Hunting for plants has its rewards

Hunting for plants has its rewards. Dale and I just returned from a week long excursion to Northern France that took us from Angers, located in the center of the Loire Valley, north to the shores of Normandy. This begins the first of a series of short entries designed to make you all envious and jealous. Ah ... but that is the point – if I can convince you to leave the crowds and tourist traps of Paris for the magical French countryside - my job is done. Here you will come to know and love France. Skip Paris, are you mad? Yes I’m serious - think about it – do Europeans come to know America by visiting Los Angeles? I think not, so why not apply the same logic in our own travels abroad.

Guided by a beautiful French speaking woman that repeatedly shouted out “Tournez a gauche,” the handy GPS guidance system delivered us to the small village of Juvardeil located just north of the city of Angers. Here we set our base camp at the Chateau de la Buronniere, a quiet B&B with wonderful off-season rates. It is hard to say what was better, the majesty of the chateau or our sparkling innkeeper Willemien Van der Nat Verhage. Hard bread, dark coffee, and strong cheese greeted us each morning, while cold beer, red wine and assorted appetizers welcomed us home at night.

The Chateau de la Buronniere was, for the most part, built in the late sixteen hundreds, in the era of the Palais de Versailles. Parts of the home date back as far as 1450, and today it has no telephones, television and during our visit no other guests. We felt as if we had stepped back in time. What must it have been like to be the Sybille de la Buronniere, the original family of the chateau, living in such a grand house? Willemien told us that it was common then to entertain and to have numerous friends and guests for the summer months. There were no highways, cars, motels, televisions or x-box - but rather family, friends, food and good wine. Simple conversation, garden walks and fancy balls were the entertainment of the day.

For us, it was the perfect place to begin our plant hunting sorties into the rich Loire valley, home to numerous vineyards, pépinières (nurseries) and le Salon du Vegetal one of the most interesting horticultural exhibitions in Europe.


  1. Hi -
    I write a gardening blog for zone 6b in Muskogee Oklahoma and linked to your blog today.

    Just wanted to let you know.
    Martha Stoodley (Molly Day)
    here's the link

  2. Thanks for visiting and linking to the Plant Hunter Blog.

  3. Just found your blog and hope to read often...enjoy knowing your background experience.


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