Gardening advice

A team of ten gardeners maintains the gardens of Villandry daily throughout the year. In this section, gardening enthusiasts have access to expert advice from our head gardener, Laurent Portuguez, published season by season.

The lime trees in the Villandry gardens

The lime trees in the Villandry gardens

The virtues of the lime tree have been known since the Middle Ages. They are planted near hospitals, purify the air and have a calming effect when taken as a herbal infusion. The lime is a ...

Woolly apple aphid

Woolly apple aphid

Looking at the apple cordons planted in our kitchen garden, once the leaves have fallen, we have sometimes discovered whole branches covered with a blanket of cotton as white as snow. Colonies of ...

Hornbeam hedges

Hornbeam hedges

Our French formal gardens are made up of clipped plants that form an architectural structure all year round. In addition to box shrubs and yews, hornbeams became a favourite of 17th century ...

Prune to prevent the rose plant

Prune to prevent the rose plant

Prune to prevent the rose plant from losing its lower leaves and to renew the shoots so as to ensure exceptional blooms all year round. March is the best time of year to prune rose plants, ...

The main enemy, the common garden snail

The main enemy, the common garden snail

Slugs and snails have the same purpose: to devour seedlings, soft leaves, and sometimes fruits and roots. Their gluttony takes place mostly at night and in wet weather; at Villandry, the damage ...

Apple scab

Apple scab

Spring has barely started, but it’s already time to think about the late summer and autumn harvests. To ensure we can enjoy apples and pears picked fresh from the tree, we have to keep a watchful ...

Spring cabbage… and the cabbage fly

Spring cabbage… and the cabbage fly

We starting sowing spring cabbage in our heated greenhouses on 7 February 2012. Two varieties this year, starting with ‘Précoce de Louviers, a traditional variety with an elongated pointed head. ...

Mowing the lawns

Mowing the lawns

Spring is finding it hard to settle in this year: the rain and the cold temperatures are preventing us from enjoying the gardens as we would like. Leaf growth is late, and the vegetables in the ...

The yew topiary at Villandry

The yew topiary at Villandry

When the gardens at the Château de Villandry were created, Joachim Carvallo planted yews (taxus baccata) in order to form topiary according to the French tradition. 162 yews were distributed ...

Roses, Black spot

Roses, Black spot

This disease is caused by a fungus called Marssonina (or diplocarpon) rosae; the symptoms appear quickly starting with black spots on the leaves, followed by yellowing and finally premature leaf ...

Eco-friendly garden

Eco-friendly garden

Villandry Castle, symbol of French style gardens, today shows that carefully maintaining an outstanding garden can be compatible with eco-friendly methods. At the end of 2008, we decided to stop ...

The orange trees

The orange trees

Villandry respects the tradition of the great châteaux by placing 10 clementine trees at the foot of its tower in Versailles planters. The fashion for citrus dates back to the fifteenth and ...

Weed removal, alternatives to chemicals

Weed removal, alternatives to chemicals

“Weed” is a subjective term, and all plants have their place in nature. However, our gardening culture requires us to remove unwanted plants from our terraces, paths and kitchen garden. How ...

Lawn maintenance

Lawn maintenance

Every garden should have a square of grass – a space for relaxation, play and colour which, alongside beds of flowers, adds contrast to the garden. But keeping your lawn beautiful requires a ...

Protecting your box hedges from attacks

Protecting your box hedges from attacks

An essential feature of French-style gardens, box hedges are ideal for marking out the borders of a flower bed or kitchen garden. At Villandry, our kitchen garden is bordered by seven kilometres ...

Protecting trees and bushes in winter

Protecting trees and bushes in winter

Autumn is drawing to a close and the last leaves are falling, but there are still jobs to do in our gardens. This period is vital in the preparations for next spring. No time to rest – as soon as ...