A cloistered garden

The first week we were in France the weather was gorgeous and one of the warmer days coincided with the day we celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary. A day after the actual date, but a cycle-free day so lunch with some bubbles was our plan. One bottle of bubbly down we hatched a plan to have a mini picnic in the pretty garden we'd walked through to get into town.

So with provisions we settled ourselves on one of the benches in what can be best described as a cloistered hedge, with this as our view for the next few hours. 

A cloistered view of Blois

Captivating isn't it?  

Through an archway of hedges

And tranquil too. And here it's easy to see what I mean about cloisters, isn't it?

Arches everywhere

The garden itself was quite formal with oblong beds full of lavender and irises, which were sadly past their best. Not by long, a week or so perhaps. But it was easy to imagine how they'd transform the place. Even as they were dying back though they had a certain charm.

The irises were just past their best

We had the garden to ourselves for much of the afternoon, which was amazing but every so often people would hurry down these stairs, across the garden and down into the lower garden using it as a very pretty cut through to the centre of town. I think it'd be a cut through I'd use regularly too.

Stairs to make a grand entrance

Just imagine the kind of entrances you could make with stairs as grand as these.  Hopefully, most of them upright too!

I decided to see where these people were heading so I followed their path through the upper part of the garden and enjoyed the glimpse of the lower garden. From the top of another set of stairs, I could see the drama of the diagonal hedges alternated with planting.

Looking down to the lower level

As I returned to the cloistered hedge I did find a couple of irises hanging on, not many though.

I did find some iris in flower though

It was wonderfully cool to sit under the cloistered canopy, and the view up was none too shabby either.  

The tree canopy was fantastic and the shade was welcome too

There were more flowers in the lower garden; foxgloves, dahlias, cosmos and more lavender, as well as a pink mystery plant.  

The foxgloves were a welcome sight
a mystery plant, but pretty
A cosmos with some support
The white flower *almost* looked out of place
a flower unfurling

And nestled among all the flowers were vistas to stunning French architecture, and of course the hedges! 

And ah what a view
hollyhocks on the way
Time to move on and we left through the lower part of the garden
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