Friday, 22 June 2012

Clos du Peyronnet, 12 June 2012

Our first visit of the day was to William Waterfield's garden in Menton.  The Waterfield family have been owners of Clos du Peyronnet since 1912, when the present owner's grandparents bought it from a Mrs. Troubridge. To settle in Menton was the choice of William Waterfield's grandmother, Barbara Waterfield, initially they spent just the winters in Menton,  but after a few years they decided to live in Menton permanently.  Clos du Peyronnet is named after the valley in which its stands.  Their two children, Humphrey and Anthony (William Waterfield's father) went during schoolterm to Eton, they would take the then well known "Train Blue", getting on at the Garavan stop near the house and arriving the next morning at Victoria Station.  After his grandparents died during World War II, his father and uncle inherited the property.  They renovated the house, created apartments and during the 1950-1960 his uncle Humphrey re-modelled the garden.   Willam Waterfield, the present owner, studied botany at Oxford and at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  He  came to live in Clos de Peyronnet in 1976.

All of us were very keen to see the garden and we were not disappointed.  Mr. Waterfield met us at the gate and the tour around the garden began.  As we entered the garden we saw Hymenosporum flavum (the Qeensland frangipani):

followed by a very tall Fremontodendron californicum.  This tree does not need any water during summer, in fact it can die from watering during this period:

and Wigandia caracasana:

Phaedranthus buccinatorius with its reddish pink flowers scrambles across the side wall of the property:

Further along the wall were these interesting bows through which the sea was visible:

The Grevillea robusta (Silky Oak)  was in bloom.  This native of Australia can reach a height of 35m:

 as was the Aesculus californica:

Nolina longifolia in flower:

Some unusual Acacia's are to be found nearer to the house, Acacia adunca with its pine like leaves:
and Acacia itiafilla (Willow-leaved wattle):

and Acacia vestita:

A black flowering Salvia was growing on the lawn just in front of the house.  It is called Salvia discolor (min. -2C), very sticky flowerhead, native to Peru.  Several of us were given cuttings.
There a quite a few Salvias in the garden, to name a few:  Salvia canariensis and Salvia buchananii (min.  -3C)

Part of the front of the house is covered by Rosa Alberic Barbier, apparently a disease free rose with creamy white flowers.

What takes your breath away is the Beaumontia grandiflora with large Brugmansia like white flowers, climbing on the side wall of the house:

 together with Petrea volubilis (Indian Glory Vine):
Just a bit further on we came across Romney coulteri (Tree Poppy), a must according to Mr. Waterfield, suitable for our region.  Once established it does very well:

 Above: Geranium maderense, can grow upto 1.5m.

Taxus arches, it takes a long time for them to get them into this shape:

Bauhinia variegata:


Soleirolia soleirolii (Mother of thousands) provides good groundcover, but can be invasive 
(min. -5C):

The walk ascends through steps and meandering paths.  Some views from the garden towards the sea: 

Prunus ilicifolia (Holly-leaved Cherry) grows everywhere in the hills around Los Angeles, apparently the name Hollywood is derived from this plant:

Next to the steps Solandra maxima (Chalice vine):
 and Canarina canariensis:

We came across a member of the Bindweed family, but then in shrub form, called Convolvulus floridus:

The very large conifer, Podocarpus henkelii, given to the Waterfield family by the former owner of Val Rameh, May Campbell, is a specimen from the Southern Hemisphere.  The leaves are very unusual for a conifer:

In the Orchard there are Ficus carica (Fig), Diospyros kaki (Persimmons) and Feijoa's.  The Feijoa (Acca) flowers are rather lovely:

Persea americana (Avocado's), several varieties, to mention a few, Avocado Hass and Avocado Pinkerton.  Apparently the time to pick Avocado's is from October to spring.  They always ripen off the tree:
Psidium cattleianum, Mr. Waterfield called it the Strawberry Guava, tastes like a passionfruit mixed with strawberry:

Annona cherimola (Cherimoya), tastes between a Banana and a Pineapple:
and Macademia ternifolia (Macadamia nut:
 Views from the garden towards Menton:

On the top level Coleonima alba:
All of the sudden you come to a delightful water staircase, a series of pools, one pool tumbling into the next, level to level, to eventually end into a large pool below. The water staircase was created by uncle Humphrey Waterfield, each year another level, when money came available:

 Mr. Waterfield has a large selection of bulbs growing all over the garden:
Dietes Bicolor:

Bulbinella hookeri:

Tulbaghia, the name derives from the South African town of Tulbagh:
and a whole collection of pots with South African bulbs that flower between autumn and spring:
except for Lapeirousia laxa (False freesia):

Hymenocalles harzianum:

Zephyranthus citrina (crocus like): 

A tip from Mr. Waterfield on how to get capers to grow is to put a caper seed into a fig and push the fig into the wall.

Bibliography:  Plant names and plant particulars by Mr. William Waterfield: Vivian Russell "Gardens of the Riviera", RHS A-Z  Encyclopedia of Garden Plants.
Photos:  Gerda, Isabel, Jacqui, Mavis and Rosemary


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