Les Jardins de la Mansoniere visitor guide

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The Jardins de la Mansoniere is a lovely garden set in the beautiful village of Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei.

The gardens developed around a charming stone house bought by Philipe and Michele Manson in 1986. Their love of gardens and gardening meant that the garden gradually grew in size and scope and became a series of garden rooms with a particularly English-garden inspiration.

Philipe and Michele have now opened their charming garden to the public for garden visits.

One of the first gardens you see as you enter the gardens is the rose garden. A relatively formal garden with rose arches over a straight path with a view towards a statue and borders edged with box hedging and filled with roses and herbaceous plants to the side.

Rose garden of the Jardins de la Mansoniere


From here the garden leads through a 'moon garden' with a colour theme of whites and blues and plants shaped into round shapes, and on into the 'calm garden'. Here the garden has a distinctly Japanese theme with cloud-pruned trees, water, gravel, acers  and various Japanese-themed ornaments.

Calm garden of the Mansoniere gardens


A scented garden follows and seats allow you to relax and soak in the delicious perfumes of the plants. When I visited in May the roses were just beginning to flower and their delicious scent wafted through the garden.

Scented garden of the Mansoniere garden


One of the most dramatic of the gardens is the patio garden - see the main picture. The formal pattern, sculpted shapes and emphasis on golden foliage and yellow flowers is set off well by the row of stone columns. A raised seating area allows you to stop and admire the views.

Patio garden, Les Jardins de la Mansoniere


Behind the house the 'garden of contrasts' has a lovely long herbaceous border where golden foliage contrasts with darker leaved plants and bright blue flowers. This garden was coming into its own in May but was full of young growth ready to pack out the border in a month or so. On the other side of this area the English-style border is contrasted with a selection of clipped and shaped topiaries.

Garden of Contrasts


The garden then meanders through a long tunnel of purple hazelnuts, a gothic garden and a potager and eventually comes round to a large lawned area edged with interesting trees and shrubs and a gazebo.

Green Room of the Mansoniere Gardens


To finish off your stay head to the Salon de Thé where you can sit outside and savour the scents and atmosphere of the garden whilst enjoying a cup of tea and cakes. There is even a small plant sale area.

Les Jardins de la Mansoniere Opening Hours

The gardens are open from 11 April to 31 May, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 14.30-18.30

1 June to 31 August, Wednesday to Sunday, 14.30-18.30

1 Septeber to 21 September, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 14.30-18.30

The gardens can be found by following the signs from the village of Saint Ceneri le Gerei in the Orne department of North-west France.

Places to visit nearby

Whilst you are here be sure to visit the village of Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei - it is one of the most beautiful villages of France and well worth the time to stroll through its quiet streets. You can also explore other French gardens in all areas of France.

You can find more travel ideas in the Orne guide and the Basse-Normandie guide.

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The French version of this page is at Les Jardins de la Mansoniere (Francais)