Catherine de Medici’s garden is in the Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley, France. The castle, built over the River Cher in the 16th century by Thomas Bohier, General of Finances to the King of France, Francois I. Thomas married Katherine Briconnet (1494-1526), who was the “true” developer of the castle and its original garden.
Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) is the third female owner of the castle, after Katherine Briconnet and Diane de Poitier. In 1533, Catherine de Medici married Henri II (1519-1559) who was the King of France from 1547 to his death in 1559. Henri continued to let his favourite lady, Diane de Poitier, stay in the castle throughout his marriage to Catherine. On his death, Catherine removed Diane from the castle.
While both women lived in the castle, they both had gardens.
Catherine de Medici’s garden, re-created from the original from 1547, is regarded as an “intimate” garden at “only” 5,500 square metres. It is also regarded as a “refined” garden.
The garden looks onto the River Cher with magnificent views of the castle. Its design centres around five lawns, grouped around a circular pond, and dotted with rounded box hedges.
The garden is bordered by a low wall, lined with “Clair Martin” roses that overhang the moat. Standard roses and borders of lavender appear in the garden.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls