Les Jardin du Plessis Sasnieres

On every tour there is a shining moment; one so sweet you can hardly believe your good fortune. A matter of chance rather than plan, it sticks with you, not just for days but for years. On the recent trip to France, that magical moment came on a visit to Les Jardin du Plessis Sasnieres.

We had left the charming gift shop, filled with tea towels and china frogs, to climb the Magnolia Walk on a hillside above the heart of the garden. Rosamee Henrion, the garden’s owner and designer, as well as our guide, provided a historical narrative as she led us up the path that would lay the garden at our feet.

Rosamee at the gift shop of Les Jardin du Plessis Sasnieres.

Rosamee at the gift shop of Les Jardin du Plessis Sasnieres.

View from the Magnolia Walk.

View from the Magnolia Walk.

Comprising roughly 7 acres, the garden has been Rosamee’s life work. It evolved without a set plan. “If something is missing, I ask myself, ‘what do I think would look good,’” she told the group. She has learned by trial and error, noting “that’s the best way, I think.”

The two homes near the small lake were built in the 14th and 15th centuries. The ornamental garden is maintained by one full time gardener and one apprentice, a sixteen year old, newly arrived to learn the trade. Rosamee’s third son and his wife cultivate the kitchen garden.

The soil is chalky. Winter was long, wet, and cold. Spring was late. “Two weeks ago, there were no blooms, not a single rose.”

Overlook from the Magnolia Walk, with the Walled Garden in the far distance.

Overlook from the Magnolia Walk, with the Walled Garden in the far distance.

At the crest of the hill, we pause to admire, and then begin the descent that will provide a closer look. We stroll past the ruins of the well house, the homes, and the Mediterranean-like gravel patio, stopping to meet the dogs and to learn about a special hydrangea. Then we move on along the perimeter of the lake, pause to take in another magnificent view, and continue our stroll towards the walled garden.

A closer look...

A closer look…

View from stroll to the Walled Garden.

View from stroll to the Walled Garden.

One last tuck through a yew hedge topped with topiary, past beds of peonies and then roses, fragrance and flowers at every turn, then we approach the threshold of the gate.

It’s an Alice moment; real and surreal…breathtakingly beautiful.

Pleased but too experienced, too modest, perhaps even too wary of nature to take full credit, Rosamee smiles and nods appreciation at our enchantment.

“I only have plants that are happy with me,” Rosamee explains. “I don’t have time to put a scarf on them in winter or a sunhat on them in summer.”

And there it is. A blue-sky day. A circle of friends. An extraordinary garden. A telling, down-to-earth philosophy. An unforgettable moment.

The Walled Garden

The Walled Garden

Last glimpse on departure.

Last glimpse on departure.

17 thoughts on “Les Jardin du Plessis Sasnieres

  1. Elaine

    Beautiful Marian, and so peaceful. Thank you.
    nice to see you at convention with so many lovely memories. :

  2. pbmgarden

    Thanks for sharing your visit. This garden brings out a deep sigh of contentment just looking at your wonderful pictures. How nice to have had the owner/designer be your guide.

  3. Sharon

    This was fantastic!! Each new article you write about our trip make me think “this is the best article”‘ then you surprise me with the next one! Your photos are incredible!

    I have already been asked to do two programs, one for Master Gardeners and one for DAR/Colonial Dames 17thCentury. It will take me a while to get them together.

    Have a great 4th week! Sharon Lanier ,

    Sent from my iPad

  4. Anne Martin

    Beautiful images & delightful narrative…………….I feel as though I was right along with y’all ……….Thanks for sharing

  5. Joyce Moore

    You should now write a garden book about all these lovely gardens experiences. You bring the readers right into each event.. Joie

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Hey Ed! I still need to make a trip to see your garden! Hope the rain is keeping you happy. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a summer like this one!

  6. karen matuszak


    Thank you so much for the tour of this beautiful garden. I felt like I was walking along with you.

    Also, I want to thank you for your Monet tour and blog. I ESPECIALLY enjoyed the link to the indoor rooms that one cannot capture in photos. We toured it in 2007, so I thank you for the “refresher course”! I’ll save it and revisit it many times!

  7. Carolyn Jones

    I would love to start all over again!!! I am enjoying the posts and sharing them with my Charleston Friends and Martha More later. Wayne is in W VA this week so I will have time to write my thoughts for what they are worth. Carolyn


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