This book tells the remarkable story of how an English food writer restored a curate's ancient, walled garden situated at the foot of a medieval castle, in a beautiful village deep in the Ardeche region of France, to plant herbs for the benefit of the villagers. The account of how the idea came to her, and how its design - first sketched on a scrap of paper - was given the approval of the village council, leading to the construction of the garden's cobbled footpath and stone bridge over the stream, the discovery of the ancient irrigation system, and eventually the planting of the first herbs, is fascinating. Equally beguiling are the stories from the villagers, of how they collected herbs from markets and mountainsides and now use the many culinary and aromatic herbs that thrive in the Provencal climate. A delightful story for all Francophiles, it is also an inspiring guide for experienced and novice gardeners alike. Accompanying the author through all the stages of making the herb garden, Geraldene Holt's lively and intimate narrative charts the year, month by month, while offering help and advice. Never afraid to hide from her horticultural mistakes or express any subsequent triumphs, she writes evocatively of the village, the Mediterranean climate and the fun of planning and planting a herb garden for others. From a picturesque village in the southern Ardeche comes this delightful portrait of la France profonde. Geraldene Holt describes with humour and understanding how she created a beautiful aromatic garden that is now open to the public.
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