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Even if you’re a keen gardener, twenty-two years of experience here can help you realise your project, bearing in mind the extreme climate and the huge variety of soil types and environment. In two different villages a kilometre apart, different plants will grow, and this is where our knowledge of the area can be helpful.
We have saved customers a significant amount of time and money by formulating the most appropriate project for their garden ie. choosing the right pool and right placing for the environment, site and type of use.
We are based in the Minervois region of the Languedoc, therefore many of the gardens we look after are in this area. However, we do have a broad client base that reach far beyond this catchment area and some of these regions are briefly described below.
The Minervois describes both a range of hills, and a wine-producing area within the coveted zone: Minervois AOC. Minervois produces some of the best wine in the area; good examples are slightly more refined than wines from neighbouring Corbières, due to its kinder, more temperate climate and its clay-limestone soils.
Sun-soaked vines stretch over the hills, interrupted only by sleepy stone villages and outcrops of garrigue-covered rock.
The Minervois is an area contained between the Montagne Noire to the north and the Corbières hills to the south. It forms part of the broad, lower Aude valley that is about 30km wide. The region stretches from the lower slopes of the Montagne Noire - gentle hills yielding the best Minervois wine - southwards in a series of plains and ridges that gradually drop down to the Canal du Midi and the river Aude. The hills are shallower than neighbouring Corbières, and this has allowed for more cultivation over the years. Indeed, this area was populated by Bronze Age inhabitants, and later settled by Romans and Visigoths.
The gardens we look after in this region are mostly either small-to-medium sized village gardens or medium to large semi-rural gardens variously on limestone hillsides, or limestone / clay soils in the lower - lying regions.
It is relatively gentle countryside against a dramatic backdrop of mountains. The pastoral beauty, relative ease of accessibility and wonderful climate have all added to its popularity.
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Languedoc Gardening Index:
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Scale / Size
Terrain / Topography
Above: The dramatic terrain of the Montagne Noire
The Montagne Noire
The Montagne Noire is a chain of mountains rising up to heather-covered peaks of over 1200m. These undulating mountains run from east to west for about 50 km and are the southernmost extension of the Massif Central. At one time, these mountains were enormous - many thousands of metres high - and geological features are testament to the former presence of huge rivers that gouged-out vast caverns such as the Gouffre de Cabrespine, and curling gorges such as the Canyon de la Cesse. Nowadays, these torrents are little more than tumbling seasonal rivers that sink below ground in the summer.
The Montagne Noire is a vast wilderness of wooded hills and valleys. Its climate is wetter than regions to the south, and although the weather can be cold in winter, the cool green valleys bring welcome relief from the summer heat. The climb in altitude results in a broad range of plant species from Mediterranean garrigue to chestnut forests. With the higher rainfall and the absence of chemical herbicides, this untouched area yields a myriad of orchid species and other bulbs.
Such a large, wild area is a precious resource for animals such as wild boar, several species of deer, buzzards, golden eagles and fire salamanders.
The gardens we look after here grow on hard schist rock which often is an emphatic feature of what are sometimes dramatically sited gardens over-looking steep river valleys.
Above: Limestone hillsides and gorges of the Minervois... backing onto the Montagne Noire.
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Above: The rugged and varied beauty of the Corbières.
Whilst the Minervois are a series of ridges and hills that form the lower reaches of the Montagne Noire and slide down towards the Aude, the Corbières mark the point where the land rises up again - often in what seems to be geological chaos - to form the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is a big region - about the size of Greater London - and travelling around these hills can be time-consuming, but for all the right reasons: views to distract, lost hamlets to explore, castles to stumble-upon...
Close to the coast, limestone bluffs cut through garrigue-covered slopes and rise up in great reefs. Sometimes, the limestone fingers take on the appearance of crenulated ramparts. Indeed, at the site of ruined castles it is often difficult to discern what was rock and what was castle, as the building stone gradually returns to its source.
Heading inland towards the Pyrenees, the Corbières rise up and rivers cut their way through narrow, boulder-strewn gorges. The vines and Mediterranean scrub give way to dense, impenetrable forests of oak, green oak and box. Higher still, sweet chestnut, ash, wild cherry and beech can be found.