Arboretum des Grandes Bruyeres, Loire Valley
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The Arboretum des Grandes Bruyeres is a lovely arboretum whose main features include a North American woodland garden, an Asiatic woodland garden and of course lots of heather - bruyeres is the French name for heather.
The arboretum is located 30 kilometres to the east of Orleans in the heart of the Orleans Forest.
Explore the Arboretum des Grandes Bruyeres
The arboretum was created in 1972 and is now a mature and well established arboretum with more than 6500 trees and shrubs of 1400 species. The gardens are beautifully laid out and there is something to see for every season (though they close in the winter).
As you enter the gardens you will first see a lovely knot garden borded by a long rose tunnel covered in roses and clematis. It is rare to find a garden in France without a selection of topiary and this one is no exception. The arboretum des Grandes Bruyeres has a national collection of 1000 old roses and many are planted in this part of the garden. In June the scent and sight of all these roses is magnificent.
Next to this you find the garden immediately in front of the attractive house and consists of lots of shrub borders under-planted with various annuals and perennials. It is a lovely vista of the house and gardens that is open to you.
From here different grass alleys lead either to the American arboretum or the Asiatic arboretum. There is also a labyrinth and a large potager to explore.
The Asiatic arboretum is beautifully laid out and has a large pond at its centre. The trees include acers, birch, magnolias, oak, sorbus and viburnums. The collection also includes lots of my favourite small trees - flowering dogwoods. In May these lovely trees are completely smothered in white or pink 'flowers' or bracts and are absolutely beautiful.
Grandes Bruyeres hold the national collection of Asiatic Cornus and have 300. They also have the national collection of American cornus and have 200 of these.
A couple of smaller ponds, a pagoda and a chinese pavillion can all be discovered as you walk around this part of the garden.
The American arboretum has some magnificent fir trees as well as birch, hawthorn, walnut, oaks and arizona cyprus. Along with the Asiatic arboretum it also has great borders of heather which add a mass of colour in March/April and in August when the autumn flowering species come into flower.
As well as the collections of roses and cornus the Arboretum des Grandes Bruyeres also has national collections of heathers, magnolias, oaks and conifers meaning there is much to see and to inspire you during your visit. The gardens have been awarded the "Jardin Remarquable" or "Remarkable Garden" status.
The gardens have a policy of not using pesticides and so are a haven for birds and insects.
When to Visit
The arboretum is by the village of Ingrammes in the Orleans forest. It is 30km east of Orleans and 110km south of Paris.
The gardens are open every Sunday and bank holiday from the end of March to November from 10.00-18.00. Weekdays 10.00-12.30 and 14.00-18.00. Prices are 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for 5-12 year olds.
In March and April the magnolias are in flower as are the spring flowering heathers and the many bulbs. May sees the flowering of the american flowering cornus (dogwood) and the rhododendrons. June and July the gardens are heady with the scent of the roses and visually the roses and the asiatic flowering cornus are a treat.
August is the turn of the seasons and the autumn flowering heathers and sedums provide ground colour. September and October brings a blaze of colour as the trees take on their autumnal colours. Particularly striking is the yellow of the alnus incana and the bright colours of the acers, liquidambars, zelkovas and nyssa.
Places to visit nearby
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Address: Orléans, Loiret, Loire Valley, 45000, France || GPS: latitude 47.9917, longitude 2.2142
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Eglise de Notre Dame (Boiscommun): religious monument (13km)
- Quiers-sur-Bezonde: ville fleurie 4* (17km)
- Abbaye de Saint Benoît sur Loire (Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire Abbey): religious monument (21km)
- Fleury-les-Aubrais: ville fleurie 4* (23km)
- Orleans: town of art and history (25km)
- Saint-Cyr-en-Val: ville fleurie 4* (25km)
- Parc Floral de la Source: remarkable garden (26km)
- Saint-Jean-de-la-Ruelle: ville fleurie 4* (27km)
- Olivet: ville fleurie 4* (27km)