Friday, November 4, 2011

Montpellier [Franschhoek Open Gardens 2011]

Montpellier, Franschhoek Open Garden, October 2011
Here I am, back at my computer after another very busy week, to walk you around the gardens at Montpellier. This was the last of the ten gardens we visited, but I have opted to feature it second, since it is so very different in style and setting from the first garden I shared, namely La Rive.

Montpellier is built on three levels. This is the lowest level.
This garden of this Italian style home has been hewn out of the rocky mountain slope on which it is sited. 

Not only are the owners blessed with the most gorgeous views from their lofty perch...
...they have an abundance of bird life (and visits from baboons, buck, rock rabbits and even leopard sightings).
Whereas La Rive is cossetted in the snug heart of Franschhoek, Montpellier arises in the high mountains enveloping the valley beneath. Wouldn't YOU be tempted by this?
The challenges faced with the establishment of such an elevated and rocky terrain would be too costly and daunting to all but the bravest...
...but the rewards are certainly worth the expense and effort... 

...when the result is a garden as ruggedly handsome as this. Notice the stone sculpture by the same artist that crafted the one in the secret garden at La Rive. You'll see two further views of this particular sculpture if you pay attention while you're wandering around the garden, when I let you off your leash in just a moment. Oh, sorry! I'm so accustomed to thinking in terms of our six dogs, I sometimes forget I need to be a people-person, too!
 I do hope you will enjoy visiting Montpellier as much as we did. 
I will give you some peace and quiet now, to wander about on your own. I am sure you'd prefer that to have me yapping in your ear! You will notice several resting spots, so please feel free to relax and enjoy the splendid views. 

Never forget to stop and smell the roses!

Oh, YES! I could so happily live at Montpellier!


  1. Yes, if you were in real estate I'd have to start moving. Thanks for the gorgeous tour! Re-claimed stone-man is cool too.

  2. Is this your place? It looks like a top garden.


  3. Another little piece of paradise on earth. Lovely shots!

  4. Dear Desiree. I'm left almost breathless by the beauty of this garden and the architecture of the house. I was especially struck by the grill work that I saw in the photograph with the nasturtiums (at least that's what I thought the leaves and flowers were). And also the plaque within the grill work in two or three photographs that showed two walls meeting with a wooden chair in their corner. The persimmon-colored cushion struck just the right balance.

    Montpellier is, I believe, the garden you've toured that most appeals to my sense of proportion. It is quite lovely.

    Finally, the sculpture of the bird delights.


  5. Montpellier is absolutely breathtaking, Desiree! I'd never tire of gazing at those majestic rock formations. Vertical is much more exciting and dramatic than horizontal. Here in pancake flat Florida where I now live there is nothing to compare with the splendor of these mountain slope gardens. You would need to be physically fit as well as sure footed to negotiate that rugged landscape. As always the cacti and succulents caught my eye and I noticed a nice mix of wild and containerized specimens. I'd be a little nervous climbing the steep steps next to the razor sharp spines of that golden barrel cactus. I own a large one and keep it in a window far away from foot traffic. That rock statue is an amazing work of art. I can't help wondering how often rocks break loose and tumble down the hill into the swimming pool. I felt exactly like one of your dogs dog freed from his leash, roaming, romping and exploring every square inch of this wonderland. You'll be happy to know that I resisted the urge to mark my territory wherever I went. :) Thank you for another mind boggling picture post, dear Desiree, and have a safe and happy weekend!

  6. Good evening, Desiree.
    Hope that you're doing fine. Stunning photographs - it's so beautiful there. My fav was the photo of the bird with the long tail.
    Wishing you a lovely evening and weekend!
    Hugs x

  7. I could happily live in Montpellier too!

    Such beautiful photos of a beautiful place, thank you so much for sharing them with us this weekend.

    I hope all is well with you and that you have a great weekend.

  8. Heavens, me too, any time.
    How rich would I have to be to own this house and garden?

    Fantastic! I actually love the sones.

  9. I think I could be quite happy there! What a lovely place- I particularly love all the stone work. And that statue takes on a whole different look up close, doesn't it? Beautiful!

  10. What an absolutely amazing garden! It seems to have it all! I love all the pots of succulents around. Loved the tour!

  11. Beautiful - it looks quite Mediterranean in style.

  12. That house...that garden......o is great !! like a dream !!! from

  13. This is my favorite garden that you've visited so far. That first picture grabbed my attention and I knew I would be taking a very fun trip. I can't get over how many different shades of green I could see in that picture.

  14. PS - You could really make some beautiful puzzles from these pictures...and postcards, and......

  15. This is my kind of garden. I love the ruggedness of the mountains.

    The little sculpture of the bird is gorgeous!

