An Extraordinary Garden

What makes a garden extraordinary? If you happen to pass by the region of La Vendee, France off to the west coast, particularly headed towards Les Sables d'Olonne, you can stop by Le Potager Extraordinaire on the way.  It can be translated as " The Extraordinary Vegetable Garden."  It is located in Les Mares, La Mothe-Achard. 

This was where I chose to celebrate the afternoon of my birthday.  At first glance, we all wondered what makes it extraordinary.  It's about 4-hectares in size with more than 1500 plant varieties.   We spent the first 20 minutes browsing around on our own. We looked at each other with big question marks on our faces, "Now what?" 

Then we heard a chime. Under this tree, we met a friendly and knowledgeable guide named Justine. She explained with infectious enthusiasm that there are artificial pumpkins hanging on the tree to represent the production of gigantic pumpkins competing internationally here in this garden. Despite the whole tour narrated  in french, the vivacious Justine allowed us to discover what makes this garden so special.

Throughout the garden, there were exotic plants, tropical vegetables, aromatic herbs that tastes like no other.  Here for instance, we touched and smelled this mint which gives off a distinct mint chocolate flavor.

Mint Chocolate Scented Mint
Aromatic Herbs
This one, tasted like roasted garlic peanuts.
This particular plant originally from Mexico gives off an electric volt, it tastes like battery
and will anesthetize your mouth for 30 minutes.
Perfect herbal medicine for toothache.
The small plant over there will cover this entire space and will grow a gigantic pumpkin. 

Of course, there's a store offering regional organic produce and specialties as well as gardening tools seeds, and books.  This garden is also known to produce really yummy jams made from unusual blends of fruits and vegetables.  

Our guide made the tour more interesting. Tasting and trying different exotic plants will inspire you to concoct different meals and in creating your own backyard garden.

How do I get there?
If you're coming from Nantes, Atlantique Airport, here's the map.

Le Potager Extraordinaire
Les Mares, 85150 La Mothe Achard
Tel:  02 51 46 67 83

Are you adventurous enough to try exotic leaves? Do you enjoy tasting tours in vegetable gardens? Was there a particular vegetable garden visit that you tried which you find really memorable and interesting?

On a personal note:  My birthday was a quiet one. After our trip to the garden, we went home and my in-laws treated me to an aperitif,  seafood platter for the main course with white wine of course, a selection of cheeses with red and tarte citron and mille-feuille for dessert!  I didn't take pictures because these were moments that need not be captured by the black box.  Once my daughter was in la-la land, we enjoyed the French's typical long long long dinner till the wee hours of the night. 

Love & light,

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  1. is that tomato growing on a tree???

    1. Hi Dezzy, they looked small in the photo but they're pumpkin lanterns hanging on a tree.

  2. Wow, the garden is really beautiful. I can imagine myself just walking around and picking some fruits from the trees.

  3. The garden looks really nice. I'm sure having a guide made it even better.

  4. Oh wow, that's beautiful! I would very much love to visit!