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Interview with Serge Lapouge, designer and gardener of the Jardin de l'Albarède

Interview with Serge Lapouge, designer and gardener of the Jardin de l'Albarède

We came to meet Serge Lapouge, a passionate gardener and above all a great precursor of the organic garden in France. The Albarède gardens, straight out of his imagination, are a unique example of a semi-worked and semi-wild space, all 100% natural. By overcoming all the obstacles linked to the aridity of the terrain, Serge Lapouge and his wife were able to infuse this garden with a soul and an aesthetic in their image: beautiful and nonconformist.

How were the Alabarède gardens designed?

My wife and I are passionate about gardening. I am a landscaper by training and at the end of my studies, I started looking for land to be able to devote myself to my passion and live in a beautiful place, which I will have shaped to my idea. We ended up finding a space near Sarlat in the late 80s, but it was unfortunately very poor and dry. Many gardeners would have been discouraged but we made the bold bet to acclimatize plants in extreme conditions, and a few years later, the Albarède gardens finally took shape.

How are they articulated today?

The first plantings were carried out on the site of the current vegetable patch. I have enlarged the garden over time and the various land purchases; today it has a pond, a so-called "English" plot, an orchard, a flower garden, a panoramic space and a boxwood garden - whose unusual size is renowned among amateur gardeners!

You were one of the first gardeners in France to cultivate plants organically, what are the special features of a 100% natural garden?

I have always refused the use of pesticides, whether for my landscaping activity or in my own garden. My wife and I therefore do not use any chemical substances and leave nature to work. Thus, we accept the presence of aphids knowing that in this balanced garden, nature will bring its own defense thanks to the syrphids or the ladybugs which will come to feed on it. We also use natural compost and manure produced by us, and the plants are watered by hand - hence the massive use of soil mulch to combat drought. Even the walls were built with my own hands using the dry stone technique!

Finally, what advice would you give to amateurs who want to get started in the organic garden?

First of all, I would say that we must not be discouraged! Gardening requires a lot of passion and effort, you have to be persistent. I also believe that you have to listen to yourself and follow your own desires, because each of us has the possibility of achieving something beautiful and different ...
The Albarède Gardens 24250 Saint-Cybranet 05 53 28 38 91 More info on //jardins-albarede.com/