Historical of the garden:
When in 1966 I returned to the house and garden of my early childhood, now known as La Bonne Maison, the two and half acres essentially comprised a big orchard, a sizeable kitchen garden to the east, a gravelled courtyard to the north, a lawn with some large ornemental trees to the south, all tightly enclosed within the surroundings walls.
Over the next ten years, most of our efforts went to the building of low walls and steps, creating lawns to link the different levels and limit the erosion.
In 1975, a trip to Scotland opened our eyes to another garden conception : the softening impact of pastel tones, greys and whites, and above all the old roses bearing old French names.
This marked the beginning of hedges, planted to cut the north and south winds which rage through the Rhône Valley with withering effect.
Slowly, in spite of difficulties and setbacks, the first Old Roses came from England, from an old nursery in Angers, (since long gone today). Arches, ordered from a local craftsman in wrought iron, were set up one after the other, the big porticos were settled at the entrance of differents gardens.
In 1987, the garden was first opened to the public and in1989 became the 'Association des Roses Anciennes de La Bonne Maison' with the object of preserving and researching Old Roses.
More than 800 varieties of labelled and listed roses florish, from early April for the first species, until the frosts.
Researches into the archives and library of the Tête d'Or Botanical Garden in Lyon, correspondance with the curators of private gardens, and botanists, in England, Germany, USA, Bermuda, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and Japan, exchanges of cuttings, budwoods, and slides, all combined to elevate the level of La Bonne Maison garden's interest for amateurs and professionals.
In July 2006 the garden celebrated its 40th anniversary and recieved 2 stars in the Guide Vert Michelin Lyon Drôme Ardèche, for its Roses' Collection.
But new develpments still go on for the five pergolas. Each winter the ageing of the roses, the discovery of new Heritage or Species roses have them moved from one side to the other.
In 2010 the garden was awarded the label 'Jardin Remarquable'.
9500 wall enclosed square meters, clinging to a south of Lyon hillside, where the Rhône once slowly dug its bed, leaving behind alluvials deposits. The slope which used to be forrowed by violent storms, is now segmented by low walls; lawns link the different levels together to give a bigger feeling of unity, while still preserving the particularity of each garden spot.
65 arches are distributed over 5 pergolas and mark some of the paths or the entrance to different garden areas. There are: the Hard-packed path pergola, the Yucca Garden pergola, the Orchard pergola, the Well pergola, the Secret Garden pergola.
A big hard-packed path bisects the high and lower ends. Under the sun one walks along a big border of irises and poppies, while in semi-shade one will be met by the herbaceous, tree and botanical peonies.
February already sees an important bulb collection blooming under shrubs and fruit trees, followed early April by Chinese and Persian roses. Tree peonies and bearded iris joined them at the end of April.
Then the ramblers and species roses entangled themselves and overhelm the cedars, cypresses, paulownia, Judas tree, sophora, prunus. Some old pear trees tenderly maintained and cut back are there as so many other props. Clematis (110 varieties) are just as enthusiastic and some, such as Clematis armandii or Cl. spooneri climb up to more than 8 meters high.
For 40 years, tons of peat were sunk into it to let it breathe.Today the compost home-made with all the garden waste (except roses, clematis and conifers) is spread over the garden, all the year through with organic fertilizer.
(See the compost recipe in 'Further Informations' )
Since15 years there are no weed-killers, nor fungicide or insecticide.
Plants for Sale and the book 'La Bonne Maison'
There are plants for sale as well as the book "La Bonne Maison" (ed. Flammarion 2001) at the entrance.
IRIS chinensis or tectorum