Almost nowhere can you find a garden with so much symbology – and nothing more romantic for a Valentines Day post – than the Garden of Love at the Loire Valley Chateau of Villandry, France. this is the sexiest use of boxwood you may ever find. The garden, obviously dedicated to the topic of love, is divided into four sections:
Tender Love (right) Hearts separated by flames, in the center are domino masks worn at balls, which allowed “frivolous” conversations. I cannot comment on what the meaning of the phallic-shaped, ribbed topiaries might be.
Passionate Love (top photo, lower garden) The same hearts, but broken in passion. The areas between the shapes form a maze, representing dance. The colors red, pink & white are in equal amounts here, unlike the abundance of pinks in the Tender Love garden.
Fickle Love (partially seen in lower right in photo) Fans in the corners represent the volatile nature of feelings. There are horns of a jilted lover (in the center of the fans). The center itself represents the letters one would send a lover and contains yellow flowers (you can’t see them in this photo), the color of jealousy.
Tragic Love (partially seen in lower left in photo) this garden shows the blades of daggers and swords used during rival lover’s duals. Here, there are only red flowers symbolizing blood spilled.
Behind the Love Garden are parterre gardens that contain the designs of the Maltese, Languedoc and Basque crosses. Each representing different areas of France. This garden also has the classic French fleurs de lys patterns made of boxwood and flowers.
The whole garden can be viewed from inside the chateau, or from the belvedere (elevated walkway) to the left of the gardens. What looks like a covered walkway on the right, are actually huge grape arbors.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Disclaimer: This is my annual lazy-man’s Valentine’s Day post — sorry for the poor photos of Fickle & Tragic Love. I took these photos almost five years ago, well before I ever considered having a gardening blog. Back then, I was just reading them.