Joachim Carvallo, Spanish-born doctor and medical researcher, was notÂ enamoured by the garden he saw at Villandry in 1908. He sniffily described it asÂ ”landscaped in the English style” - which we can safely assume was not intendedÂ as a compliment.
Medicine was all but forgotten as Joachim spent the rest of his life restoring theÂ chateau and recreating its Renaissance kitchen gardens with old plans, writtenÂ descriptions and archaeological clues as his guides. Thankfully, he had the goodÂ sense to marry an American heiress - an invaluable asset for any early 20thÂ century Grand Designs project.
As far as edible gardening goes, the beds and borders of Villandry you can seeÂ today are as far from a ‘make-do-and-mendâ€™ allotment space as itâ€™s possible toÂ imagine. And the high standards are not just aesthetic. In 2009 Henri Carvallo,Â Joachimâ€™s grandson and the current owner, took the anything-but-small decision
to become organic. Combine the ‘no chemicalsâ€™ rule with miles of gravel pathsÂ and you will have an inkling of the dedication shown by the gardening team. ThisÂ is not veg growing for the faint-hearted.