Friday, April 27, 2007

Rennes: Jardins du Thabor

When we go to Rennes, one of the best places is the jardins du Thabor, not least because dogs are allowed there. They have to mind their ps and qs, of course, but so does everyone. The gardens are a very regimented place, as thes tulips and pansies will bear witness.

There is a place where dogs can run free, but otherwise they must be on a lead, and if one trangresses, in this or any other matter, an immaculately courteous parkkeeper/gardener will materialise and put you straight. We were walking across a grassy area, and one approached us and asked if we would please not go on unauthorised grass. I'm sorry, I said, we didn't know. We saw no sign...? There are only signs, he told me, when one is authorised to go on the grass, otherwise one is not. But the grass is very special; even the daisies in it are above your ordinary run of daisies.

But I don't object at all that the place is so protected, ordered, prized. In a world were people lament that park-keepers have gone the way of railway porters and bus conductors, and neglect and vandalism seems to be the order of the day for our once treasured public spaces - or that is the impression I retain of the UK, it is less the case here, it is somehow reassuring to find a lovely place guarded so fiercely, and not only the Rennais but also people further afield in Brittany speak with pride and ownership of the Thabor.

You enter the park down an avenue of horse chestnuts,

which at that time (a couple of weeks ago now) were much further advanced in leaf than they were around here, indeed, the journey of less than a hundred kilometres south and east seemed to be somewhat of a journey into spring.
You walk up a small hill to the dog friendly area, where you can also stop for a game of table football, or le babyfoot as it is quaintly known,

past long parallel borders of azaleas, rhododendrons and other shrubs

and down toward an aviary of finches, doves and parakeets. The wire of the enclosure made photographing difficult, but the birdlife outside was interesting too, such as this greater spotted woodpecker.

Continue through the showy parterre where the tulips stand to attention, but where island beds also offer luscious peonies

and delicate magnolias,

and on towards the garden of medicinal plants. Some of my students who once studied in Rennes, medicine, biology, pharmacology remember this place affectionately as part of their studies.

" Look at that wonderful leaf mould!" Tom exclaims.

At the centre of the circular labyrinth of the physic garden is a stone pond,

where the pansies match the goldfish

and Molly wonders about things which live in water.

Then meander out through an arboretum of strange and charming trees,

and back into the streets of the town.


Fire Bird said...

Oh how lovely! I enjoyed this one lots!

Catalyst said...

Beautiful. Positively beautiful.

annie said...

Beautiful. I almost wish I was a shut in so I wouldn't feel guilty about living vicariously through your explorings.:)

Instead, I'm decently inspired to finish my work so I can go out and play!

Zhoen said...

Molly is no doubt an instructive guide.

Avus said...

Lovely place - litter free (you are right about the UK) and good that dogs are welcomed too

Beth said...

It was wonderful to be taken along on this gorgeous walk! My favorites: the koi and their pansy cousins. Thank you for a sunny break in my rainy day!

herhimnbryn said...

That was an enjoyable walk, thankyou. I am wondering what the trees are.

Lucy said...

Glad you enjoyed it. I think the shaggy tree was perhaps a cork oak?