|Spring Gallery||Late Summer Gallery||Winter Gallery|
La Seigneurie Gardens are some of the finest formal gardens in the Channel Islands but their history is under-recorded, like that of many of the buildings here. The land they occupy was bought by Seigneur Le Pelley in 1835. The Walled Garden is aligned with the Church Le Pelley built in 1820 and the central arches framed a view of the tower, a scene now obscured by the new Island Hall. The high walls give protection from the wind and, together with the mild micro-climate, allow many tender and half-hardy plants to thrive. The more unusual specimens are labelled, such as the Australian Bottlebrush and New Zealand Tea Tree. Probably the oldest surviving feature of the original layout is the formal rose garden edged with box hedging. The circular rose garden and pergola is much more recent, designed by Seigneur Beaumont in 2000, and is known as the Millennium Rose Garden. The rose varieties in both areas have been chosen for their repeat flowering and fragrance.
The Victorian glasshouse on the north wall shelters some long-established vines, both black and white table varieties. In the late 1980s it was rebuilt by Seigneur Beaumont with great care taken not to disturb the vines or the original sliding Victorian ladder.
The flower bed along the east wall is dedicated to white flowers and other beds in the Gardens are designed around colour themes. The fern arbours with fountains either side of the archway leading into the vegetable garden were designed and built by Seigneur Beaumont in 1989. The timber came from a 150 year-old Holm Oak which succumbed to the Great Storm two years earlier.
The vegetable garden has changed most in the last couple of years as production has been stepped up to supply our new cafe, Hathaways, with fresh salad, fruit and vegetables. (The fencing is to keep rabbits at bay but visitors are welcome to enter.) The Christmas trees, which grew in the section opposite the maze, have been cleared for fruit trees and a new member of staff has been employed specifically to grow produce. (The Gardens as a whole are maintained by six part-time gardeners.) Another new venture is the cultivation of plants for sale, grown here in the Gardens both from seed and cuttings.
Other recent additions to the vegetable growing area have been the sensory and adjacent wild flower gardens. The sensory garden (above) contains medicinal, scented and edible plants that visitors are welcome to touch. The wild flowers are a mixture of British natives and green manures. Beyond the west-facing wall that borders this area are our hives of very busy bees.
A hedge maze, designed with children in mind, was planted by the current Seigneur in 1991 at the far end of the vegetable garden. The hedge is Olearia paniculata, sometimes referred to as New Zealand Holly. The castle at the centre was made of the same Holm Oak as the fern arbours. Small feet took their toll on the timber though and the original wooden structure was encased in stone a few years later.
The ponds were made by the monks of St Magloire Priory by damming the stream to form a reservoir for their water mill a little further down the valley. The monks would also have bred and kept carp in the ponds, these fish being a staple of the monastic diet. Recent attempts to stock the pond with trout have failed, probably as a result of predation by ducks, seagulls and freshwater eels, but large carp can been seen in the lower pond. The well by the pond was first dug by the monks possibly as early as the 7th or 8th century. It has never been known to dry and the water is of excellent quality. The stone cap is another Victorian addition by Seigneur WT Collings.