janegifford.net