In 1975, the plant enthusiast and experienced farmer Hubert Sainte Beuve decided to buy a nursery in the town of Bernay. The following year, most of these young plants fell victim to a terrible heat wave, one of the worse of the 20th century in Normandy. It was at this time that Hubert's wife, Colette, who until then had not been involved in her husband's work, rolled up her sleeves and joined him in the garden. She and her husband took particular interest in finding rare plants in the UK and bringing them to the Bayeux region for multiplication and sale in the nursery.
Thus began Colette's extraordinary collection of hardy geraniums, which until then had been hard to find in the region and which built Colette's reputation. She also started cultivating lovely varieties of ground covers, herbs, hydrangeas and old roses, then adding low light plants (ferns and hostas) as well as water and marsh plants and decorative grasses to her gardening and nursery palette. Along with seven other nursery owners, Colette was one of the very first participants on the now famous Courson flower show, where she has had a stand since 1982. She has also remained faithful to the perennials show at Saint Jean de Beauregard, and now participates in many other horticultural gatherings and events.
Entirely imagined and designed by Colette and Hubert Sainte-Beuve, the first garden came into being in 1985 along gentle north-facing slope. This garden is in fact eight theme gardens, each enclosed by high taxus hedges and each offering a unique atmosphere from the previous theme. A visitor strolls from luxuriant English mixed borders, to the tranquility of a Far Eastern garden. These leafy rooms are reached by a central wooden loggia, draped with an exhuberant clematis "Majorie".
The second garden - where the visit begins - was designed in collaboration with Parisian landscape artist and engraver François Houtin. This succession of terraces is punctuated by topiary taxus and ends in a small boxwood maze. This second garden has the same overall surface area as its older sibling, yet it is integrated differently into its surrounding natural context. This garden is bordered by a gently sloping path.
Selected as "Outstanding Garden" by France's Conseil national des Parcs et Jardins
du Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication.
Awarded "France''s Garden of the Year" in 2009 by the Association des journalistes du jardin
et de l’horticulture et du Tourisme.