VILLANDRYChateau de Villandry is situated in the Loire Valley of France, 15 miles to the west of Tours. The last of the Renaissance chateaux built, it is the only one remaining with extensive gardens, part of which is the world famous 'potager', an ornamental vegetable garden which attracts in excess of 450,000 visitors a year.
The gardens are an imaginative 20th century recreation of a renaissance castle garden. Great horticultural skill is required to maintain the gardens which include the canal, arbour of grape vines, tree avenues and the parterres of Music, Love, Contemplation and the potager.
Townshend Landscape Architects were appointed to prepare a restoration strategy and on-going programme. This involved considerable research into both the history of the gardens and the way they were constructed, as well as exploring restoration techniques that allowed the garden to remain open at all times while the work was undertaken. Part of this strategy included a retraining programme for all the chateau staff who undertook much of the work, in addition to providing information to the visitors during the restoration period.