  16. What a contrast from the last garden!! This one has a completely different feel--harder, cleaner, spacious--like it was determined to survive there come hell or high water, you know? But it has a beauty all its own with the breathtaking expanse and the dangerous cliffs. Love the little bird with the Pinocchio nose and the rather well-endowed stone man has his own vague charm--LOL! I so enjoy traveling with you--whether you chat in my ear or let me off the leash. Thanks!! :):)

  17. Hi Desiree,

    I vaguely remember Franschhoek, but after seeing these picturesque photos, I have come to the conclusion that there will be a lot more for me to revisit & show my Polish American husband.
    " Dit is waarlik waar 'n baie mooi en rustige plek! Daardie kamera is soos "putty" in jou hande!
    My vader,(hy is op die oomblik in Kaapstad), help my altyd met my Afrikaans en met my handige woordeboek kon ek hierdie boodskap aflewer! he!he!

    Thanks yet again for another beautiful tour!

    P/s you should goooogle "Vizcaya" & check out that place in Florida. I used to go there quite often when I went to college in Florida

  18. Desiree - what a beautiful time I had there strolling with you. I don't know what picture I like best - I guess it was the bird with the long tail. I would love to live there too.

    I know what a big project it is to upload pictures this must have taken a long time! Thank you.


  19. I love all the stones and rocks. Soo beautiful :)

  20. love all the natural rocks in the area as well as all the gorgeous rock walls. :)

  21. Oh Yes! I love this one, particularly as it has so many indigenous beauties.

  22. That is a gorgeous garden. The Vegie garden looks so lush and the sculptures and the walls give it character. Thanks for the tour

  23. Montpellier is different but so unique and beautiful in it's own way. Linda and I love anything built from rocks so this was a treat. I especially loved the close up of the man sculpture and the little bird. Des you are sooooooooo blessed to have been able to actually see this gorgeous scenery with your own eyes. Thank you so very much for allowing us to share in the joys of your travels. Linda, Rocky & I are having a very restful time at the beach and I just posted an update. Have a wonderful weekend.

  24. Dear Desiree,
    Montpellier is FANTASTIC!
    And fabulous garden is more than the words can describe with your picture.
    The bird with the long tail is especially marvelous and wonder what kind of bird it is♡♡♡
    Love and Lots of Hugs to you, Orchid*

  25. This looks like a spectacular place. It reflects some of ways the earth is sculpted for the sake of gardens to admire.

  26. So ruggedly stunning! Loved all the beautiful stonework. I hope you don't mind, but I saved your close-up of the rose-edged succulent with the agave, only for my personal records. It's a striking juxtaposition. I would never publish it without your permission.

  27. Hi dear friend. Another set of stunning photos for us to look at today. I see that you've had another very busy week. Quite honestly, I just don't know where the weeks are going at the moment. They are whizzing by far too quickly for my liking! I loved the statue of the man made out of different pieces of rock. This is a lovely garden, but not a patch on La Rive as far as I'm concerned. That one was just SO special. Hugs.

  28. I love the rock wall and doorway. It made me think of the wall in the secret garden. I have to admit I was concerned for a minute. My eyes are so bad I thought the first picture with the statue was a man about to jump. Till I scrolled down and read what you wrote. So glad you have done this. Love these pictures once again. What a treat.

  29. Thanks so much for bringing beauty into my day! I'm awarding you the Kreativ Blogger award-you deserve it!

  30. An absolutely stunning place. They have done an awesome job using stone and rock in the design. The boulders would make for great landscaping opportunities and the view is breathtaking.

  31. that is truly amazing!!!! i don't even know where to begin! it is AWESOME!! i LOVE stone-work!! and there's so much to be seen...i think if i were there...i would stand next to the stone-man statue and compete for permanent residence!!
    the flowers...again...does everything in Africa grow so LUSH?!!!! beauty everywhere!! oh, and the little bird him too!! :)

  32. The garden is completely unlike the first, but is just as beautiful! If the first garden reminded me of an English garden, this second one reminds me of a garden in the south of France or perhaps a villa in Italy. I think it must be the warm tones of the stonework that is making me think this.

  33. A very different and rugged garden. To make a garden so beautiful in such a stony place is marvellous. Thank you for taking us around.

  34. Desiree..this was one of your most delightful tours. Just gorgeous...I think it was all the stones..and the idea of leopards being sighted... just added to the whole idea of this garden. Something so gorgeous right next to all that wilderness...lovely!!
    I LOVE your tours. Do you keep your photo's printed and stored? Not on the computer, I hope, where they could possibly get lost.
    Your photography is just amazing. What a treat it all is...thank you again..and again for going to so much trouble for us. It's such an education as well as entertaining.
    In a word. WONDERFUL!
    Sometimes words just don't do they? :)

  35. love your post! thanks for sharing...loves soraya

  36. Wow another fantastic tour what a beautiful garden and views.
    I realy do enjoy your tours.


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