Meeting with Marie-Paule Guilbault, gardener of the first village in France labeled "Remarkable Garden"

Meeting with Marie-Paule Guilbault, gardener of the first village in France labeled "Remarkable Garden"

Chédigny, a pretty village in the south of Touraine, is not its first reward. In 2013, it was with the new title of "garden village" of the Loire Valley region that it was talked about before being crowned by the national label "Remarkable Garden" in 2014. A great first for a village! In the streets and alleys, more than 700 feet of collection rose bushes rub shoulders with thousands of plant essences, all pampered by a woman: Marie-Paule Guilbault.

Tell us about your background

After having passed a Bachelor of Sociology and then a Master of Information and Communication, I did not find a job in my branch. After the birth of my second child I then embarked on a Bac Pro Landscape Works. A reconversion towards the trades of the landscape to devote myself to my passion: perennial plants. Since 2009, I have therefore taken care of the village of Chédigny.

Photo credit: Chédigny

What is a garden village?

It is a place of life, it is a village. A village where there is a school, a town hall, shops, cars, and locals chatting in the village, it is a garden where you walk, where you see the seasons change. The spaces are organized with a path, the street, plants for all seasons, perfumes, collectible plants. In Chédigny, it is the roses. It is a place that the locals love because it is their "garden" and they like to share it and open it to visitors. It is not a closed garden, but a real living space.

Photo credit: Chédigny

What can you see in the streets and alleys of Chédigny?

Climbing roses set the tone: exuberant vines or wisely trellised climbers, they are everywhere on the facades of houses. At their boxwood foot, trimmed yews give structure to the garden. Perennials are the queens of flower beds, from the most classic such as irises, perennial geraniums, gauras, sage ... to the most original: rodgersia, brunnera, cimicifuga, Cape fuschia ... The whole gives a garden that is between the rose garden and the English mixed border. Water is also enhanced with the stream that crosses the village.

Photo credit: Chédigny

What maintenance does it require?

The maintenance is provided by the municipal staff: a team made up of two assisted jobs in integration, an employee specialized in mechanics, part-time and a team leader (myself) specialized in plants. The mayor is also very present in the field: pruning roses, treatments against black spot and creation of new flowerbeds. Municipal employees are also responsible for the maintenance of municipal buildings and roads. Green spaces represent 90% of working time, and 1.6% of the municipality's budget. No weed killer is used.

Photo credit: Chédigny

Are the inhabitants of the village involved? What are their missions ?

Residents are not asked to maintain green spaces. They are very active in the animation of the village through volunteering for the festival of roses in May and the festival of "mouths and ears" in August. These events are very famous and participate largely in the life of the village.

What new products do you try to bring each year?

Each year, 1,500 bulbs are planted: tulips, daffodils, daffodils, fritillaries ... New perennials are introduced: delphiniums, echinacea ... and around twenty roses are planted every year. The flowered areas extend over 3.8 km but there are still corners to flower.

Photo credit: Chédigny

How did you feel when the village was the first in France to be labeled "Remarkable Garden"?

This label was not part of the initial objectives. It was by showing the garden village to professionals in the garden world that the idea came to light: it was necessary to apply for this label, it completely corresponds to the atmosphere that emerges when one walks in Chédigny. Inhabitants, municipality, volunteers, municipal employees… we are very proud of it. Our garden village is really atypical and the jury of the Jardin Remarquable label knew how to think outside the box and grant us this label in the first year of our application.