The Extraordinary Vegetable Garden
The Potager Extraordinaire promises the visitor a journey into a wonderland. Discover the magic of squash and other remarkable plants. Go an unusual walk for the senses and find the “serpent plant” or the oyster-flavoured plant.
Explore various small themed gardens such as the kitsch garden and the “garden of flying seeds”. A further garden was added in 2005: “Léo’s Garden” is a collection of funny and lovingly-created sculptures.[
Throughout the ages, botanical and culinary interest in the magic of squash has motivated people to travel around the world. The visitor will find 13 gardens and several vegetable gardens with novel themes: a collection of solanums, a maize maze, a traditional vegetable garden, a tunnel of gourds, coloured plants and fibre plants, a collection of poisonous plants, the “bizarretum”, aromatic plants, a collection of squashes, an exotic tunnel, a garden of giant plants and a garden of climbing plants.
A walk through the collection of more than 300 kinds of squash is a special sensory experience. The plants found here include the “explosive gherkin”, the oyster-flavoured plant and the tar-smelling plant. From the beginning, the Extraordinary Kitchen Garden has been concerned with revealing the treasures of nature, including all the forgotten, rare and amazing plants which exist: mimosa pudica, mertensia maritima, ecbalium elaterium, jaboroso sativa, trichosantes anguina!
But this unusual vegetable garden also provides the visitor with acoustic delights. “Orion fleur de carotte”, who is a narrator of stories, chose the paths of the Extraordinary Vegetable Garden to scatter stories, legends, children’s rhymes and chit-chat among the people. At dusk, when day ends and night begins, words and plants take on magical dimensions. This lover of words and plants wants the visitor to participate in the origins of the world and the secrets of nature through her wonderful stories. “Moonflower Tales” is an evening gathering, which transports adults and children into the realm of sensuous and magical dreams.
Michel Rialland, who has been a fan of squash since his early childhood, developed the concept of the Extraordinary Vegetable Garden. His story could have begun with “once upon a time”, because Michel Rialland was filled with enthusiasm and inspired by the botanical garden in Nantes, with its “modest” collection of 300 kinds of this wonderful fruit, i.e. pumpkins, water melons, cucumbers and other gourds.
The commune of La Mothe Achard en Vendée was completely enamoured with the idea of this unusual garden and provided the necessary piece of land in 1995. The Extraordinary Vegetable Garden was thus originally born as an association and has since then set itself the task of educating people about the environment and sensitising them to biological diversity of their surroundings.
Nature is manifold, as is the Extraordinary Vegetable Garden with its educational and integrationist goals.
Le Potager Extraordinaire
Member of the network Parcs et Jardins des Pays de la Loire.
12:30 et 14:30 – 18:00. Guided tours of about 1 hours every between 15th June and 31st August at 11:00, 15:00 and 16:30. Reservation for groups required.
Food shop open from 11th – 16th October, same time as garden. From 4th April – 10th June and from October 17th – 16th December, all days except week-end.
Adults 5€. Children from 6 to 14 2.50€.
- Tea-Room: yes
- Shop: yes (food)
- Toilets: yes
- Seats, benches: yes
- Accessibility: yes
- Special events and educational programmes for children and schools
Small maps and guide books
Events, exhibitions: see website for details