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Eclectic, surprising, romantic, unconventional ... There is no shortage of epithets to describe the garden of Berchigranges, cultivated with love for over twenty years by Monique and Thierry Dronet. The couple - in the garden as in life - created this formidable green space step by step composed of several themed plots. Over the years, the old granite quarry has turned into an opulent garden, the fruit of meticulous work: it now houses more than 4,500 varieties of flowers, trees and shrubs which coexist in all harmony along the mountain slopes. Thierry and Monique Dronet agreed to answer our questions as a duo, during an interview that was as joyful as it was instructive!
The Berchigranges garden was born out of your bond and your passion for plants, tell us about its beginnings…
Monique Dronet: We met at a plant fair. I was then a nurseryman and Thierry gardened during his free hours. Very quickly, we wanted to live in a corner of nature. After much research in the Vosges region - where we come from - we finally unearthed an old quarry with several lots for sale around. But despite the opportunity that this acquisition represented, we were aware of the work that awaited us afterwards… We had indeed to handle tons of granite, fell more than 3000 spruces, and bring back thousands of cubic meters of topsoil ! Little by little, the garden took shape over the course of plantations and experiments. Because you have to know that we do everything ourselves - constructions included - without any outside help!
How do you distribute your tasks on a daily basis?
Thierry Dronet: We are lucky to be very complementary in our know-how and tastes! For my part, it is the "sculpture" aspect that fascinates me the most. Like a theater set, I like to play with volumes and natural forms to create harmonious and structured outdoor spaces. Monique has the talent of knowing how to assemble colors, like a real painter. We therefore use his sensitivity to choose the plants, which I then grow according to my ideas.
Describe your "garden of wonders" ...
MD: Both of them having very different tastes in terms of exterior design, the Berchigranges garden has a thousand and one facets! I like the sophisticated and falsely wild aspect of English gardens, while Thierry is rather attracted by the more structured spaces. Without ever having thought about our projects upstream, we have laid out each place based on our sensitivity and our instincts. The visitor thus traverses on three hectares several small thematic gardens (the cool garden, the rain garden, the cottage garden ...) as well as more "constructed" routes such as the large rock garden or the path of the great world. Our goal has always been to appeal to the public, as much by the smells as the colors or the sounds of nature. Like a novel, the Berchigranges garden is full of surprises, which walkers discover chapter after chapter… More info on //www.berchigranges.com/