Domaine Des Vaux
Garden open to the public by kind permission of Mr and Mrs M Binney.
These beautiful gardens, created by Sir George and Lady Binney in the 1970s, have been extended and developed by the present owner, Marcus Binney CBE, and his wife Anne; there are now some 20 vergées of gardens and woodland.
Gracing the walls of the pink Jersey granite farmhouse are climbers including white wisteria, ceanothus, the rose varieties Paul’s Himalayan Musk and Kiftsgate, as well as climbing geraniums and fuchsias. Melianthus major and Alchemilla mollis grow in amongst the paving with clematis, roses and a red vine, Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’ planted in the raised beds. Lemons grow and fruit in pots around the terrace. In the centre the old cider crusher has been turned into a small pond containing water lilies, with a fountain of water coming from the trumpet held by the High Victorian statues of the boy on the dolphin. Elegant irises and Libertia grandiflora grow in profusion around the perimeter with stately Papyrus giving height to the arrangement. In Spring, it is full of the tall Spring Snowflake Leucojum vernum and Parrot tulips.
The Arena Garden, created out of a field that sloped in front of the house, provides different levels for the rich planting of predominantly silver, blue and grey on one side and yellow, gold and bronze on the other. Artemisia, Ballota, Helichrysum and lavender give grey accents, while the blue of geraniums and deep pink peonies dominate and New Zealand holly, Eucryphia and Eleagnus grow behind. In the yellow border Leptospermum Crimson Glory, Eleagnus pungens ‘Maculata’, Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’, and Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ join photinia, azaleas, magnolia Yellow Bird and the dark red Cotinus coggyria. In the summer, the profusion of scents in this sheltered area is tremendous, from the pineapple-scented Cytisus battanderii, the honey-scented daisy bushes and Pittosporum tennuifolium.
Above the arena, a double border contains many roses, iris and exotic poppies with and old fashioned gladioli and dahlias for colour in autumn. A long row of agapanthus along the edge of the field look stunning in summer. There is also a formal herb garden, a collection of Mediterranean pots containing olives and oleander below the drive and a formal kitchen garden divided into beds of clipped box hedging. These are planted with lavender, alliums, sweet peas, iris and peonies, and the vegetables are grown in beds around the outside. There is a very productive greenhouse, housing the vine Muscat de Alexandria, and where David the gardener grows tomatoes, chillies and lots of plants from cuttings in the summer and where we overwinter the geraniums for planting out in May.
The valley contains many species trees including Magnolia Campbelli, Cornus kousa, Cercis siliquastrum, Parrotia persica, Metasequoi glyptostroibes, Podocarpus from New Zealand and several varieties of eucalyptus and pine. Cornus ‘Eddie’s White Wonder’ is stunning in full flower in June. Countless spring bulbs and primroses run riot underneath the trees in Spring. The ponds are fringed with Gunnera Manicata, arum lilies and bamboos. On the hill behind the pond are two very tall eucalyptus trees planted only 20 years ago, and a stand of mimosa which flower in February. One tree here is a mystery. The swamp Cyprus, Taxodium Distichum decided it no longer wanted to stand up straight and, over the summer four years ago, it gradually bent until its top was on the ground on the other side of the path. It is still alive and growing, making an elegant but unusual living arch.
Here also, and not to be missed in Spring, is the Camellia Wood, which is planted with over 40 varieties of these stunning flowering shrubs. The earliest to flower comes out in November and some are still flowering as late as June. In the last few years, Anne has begun planting azaleas and Japanese maples in the woodland area behind the house.
We hope you enjoy the gardens as much as we enjoy sharing them and we thank you for your visit.
Look out for the plant stall
Domaine Des Vaux
La Rue de Bas
11th of July
Route 7 (Liberation Station to St John’s Church)