We left the green at 7am on Friday 27 May, passed under the Channel (La Manche) and collected Johan, our Guide, from the terminal at Calais.
Then on to Honfleur for a quick tour and refreshment (the th/first of many…)
We visited Le Jardin des Plants in d’Avranches, not much in bloom (camelias, azaleas and rhododendrons were over) apart from a lovely muti-coloured display of hydrangeas but the elevated garden provided a stunning view over the marshes to Mont St Michel – our next stop.
Le Parc des Sources D’Elle has several ponds and lakes, some of which were being used for a fishing contest. Some big trout!
There were woodland walks and quiet relecting ponds.
Here the rhododendrons were at their peak – and the bees were enjoying the irises.
From there we went on to visit the Bayeaux tapestry (it’s actually an embroidery).
What better way to start the day than a visit to a Calvados distillery! Here we are in Cormeilles, the home of Busnel.
Janet looks as though she’s hoping Ray won’t want one in the garden shed. Though it would make a nice water feature…
Les Jardins Du Pays D’Auge, Cambremer, is a delight, rivalling Monet’s garden. And the crêpes are worth the wait.
We head back to Caen where the effects of the Calvados sampling are noticeable in that some retire to their rooms for a siesta.
The rest of us visit the Park Floral de la Colline Aux Oiseaux – to discover perhaps the most wonderful rose garden in the world.
In part of the park there is an area the size of Wembley stadium full of roses.
The sample here is named À Caen La Paix (To Caen – peace)
For those up bright and early (again!) we had a conducted tour of William the conqueror’s castle in Caen and a brief visit to the Cathedral of St Pierre before loading our bags onto the coach and setting off for the Jardin des Plants in Caen.
There were pink bananas in the hot house (and coffee, cocoa and vanilla plants too) but this one is not a lady you want in your garden – Deadly Nightshade (Atropa Belladonna)! Its name comes from its use by Venetian women to make themselves ‘beautiful ladies’ by causing their pupils to dilate.