The Ornamental Garden – First Salon
The gardens of Villandry adjoin the chateau’s façades. They are split between three levels, each containing a different kind of garden: the Kitchen Garden, the Water Garden and the Ornamental Garden.
Like an extension of the interior salons, the Ornamental Garden is itself divided into salons of greenery. The design of this part of the gardens is the work of Sevillian artist Lozano, assisted by painter and landscape architect Javier de Winthuysen.
Closest to the chateau is the first salon, composed of four beds. In the Andalusian style, its plant structure traces geometric shapes to form the “Love Gardens”.
Tender Love is symbolised by the hearts separated by flames of love in the corners of the square. At the centre are masks which were worn at balls to conceal the face, enabling their wearers to engage in all sorts of conversation, from the most serious to the most light-hearted.
Passionate Love: Still hearts, but this time they are broken out of passion. The clumps of box are entangled to form a maze, further evoking the dance and whirlwind of passion.
Flighty Love: The four fans in the corners symbolise the fickleness of the sentiments. Between the fans are the horns representing betrayed love and, in the centre, the love letters and sweet notes exchanged by lovers. The predominant colour in this square is yellow, the symbol of betrayed love.
Lastly, Tragic Love: The designs represent the blades of daggers and swords used in duels caused by amorous rivalry. In summer, the flowers are red to symbolise the blood shed in these combats.
On the left, in the centre: a design easily recognisable as the Maltese Cross. Behind this cross, to the right, is the Cross of Languedoc and, to the left, the Basque Cross. Lastly are the highly stylised fleur-de-lys lining the moat.
For a good view of the whole, it is best to go up to the belvedere, from where one looks down over all of these gardens.