Digging for victory

Ardley and Fewcott Gardening Club

Members of Ardley and Fewcott Gardening Club outside Château de Cocove.

Earlier this year, Jean McGarry, Secretary of the Ardley and Fewcott Gardening Club in Oxfordshire, arranged a four-night holiday to France for 38 members to see the gardens of Normandy.

Jean worked with tour operator Crusader-Motts of Aylesbury to tailor-make the trip. She explains, “I researched gardens to visit in the area, then Val Motts, Managing Director, and Carly Raikes, Groups Co-ordinator, put together an itinerary and arranged for us to stay at the Kyriad Prestige Hotel in Touville-sur-Mer, a cosmopolitan coastal town in Upper Normandy.”

Crusader-Motts also handled the transport arrangements. Jean recalls, “We travelled by coach, crossing the Channel with Eurotunnel.”

Once in France, the group visited Le Bois des Moutiers, a very interesting estate in Varengeville-sur-Mer, as Jean explains, “The house and gardens are an example, unique in France, of the partnership between architect Edwin Lutyens and garden designer Getrude Jekyll.”

Over the next few days, the club travelled across Normandy, visiting Château du Cannon and Jardins Du Château de Brécy and the 12th century Benedictine abbey, Saint Georges de Boscherville. To incorporate the First World War centenary into the trip, Jean also took her group to Ranville War Cemetery in Lower Normandy and, before heading home, the group enjoyed a special 30th anniversary lunch at the restaurant Château de Cocove in Recques-sur-Hem.

On touring gardens across the continent, Jean says, “The soil and climate of France differ to that of the UK, so it’s fascinating to see the differences between the gardens of each country. Thank you Crusader-Motts for putting together such a fantastic and enjoyable trip!”