An oasis of green tranquility.
THE COURTYARD GARDEN
Situated at the edge of the village of Saint Chartres, our maison d'hôtes is surrounded by the abundant green vegetation of La Vallée Divine. Our land, bordered by the mill race of the Moulin de Seigneurie, comprises approx. 1 hectare and the gardens are laid out to the front and side of the house. The south-facing courtyard garden is arranged in a relaxed formal layout of large central lawn surrounded by ornamental shrubs and flower beds. It is a lovely place to sit back and relax, with trees providing cooling shade on the hottest days. Here we cook outside meals which we often enjoy well into the night around a campfire. The courtyard garden has seen quite a few celebrations and family reunions and we have also hosted a wedding here.
THE KITCHEN GARDEN
In the field to the side of the house, we have created a large potager with vegetable beds, herbs, fruit trees, vines and flowers (read about its development here). We grow our food ecologically by following permaculture principles, which means we do not dig or use any chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, thus working with nature and allowing all life systems to continue and multiply. It also means the intense flavours and wholesome goodness of the fruits and vegetables are retained. Throughout the seasons, the potager provides many of the ingredients for our table d'hôtes meals, with wild mushrooms from the valley and watercress from the river for added interest. Pure and fresh, straight from the garden to the table - it doesn't get much better than that.
THE ANIMAL FAMILY
Different pets and farm animals have lived with us here over the years, but these days we keep the flock a little more contained. We share our home with our loyal black wolf Doug and purring lap warmers and mouse catchers Toffee and Ralphie. Chickens, geese and ducks freely roam the fields and give us all the eggs we need.
The valley creates a tranquil haven for numerous wild animals who come to feed and nest - owls, bats, kestrels, snakes, foxes, martens, roe-deer, wild boar, lizards, coypu, hares, squirrels, all sorts of birds such as colourful little tits, cuckoo's, woodpeckers, swallows, buzzards, jays and numerous different species of honey and solitary bees, butterflies and insects.
You can find more images here.