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Interview with Simone Rivaton, gardener at the Jardin des Vieilles Vignes

Interview with Simone Rivaton, gardener at the Jardin des Vieilles Vignes


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Many villages in France are home to unexpected wonders. This is the case of Valay, in Haute-Saône, where the Jardin des Vieilles Vignes is created, created by Simone Rivaton. Completely open to the surrounding countryside, this beautiful landscaped area of ​​4500m2 was entirely designed by its owner, who put all her energy into the service of nature to the delight of those around her and visitors. Everyone recognizes that the magic of the Old Vines, with their 300 varieties of trees and shrubs, operates from the moment we enter the property ... We met Simone Rivaton, self-taught gardener, who spoke to us with passion of his daily life in his Garden of Eden.

How did you manage to create the Jardin des Vieilles Vignes without outside help?

I have always had a passion for gardening. My father, a nature lover, told me many secrets about plants when I was little. When we decided to leave Lyon with my husband to go live in the countryside, I was finally able to express all my desires for plantations and landscape creations! I wanted a house entirely surrounded by greenery, without being able to park nearby so as not to spoil the view. We finally found our happiness in Valay, and it took me almost 40 years to manage to arrange the garden as it is today. I put a lot of energy into it of course, but I am fortunate to have a husband who helps me enormously for the pruning of trees, a task which still represents most of the work to be done during the year.

Do you have preferences among plants?

As strange as it may seem, I prefer trees and shrubs to flowers! I obviously planted several flower beds in the garden, but only in order to enhance the surrounding trees. My preferences also go towards the rarity of plants: the more difficult they are to find, the more I like them! Going through plant fairs is also one of my gardening pleasures…

If you only had to keep one plant in your garden, which would it be?

Without hesitation, the horn! It is a plant which has aesthetic advantages throughout the year: pretty flowers in spring, small red fruits during summer, a beautiful coloring of the foliage in autumn and a remarkable bark in winter.

Have you been inspired by other gardens?

Like many gardeners, I like to visit the gardens of other enthusiasts! I had a lot of emotions when I walked the paths of the Bois Marquis garden in Vernioz, but also while visiting the Vasterival, botanical garden created by Princess Margareta Sturdza.
Garden of the Old Vines 7, rue du Château Neuf 70140 VALAY Tel: 03.84.31.53.55

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